koch brothersBy Peter Galuszka

Steve Serrao of Midlothian found something strange in his mailbox this summer. It was an official-looking letter in “report card” form from the conservative Americans for Prosperity Foundation claiming that he had not registered as a voter and that the group intended to inform his neighbors.

According to reporting by Jim McConnell in the Chesterfield Observer newspaper, Serrao was angered for several reasons.

First, the information was inaccurate. He is a registered voter who conscientiously participates in national, state and local elections.

Second, his wife, Renee, teaches government in high school, and the strong-arm and incorrect mailing embarrassed her because she presses her students on the importance of being registered voters.

Last, the letter and the threat of shaming him before his neighbors violated his privacy.

The Americans for Prosperity Foundation is linked to Americans for Prosperity, a conservative advocacy group funded by the hard-right Koch brothers that pushes such initiatives as getting politicians to sign a “pledge” promising to oppose any tax increase aimed at stemming greenhouses gas emissions.

The Observer contacted Larry Haake, the Chesterfield County registrar, who said other county residents had complained about similar letters and that the letters, though legal, are “outrageous.”

A Virginia spokesman for the Americans for Prosperity did not return the newspaper’s calls. But Dave Schwartz, director of the foundation’s Virginia chapter, said that the purpose of the effort was to get out the vote and that “sometimes our methods are non-traditional.”

Access to personal voting information used to be strictly limited in Virginia, the Observer noted, but that changed after a 2011 court ruling allowing outsiders to buy voter information.

Strong-arm mailbox policies like this are beyond creepy. They seem akin to having thugs at polling places to intimidate voters. The Americans for Prosperity Foundation has gone too far here.

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14 responses to “Big Koch Brothers Are Watching You!”

  1. I think the GOP believed they had the last POTUS election in the bag …listening to Karl Rove on FAUX that night was funny – he challenged his own election team when they called Ohio for Obama.

    there was, as they say, a kerfuffle….

    but the GOP has yet to get over the fact that Obama has won not one but two terms and the ones that are not in denial are doing everything they can from blocking appointments to limiting voting, to just refusing to pass any legislation even legislation they used to be in favor of.

    It’s not a good situation. the POTUS hates the GOP and vice versa and we’re basically going to stay in a holding pattern until the next POTUS takes office and the GOP/Koch/etc are not going to have another Dem as POTUS come hell or high water…

    There is no question at all if the GOP takes the senate that they will vote to repeal ObamaCAre and send it to the POTUS who will veto it and then they’ll try to override… and they’ll do it the same way they are now by going after Dem Senators in Red states… or Purple states like Va so you can expect the GOP to take a hard run at Warner and then Kaine….as part of that strategy.

    Of course they have a problem – the two best known GOP in Va are Cucinelli and McDonnell..

    wouldn’t it be a kick in the pants if those guys beat Kaine and Warner?


  2. Well you can thank the Dems for starting this crap. Now the big thing is to shame the voters into turning out. I’m a regular voter and don’t really care about my neighbor’s voting, sexual, or any other kind of habits. IT”S NOT OUR BUSINESS!
    Ever since corporations became citizens, all we get are endless BS from organizations that are citizens only for the money. Enough!
    Next election if they start this stuff I think we should take all the political literature in a bag to the State Elections office and burn it on the front steps. Maybe then they will get the message.

    1. Darrell – okay I get it – you say the Dems started the GOTV stuff?

      but Darrell they never sent the likes of the Koch Bros after you!

      but Kudos!

      1. – keep politics out of personal life – yes
      2. – corporations are not citizens – amen
      3. – the post office puts out extra trash containers at election time!

      4. – it’s worse than just the corporations fooding money to fund the
      advertising – it’s that they get to donate money – but have it laundered
      through a PAC so the connection between donor and recipient is hidden.

      so.. corporations are citizens who can donate money to campaigns – and they’re allowed to hide who they are giving money to and we get to receive all the crap…they send.

      1. Politics in the United States has become a war of escalation. As my wife’s and my votes cancel each other and have as long as we’ve been married, we get crap in the mail and robocalls from darn near every group. I’d like the TCPA to be amended to include political and other fundraising calls unless made by volunteers.

        1. well thank goodness for the “cancelling”.. that means my wife and I get 2x bang for the buck!

          and please convey my thanks and appreciation to your wife for showing such good judgment!


          1. I do give her credit for refusing to vote for Obama though. She’s written in Hillary Clinton twice.

  3. NewVirginia Avatar

    Ha – I used to work for the Koch brothers’ foundation when no one (including myself) knew who they were. I leave it off my resume these days…

    1. even if you were applying for a job with a company that supports the things that Koch does? !!!

  4. Breckinridge Avatar

    When I first heard that story I thought, how pathetic. Unable to persuade likely R voters to register through personal contact and encouragement (and trust me, no black or Hispanic households got that mailer), the party was stooping to threats and privacy invasion. That story broke before the election and told me the GOP’s GOTV operation was reaching the bottom of the barrel. I suspect it had a poor return on investment and will not be a tactic used again.

    But in this age when just about everybody’s life is on Facebook, everybody’s most inane thought is on twitter (I still call them twits, not tweets), and the NSA is on every phone call, complaints about privacy invasion are getting a little hard to credit.

  5. Guilt-tripping people into voting sounds like a stupid idea, and I’m sure it was largely ineffective. Americans for Prosperity deserves a poke in the eye for this misguided effort. But describing the mailers as “akin to having thugs at polling places to intimidate voters” is just as ludicrous!

    Do you really believe that?

    1. actually I hope that they not only continue to do it, they expand it!

      Oh and I’d have them go after Hispanics and Blacks also!

  6. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    Yes I do. What are you going to do about it?

    1. You talk real tough, big guy!

  7. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    Wooosie! (As I expected)

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