Iowa candidate: Koch backing 'like being endorsed by Charles Manson'
February 6th, 2014
03:18 PM ET
8 years ago

Iowa candidate: Koch backing 'like being endorsed by Charles Manson'

(CNN) - Elections in Coralville, Iowa, a town of about 20,000, took a big city turn when the billionaire Koch brother's group, Americans for Prosperity, jumped into last year's mayoral and city council race.

"It was kind of like being endorsed by Charles Manson," is how Chris Turner, a fiscally conservative city council candidate, described the support by AFP to "The Daily Show's" Jason Jones.

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Turner said in the segment that aired Wednesday that the group's tactics against his opponent were "reprehensible."

"It put me in a very awkward position," he said, adding later that he tied for last place in the election.

The New York Times reported on the powerful conservative political group's ambitions in the small, Midwest town days before the election last November, when AFP was mounting an aggressive campaign against the now-Mayor John Lundell using direct mail attacks, advertising and phone calls to voters.

Lundell, who won with 65% of the vote, told Jones that AFP's attacks were "full of very misleading, I would call lies," including allegations that he manipulated his property taxes.

"I've been through several elections and I welcome opponents but they brought an air of ugliness to this campaign that is not the way we run our government in Coralville," he said.

The Koch brother's group's attacks also warned that Coralville, where the city's debt was a major issue in the campaign, would become the next Detroit.

But not everyone was put-off by the outside influence.

Matthew Vadum, a conservative author who "The Daily Show" labeled as a "political insider," said to sell a point of view, sometimes you have to employ a bit of "salesmanship."

"Some man's sleaze is another man's class," he said. "You have to have a little bit of showbiz."

AFP's attacks didn't get the group far in Coralville. The Daily Show segments notes that none of the Koch group-backed candidates won in the Iowa race.

Filed under: Americans for Prosperity • Iowa
soundoff (123 Responses)
  1. tricky_dick

    The Daily Show, the new Associated Press of the news media. A better source of news than the regular networks.

    February 6, 2014 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  2. Malory Archer


    @Malory-comment 15, your words.


    I'm well aware of what I wrote prior to responding to your first response as I went back and reread it so I wouldn’t stick my foot in my mouth. My EXACT WORDS were:

    The right is always howling that Hillary is too old, yet here you are fronting for two guys who are considerably older than her. What's up with that?

    So where exactly did I accuse YOU of saying it, and of being a republican? Honestly, I’m not sure if you’re just being obtuse or if you have a serious reading comprehension problem. Either way, would you like some help dislodging YOUR foot from YOUR mouth.

    February 6, 2014 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  3. Rosslaw

    I understand Charles Manson is very upset by the comparison.

    February 6, 2014 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  4. cali girl

    not a bad analogy.

    February 6, 2014 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    Wouldn't it be wonderful if we the people punished at the polls those politicians who run adds with lies, half-truths and deception? Every political ad should have to list the top 10 donors to that candidate so we know who they're owned by.

    February 6, 2014 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  6. Marie MD

    Saw this on the Daily Show. What a slap in the face of the Koch brothers and anyone like them who try to win elections with not just money but lies and innuendos. A town with a population of 20,000
    Vacuum is s snake oil salesman. Just watching him squirm made my stomach turn. He has no class! His view is that telling lies is okay as long as your candidate wins. Way to go teaklans!

    February 6, 2014 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  7. Aaron C.

    So the reporter watched a Daily Show episode and wrote this book report as homework? Where is the original reporting here? The article doesn't even attempt to answer the most basic question, why the Koch brothers might be so interested in this particular small town election. I guess I'll have to find another news source for that.

    February 6, 2014 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  8. Lisa

    What the H*ll has happened to us? There seems to be no compassion for our fellow man any more! How do these people go home to their fancy homes every night and their families and sleep well KNOWING that their actions are causing others to suffer? It's a sad situation, and I hope they all understand that KARMA is very real!!!

    February 6, 2014 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  9. david saint

    LMAO i love when right wingers use Soros to excuse the fascist attempt by the Kochs to take over the country. Tell me geniuses, when did Soros make his own money and try and peddle it? The Kochs did it in the 80's. Game, set, MATCH! you lose

    February 6, 2014 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  10. rdn

    Wouldn't it be wonderful if we the people punished at the polls those politicians who ran misleading, deceptive ads? Every ad should have to have listed the top 10 donors to that politician so we know who owns them.

    February 6, 2014 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  11. woodie

    Basically the conservatives have to lie because they can't hold together a coherent platform. But I learned this 30 years ago when Reagan was in office.

    February 6, 2014 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  12. Andy in Vic

    People with inquiring minds might want to ruminate on exactly why an organization like Americans For Prosperity (whose, by the way?) would want to directly participate in a comparatively small town Iowa city election. What were their objectives in spending money that far down the pecking order? Perhaps its their new book – "It Takes Buying Villages"...

    February 6, 2014 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  13. Americaneedsrealists

    Rudy NYC
    Just like dictator Obama

    February 6, 2014 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  14. Luke,AZ

    The Koch Bro's are everything that is wrong with America.

    February 6, 2014 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  15. Thom

    Some people are just smarter than the lies that money can buy.

    February 6, 2014 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  16. Leslie

    It would be nice to get both sides to the story. The Koch Bros. are being impugned here, but the only comment from their "side" was from someone who the Daily Show described as an "insider"?? what makes him an "insider"? And did the reporter even bother to ask specific questions about the tactics? As in, did the Koch brothers lie? What were the specific allegations that they made, and what was untrue about them?

    This "news" report also didn't go into why billionaires would be intersted in Coralville, IA.
    I don't know what their agenda is, and I'm not defending them because I just don't know, but this was very sloppy reporting.

    February 6, 2014 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  17. BobAD

    It's fun living in small town Iowa where billionaires think they can buy people like a cup of coffee. They have bought out our local newspaper to try to fill us with propaganda but again it's only coffee money to them.

    February 6, 2014 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  18. my10cents

    I'm not sure the Koch Bros. every met an election opportunity they didn't want to buy.

    February 6, 2014 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  19. Meyer C. Dhoates

    Maybe they meant Marilyn Manson instead of Charlie.

    February 6, 2014 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  20. Thom

    We need to send a message to these guys that the money can help the economy.....but won't buy our votes or an election...........PERIOD

    February 6, 2014 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  21. DonDonInNC

    They are so entrenched in North Carolina politics, it's nice to know that money can't buy elections. Hopefully the citizens of NC will wake up before the next election cycle and put things back the way they should be.

    February 6, 2014 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  22. Thom

    I think the Koch brother are walking on this ice anyway.......... It would better if they gave that money to charities.

    February 6, 2014 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  23. NOPhah Kingweigh

    This is so unfair. To Manson.

    February 6, 2014 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  24. Uncle Sam

    That does not seem right.

    February 6, 2014 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  25. Uncle Sam

    Can someone please past the mustard?

    February 6, 2014 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
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