Wires Crossed At Americans For Prosperity?

June 19, 2013 8:55 am

by Mike Hassinger · 17 comments

Americans for Prosperity opposes the trillion-dollar train wreck known as the Farm Bill, and has started a big, public push to get Congressman Phil Gingrey to vote against it. Nothing wrong with that, that’s their right as Americans. Also, the Farm Bill is a gigantic piece of manure stuck on the bottom of our national shoe that needs to be scraped off onto something else, like, say, Venezuela. In fact, the only thing wrong with telling Phil Gingrey to vote against it is -Phil Gingrey’s already against it. Another Georgia Congressman, however, is far more likely to vote in favor of the Farm Bill: Congressman Jack Kingston –a “senior member” of the Appropriations Committee who just last year shepherded an agriculture bill through the committee process.

So why would AFP target the congressman who’s already going to vote their way, and ignore another congressman who’s probably not going to vote their way? Say, have you heard about that Senate race in Georgia? 

Kingston announced full-tilt for the Senate in April, and released a list of donors to demonstrate his broad appeal. Among those donors is James E. Stephenson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Yancey Bros., -who also sits on the Board of Directors at Americans for Prosperity. Coincidence? In politics, there’s not only no such thing as coincidence, usually there’s not even an illusion of coincidence.

Americans for Prosperity says it “ranks members of Congress based on their votes for economic freedom,” though it doesn’t say how they arrive at those rankings. Nonetheless, by its own mysterious and opaque scoring system, Gingrey ranks 5% higher than Kingston, but Gingrey is the only congressman in Georgia being singled out for public pressure to vote “no” on the farm bill. Here’s an idea for AFP: Pressure all of Georgia’s Congressmen, even the ones who aren’t running for Senate, to vote no, because it’s the right thing to do.

And also because with the Senate primary contest still over a year away, it’s awfully early for an organization that does a lot of good to be playing games and picking favorites.


saltycracker June 19, 2013 at 8:01 am

Informative piece. Be interesting if AFP follows your advice or sticks with the buddy system.

Painterman June 19, 2013 at 8:49 am

I believe, if you check, they are asking that more than just Gingrey be contacted. AFP alerts usually are targeted to who their Representative for their area is, so someone in the 11th would be asked to contact Gingrey and in the 1st it would be Kingston and so on. Occasionally the system will send the wrong message out to the wrong area, but they are almost always targeted to try and make sure voters are contacting the correct elected official for their district.

Mike Hassinger June 19, 2013 at 8:56 am

I was going by the AFP press release, which said: “The latest effort will include email, social media, phone calls, and two web videos that target a bipartisan list of representatives in 15 House districts, including Representative Phil Gingrey,” and made no mention of any other elected official in Georgia.

Painterman June 19, 2013 at 3:15 pm

What I was saying is that if you live in 11th the alert would have asked you to call Gingrey and if you lived in another Cong Dist it would have refereed to the corresponding Congressman to contact, if they were in the targeted list. Not 100% sure here, but that has been my typical experience with AFP alerts.

Daniel N. Adams June 19, 2013 at 10:08 am

I have to mostly go along with AFP here… they rightfully know when it comes to pork spending, the King of Pork, Kingston is a lost cause. And when it comes to Gingrey, they’re probably suprised he said he’s voting against it… so, they seem to be trying to hold him to that.

VafromGA June 19, 2013 at 10:35 am

Mike, some people do their research before maligning an organization. In fact, AFP did target Kingston , as well. I guess that’s not as sensational as your story, but it is fact. Had you called the number or emailed the contact person on the press release, you would have known that.

Mike Hassinger June 19, 2013 at 10:39 am

Here’s the ENTIRE press release. Please feel free to point out exactly what I missed:

CONTACT: Joel Aaron at [email protected] or (678) 910-3101

AFP Launching Major Effort Opposing Farm Bill in GA
Emails, phone calls, web videos targeting Rep. Phil Gingrey’s (GA-11) district.

ATLANTA — Americans for Prosperity, the nation’s largest and most effective advocate for economic freedom, today announced the launch of a significant effort that combines grassroots advocacy with paid ads calling on Republican and Democratic House members to oppose the Farm Bill.

