Koch Brothers Should Send Thank You Card, Not Ad Buys for Heitkamp

U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D - North Dakota). (Photo courtesy Flickr)

This morning CNBC reported that Americans for Prosperity (AFP) – a conservative nonprofit advocacy group funded by the billionaire Koch brothers – has decided to run a digital ad campaign to thank Democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp for her support and co-sponsoring of the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protect Act. As explained by CNBC, the bill:

“… rolls back Dodd-Frank regulations mainly on community banks, or those with less than $100 billion in assets. It recently passed in Congress with bipartisan support.”

I must admit that when the article popped up on my phone this morning, I did a double take at the headline. After all, it was just a couple months ago that AFP ran an ad criticizing Heitkamp for her vote on the Republican tax reform bill. You can see that one here:

But in addition to this, AFP’s own website says, in part, that its mission:

“… exists to recruit, educate, and mobilize citizens in support of the policies and goals of a free society at the local, state, and federal level, helping every American live their dream – especially the least fortunate.

“Americans for Prosperity has a vision for an America where truly free markets allow for free and prosperous people.”

Given Senator Heitkamp’s overall political record, I don’t believe that she fits within AFP’s mission. Which makes their decision to place thank you ads, for a single vote, all the more questionable.

In addition to this, AFP and the Koch brothers are most certainly aware that Heitkamp is currently in a battle to keep her coveted Senate seat versus Republican opponent, Congressman Kevin Cramer. As it stands now, the Republican majority is a slim two seats. And less than a month ago, Senator Heitkamp was listed by Roll Call as #4 on a list of The 10 Most Vulnerable Senators in 2018.

One political friend suggested to me that maybe AFP is just playing political games by running the ad, in hopes of alienating Heitkamp’s base— who pretty much view the Koch brothers as being on same level as Lucifer. And within minutes of him telling me that, I actually saw a social media post from a Democrat on the subject, saying they were done with the Democratic Senator because of the AFP ad. So, maybe there’s something to the idea. But I’m guessing such losses will be marginal for Heitkamp. Besides, who else would her voters turn to?

Aside from this, how might such an ad benefit Senator Heitkamp with middle of the road voters? Could her gains be greater than the losses?

When it comes to North Dakota’s only Democrat in Washington, I’d say these aren’t times for a conservative advocacy group to be placing ad buys, as a thank you, for a favorable vote on a single issue. I get it if they’re grateful for Heitkamp’s support. But perhaps a thank you card would be more appropriate.



  1. https://www.cnbc.com/2018/06/01/koch-political-network-supports-heitkamp-for-bank-deregulation-bill.html
  2. https://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=115&session=2&vote=00054
  3. https://americansforprosperity.org/about/
  4. https://www.rollcall.com/news/politics/six-months-10-vulnerable-senators-2018
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About T. Arthur Mason 883 Articles
T. Arthur Mason is a native North Dakotan who has spent nearly all of his life in the Peace Garden State. As the third of four children in Western North Dakota, Mason grew to appreciate family and the outdoors. Some of his fondest memories are annual deer hunts with family and friends. In his early teenage years, faith became a central part of T. Arthur Mason's life. He and the majority of his family attend church together on a weekly basis and find this a fulfilling aspect of their lives. Through the influence of his father, T. Arthur Mason became intrigued with politics. As a boy, he attended political events with his father and enjoyed the friendships that resulted as a byproduct of those political associations. As Mason grew older, he became convinced that the quote often attributed to Thomas Jefferson was true, "That government is best which governs least." Today, T. Arthur Mason enjoys time with his wife and children, an occasional hunt, and an increasingly active life on the political scene. This blog is the fulfillment of a dream to design a web site in the realm of politics and to advocate for the principles of Liberty and constitutionally limited government. On behalf of all those that contribute to The Minuteman, we hope you enjoy your time on the site and will share the message with others.