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. smith

    @Malory-Keywords "the right" and " you" directed at myself. Spin all you want. Enough said.

    February 6, 2014 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  2. sbreeq

    you shouldnt be able to call yourself an american if you are naive enough to think your interests are ever going to be aligned with the koch brothers or any candidate they back – wether you identify as a liberal, conservative, or human being.

    February 6, 2014 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  3. FrankinSD

    So now outright lies are OK because you can call it "show biz?"

    February 6, 2014 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  4. Jack

    Hey, if I go down the street punching people that's their problem? They make think I'm a sleaze but I may think I'm class. Right? Is that what Vadum is saying? What a dunce. This is adolescent thinking. Grow up. Adults don't fart in a theater and then laugh about it. Young boys do.

    February 6, 2014 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  5. JLXvsElvis

    Voters are now aware of the Kroch (rhymes with crotch) brothers influence, and how the Kroch brothers lost a billion dollars on mittens romney and his futile bid for the captains chair.

    February 6, 2014 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    The should rename their PAC "Americans for OUR Prosperity!"

    Those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it. We have had times when too much wealth was in the hands of too few people. The results: labor riots and economic panics in the late 1800s and early 1900s, and ... oh yeah ... The French Revolution!

    February 6, 2014 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  7. Bill Davis

    CNN & MSNBC is doing the same thing to our elections

    February 6, 2014 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  8. nc_mike

    Seriously? Compared to Charles Manson? Isn't that stretching things a bit far? I think that is quite an insult – to Manson!

    February 6, 2014 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    Running a story that summarizes almost verbatim an interview done by another network. As far as I can tell no actual reporting was done here as all quotes are simply ripped from the Daily Show interview. Is this book report quality article what qualifies as journalism on your network Dana Davidsen?

    February 6, 2014 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  10. drrichard

    The Romans were right when they said the Latin equivalent of "follow the money." Koch Industries has a huge interest in the Xcel Pipeline, which by itself is a good enough reason to question the whole project. They certainly isn't the only one you can point a finger at; for example, the company that makes the chamber of horrors called an airport body scanner (which I refuse to use) has a very close relationship with the Obama people. But the Koch brothers' economic clout and extreme right wing ideology is dangerous, especially after Citizens United. But then their father helped fund the John Birch Society.

    February 6, 2014 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  11. DocHollywood

    You know it's getting bad when the Koch brothers start meddling in small town politics. I guess some groups just want total power. But really, how much more could that benefit them? They get just about anything they want now.

    February 6, 2014 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  12. ART

    Not fair to do that to Charles Manson the Koch brothers are actually the devild side kicks

    February 6, 2014 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  13. calamity jane

    No Koch. Pepsi.

    February 6, 2014 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  14. Peter

    Marilyn Manson or Charlie?

    February 6, 2014 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  15. suzy hager

    Well, the Koch Bros need to own politicians. They want to do things. For instance, where I live in Oregon they want to build this railroad through out town to reach the coast. They want to ship our coal to China. Why not? Maybe they can make more money from China than us for that coal.

    Here is what I do. I don't buy products from the Koch Bros. Like toilet paper. They make Angel Soft and Northern.

    February 6, 2014 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  16. Annie in Atlanta

    Thanks for some exposure on this, CNN. However, when are you going to expose all the lies the pols tell us during silly season? It would be nice to know, don't you think? And when are you going to do an expose on the billionaires who now own our democracy? That would be useful too, no?

    February 6, 2014 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  17. Conrad Shull

    "Greed is Good." – Gordon Gecko
    "Sleaze is Good." – Matthew Vadum

    February 6, 2014 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  18. jib76

    As the Rock group Lynyrdd Skynyrd might have sung about the Koch brothers,"Smell that smell, the smell of death surrounds you!"

    February 6, 2014 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  19. Pete

    Well, being endorsed by Barack Obama is a lot like being backed by Vladimir Lenin. Everything Obama says is a lie.

    February 6, 2014 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  20. Vusani

    Koch brothers just like screwing with people. They are to government as trolls are to internet boards.

    February 6, 2014 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  21. Hey

    John Stewart and his people are awesome! That was a brilliant segment.

    February 6, 2014 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  22. Scott

    I wonder if he turned down their money? Doubt it.

    February 6, 2014 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  23. Jody P

    Having lived in Wisconsin all my life, the last couple of years have been he!! due to these types of tactics by multiple groups, including Americans for Prosperity. The calls, the ads, the fliers, etc. were more than non-stop and most were reprehensible in their content. The governor now spends more time out of the state fund raising than in state doing the people's business. I blame most of this on the SCOTUS ruling making corporations "people" with rights, etc. One of THE worst rulings ever made that has allowed democracy to be hijacked by a few with money and an agenda that has nothing to do with making things better for anyone but themselves and a few other select cronnies.

    February 6, 2014 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  24. Bob

    The Koch brothers suck. Uless you happen to be them, then it's pretty cool.

    February 6, 2014 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  25. Sheila

    How would you compare the Koch brothers to Soros who is out (with his money) to destroy the country?

    February 6, 2014 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
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