The latest effort will include email, social media, phone calls, and two web videos that target a bipartisan list of representatives in 15 House districts, including Representative Phil Gingrey.

“The 2013 Farm Bill has become little more than a vehicle for massive welfare spending and taxpayer-funded corporate cronyism,” AFP President Tim Phillips. “Americans deserve better than this kind of government overspending and waste, and we’re going to make sure their voices are heard in Washington.”

AFP-Georgia State Director Virginia Galloway said, “Spending on the food stamp program has skyrocketed over the last decade, but instead of having a real debate over how to get our social safety net under control, Congress is determined to slap the name Farm Bill on this legislation and call it aid to small farmers. We will never reform federal spending until we can have an honest debate. It’s time to talk about how to keep the food stamp program sustainable and debate it separately from farm subsidies, most of which go to large corporate farms.”

AFP’s newest campaign includes two web videos: Table the Farm Bill shows that Farm Bill subsidies largely go to wealthy individuals or well-connected corporations, rather than small farmers, while Food Stamps demonstrates that 80 percent of Farm Bill spending goes to food stamps, rather than farms of any kind.

In addition to the ads, AFP will be empowering activists across the country to engage their representatives through email, phone calls, and social media, calling on lawmakers to oppose the inefficient and ineffective Farm Bill. AFP has also issued a key vote alert opposing the bill, including it on the organization’s scorecard that ranks members of Congress.

For further information or an interview, please contact Joel Aaron at [email protected] or (678) 910-3101.

Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is a nationwide organization of citizen-leaders committed to advancing every individual’s right to economic freedom and opportunity. AFP believes reducing the size and intrusiveness of government is the best way to promote individual productivity and prosperity for all Americans. For more information, visit http://www.americansforprosperity.org


Dave Bearse June 19, 2013 at 10:05 pm

The press release had only space enough to name one of the 15 Congressman, and we drew Gingrey’s name out of a hat.

VafromGA June 19, 2013 at 11:09 am

You missed the contact info for more information. Press releases were sent to reporters in particular districts. Since you are apparently not in CD-1, you didn’t get the one about Kingston. You could have asked.

Stefan June 19, 2013 at 11:15 am

1) Use the Reply button, it helps keep comments in line.
2) I got that press release and I’m in the 5th. But I’m against prosperity so it hardly matters.

Mike Hassinger June 19, 2013 at 12:39 pm

I’m not in CD 11, either, yet I got the release posted above. And it’s not our obligation to contact for more information, especially when the release appears to contain all the information you wanted out there. I would imagine that Gingrey’s folks were a little surprised -Did anyone from his office contact you?

Ellynn June 19, 2013 at 11:39 am

Sooo. AFP wants ‘some’ people to vote no on the farm bill, which will cut the “taxpayer-funded corporate cronyism”… Does this include the cattle company/ranch and the commerical blueberry farm Koch Industruies owns?

Ellynn June 19, 2013 at 11:57 am

Please note I am going for ‘irony’ here… and I was already scolded over this at the ‘don’t know Jack’ thread already…

Back to my corner for a timeout…

Mike Hassinger June 19, 2013 at 12:35 pm

Irony is fine, but sarcasm is better.

Lawton Sack June 19, 2013 at 1:26 pm

There are some nice marbles in the corner. A little dark, a little dusty, but you get used to it.

Lawton Sack June 19, 2013 at 1:46 pm


The score appears to be based on how many times that the Rep/Sen voted the way that AFP wanted them to vote. If you click the name of the Sen/Rep, it pulls up a scorecard showing how they voted against the way AFP wanted them to.

As examples:

Chambliss voted 9/14 for AFP issues, thus his 64% score.
Isakson – 11/15 – 73% score

Bull Moose June 19, 2013 at 11:47 pm

AFP is nothing more than a special interest group for extremely wealthy donors to push their own agenda through a coordinated effort…

Voters have become so dumb that they fall for this crap and we the educated electorate have to put up with it.

It’s unfortunate, because generally, there are some well intentioned people involved with AFP who are nothing more than pawns in the game.

I think groups like AFP should be banned from anything more than voter registration efforts and things like that and not direct candidate activities.

Our democracy deserves better than this.

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