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Koch-Backed Network Wants Your Data and It Wants Your Vote

by James Ryan, published

Americans for Prosperity (AFP), the network of small-government advocacy groups steered by billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch, is expanding into new states and attracting new donors in its efforts leading into 2016.

A leaked document details plans to enhance the network's data system and bring on hundreds of staff in communities across the nation.  These preparations indicate a massive get-out-the-vote effort that has never been seen from a group that isn't the Democratic or Republican Party.

The document, called a "Partner Prospectus," was sent to major donors and prospects last month. It includes information about AFP's  staffing (539 field staffers in key states in 2014), advertising spending ($60 million in 2014), and canvassing (7.5 million phone calls made and 2.4 million doors knocked). The prospectus outlines the development and testing of an online predictive dialing system and mobile canvassing app that "integrates household data, GPS mapping, and survey software." You can find a copy of the leaked document here.

The plans also include the creation of new AFP chapters in Alabama, Idaho, North Dakota, and Utah -- deep red states where the group can focus on efforts to scale back union influence and government regulation.

Sources familiar with the Koch network say to expect issue-based attacks on Hillary Clinton and other Democrats later this year, followed by potential involvement in next year's Republican presidential primary. Network leaders, in recent meetings with major donors, have indicated that they plan to launch critiques of Democratic candidates following Labor Day.

The release of this document comes months after the network put out an $889 million spending plan for efforts heading into 2016.  The money will be spent on groups that are not involved in electoral politics -- universities, think tanks, and public policy advocates -- as well as a variety of super PACs and other political groups.

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