The Koch front-group Americans for Prosperity has been the subject of some well-deserved mockery. This week, an attempt by the group to defend itself from the latest ridicule over their “legislative scorecard” has gone laughably awry again. Here’s what happened.
State Representative Moffie Funk, a popular Helena Democrat with a track record of fighting for her district, sent out an email last week to her list of supporters actually bragging that Koch’s group had given her a 0% “score” for her work during the last legislative session.
(You can see Rep. Funk’s email below.)
The AFP had intended the scorecard as a tool to help enforce TEA Party ideological orthodoxy among lawmakers, who are supposed to fear the low ratings (and the dark money attack mailers and town hall meetings it tried to hold against Republicans during the last election and session.) AFP wasn’t expecting lawmakers to use the “rating” to tout their independence from the dark money group. But that’s what happened.
Moffie Funk’s supporter list is a long one, and the email circulated far and wide. So the new AFP director, another former Daines staffer, went on the defense again and attempted to defend the scorecard in a letter in yesterday’s Helena IR. The staffer insisted that he personally had mostly lived in Montana, though he doesn’t mention those pulling the strings, and claims the voting record is about “economic freedom” –though he also doesn’t say for whom.
It certainly wasn’t economic freedom for Montanans. Americans for Prosperity actually opposed major bills to improve both our economy and our pocketbooks – such as Medicaid expansion. Insurance Commissioner Monica Lindeen has frequently pointed out that medical debt is the number one cause of bankruptcy.
AFP’s apology mentions only two actual bills they say would have boosted “economic freedom” in Montana. One was HB 348, an unconstitutional ALEC boilerplate bill which was supposed to make Montana “free” from Obamacare.
We also supported bills like Rep. Nancy Ballance’s (R-HD87) that would have authorized interstate health care agreements. This would give our state more power over its own health care systems, rather than having Washington run it from 2,000 miles away. Keeping such important decisions here in Montana ensures that our policies are tailored to the unique needs of Montanans.
Unfortunately for AFP, no interstate compact, no matter how unconstitutional, is going to “free” Montana from the health care reform protections and savings.
But what is hilarious is that proponents of the interstate compacts–basically contracts between two or more states –are unwittingly helping defend Obamacare in court against a flurry of tea party lawsuits which claim that health care was outside of Congress’s authority.
Recall that Ballance and her AFP backers repeatedly iterated during the last session that even if the Montana legislature passed this boilerplate, Congress would still need to give its consent to the health care compact–basically conceding that the health care law was within Congress’s authority.