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"Viewers Beware" Report by Watchdog Group Exposes Conservative Group Behind Anti-Healthcare Ads Running in South Dakota

Group led by conservative political operative with ties to convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff

WASHINGTON, June 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Public Campaign Action Fund issued a new investigative report today called "Viewers Beware of Anti-Health Care Ads" to expose the group behind the political ads running in eight states, including South Dakota, to oppose health care reform. The ads are funded by the Americans for Prosperity Foundation, which has a record as a right-wing political operation and is headed by an operative with ties to convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

"It's important for South Dakotans to understand who is behind this advertising campaign," said David Donnelly, national campaigns director of Public Campaign Action Fund. "Americans for Prosperity is led by a political operative with ties to convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff and funded by one of the biggest donors on the right in this country."

The report was released as anti-health care ads from the group are running in Alaska, Arkansas, Indiana, Louisiana, Montana, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Virginia. Among the reports highlights:

  • In addition to opposing a public health insurance option as part of health care reform, Americans for Prosperity opposed expanded coverage for children's health through SCHIP, opposed a Texas smoking ban, and suggests that the poor get their coverage through Medicaid while arguing that Medicaid costs are "bankrupting our country."
  • Through several foundations, the founder of Americans for Prosperity, David Koch, has given $132 million to organizations, including a "Who's Who" of conservative groups. Koch has also given nearly $800,000 in federal political donations since 1989.
  • The current president, Tim Phillips, worked with failed political candidate and former Christian Coalition leader Ralph Reed at Century Strategies, a public relations and lobbying shop they co-founded. Century Strategies was funded to further Jack Abramoff's clients' goals, including Indian casinos and maintaining sweatshops on the Northern Mariana Islands.
  • The group organized some of the "tea party" protests and has signed up "Joe the Plumber" as a speaker at its events.

A full copy can be found at

"The media -- particularly the television stations profiting from these ads -- have a civic responsibility to share with the public who is behind the anti-health care messages," continued Donnelly.

Public Campaign Action Fund is a national nonpartisan organization dedicated to advancing comprehensive campaign finance reform. It also works to hold anti-reform elected officials accountable for their connections to special interests.

SOURCE Public Campaign Action Fund
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