Name a billionaire who wrote a check to the recall. Charles Koch

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Asked by a caller on Saturday to name a conservative billionaire who donated to the recall campaigns of Senators John Morse and Angela Giron, KVOR radio host Jeff Crank replied, "Charles Koch."

This caught my attention because Koch's name hadn't appeared on any recall donation lists that I'd seen.

You'd think Crank would know about Koch, though it's not a certainty, because Crank was a Colorado state director and (briefly) chief operating officer of the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity, until he left in July to start his own political consulting company, Aegis Strategy.

Via Twitter I asked Crank to explain which recall activities were funded by Koch, and he vehemently denied saying that Koch contributed to the recall campaign at all, tweeting that my take on the conversation was a "total misquote."

"I mentioned [the] Kochs write checks to defend freedom," Crank tweeted yesterday. "Didn't say wrote checks in recall. Listen carefully at 1:55."

I listened again, and so can you below, and I heard Crank say the Koch brothers are funding "freedom," but I also heard a caller ask Crank to "name one [billionaire] that wrote a check in the recall!" And Crank replied, "Charles Koch."

CALLER RON: It was the billionaires that came after our guns. So, should we go after the billionaires?

CRANK: And it’s also the billionaires that are funding freedom.

CALLER RON: Name one!

CRANK: –that are funding—I’ll name ya some!

CALLER RON: Name one!

CRANK: Sure! Charles Koch! David Koch!

CALLER RON: Name one that wrote a check in the recall!

CRANK: Charles Koch.

CALLER RON: Name one that wrote a $500,000 check in the recall. Name one!

CRANK: They didn’t write personal checks. First of all, let me tell you. Americans for Prosperity, Ron, did a heck of a lot more to help win on those issues than you’ll ever give them credit for!

Asked to comment on Crank's radio discussion, Luis Toro, Director of Colorado Ethics Watch, said via email that "Jeff Crank is admitting what we at Ethics Watch have been saying for years: Americans for Prosperity spends money on elections but uses a loophole to keep from having to disclose the money."

Toro: "They did it in the Colorado Springs mayor’s race when Jeff Crank was the state director. They always say that they are just discussing the issues, not supporting or opposing candidates. They justify themselves by avoiding using words like 'vote for the recall' or 'defeat John Morse.' So by avoiding the 'magic words' and claiming not to have a position on the recall, they could spend as much money as they wanted on ads personally attacking Morse and Giron while at the same time pretending not to have a position on the recall vote. Crank is coming very close here to making a legally significant admission that AFP was spending to support the recall and should have reported where they got the money and how they spent it."

Last week, the Sunlight Foundation released a list of groups that contributed to the Morse and Giron recall campaigns, and Americans For Prosperity didn't appear on the list, including its list of TV ad buyers.

But the Sunlight Foundation notes that contributions by Americans for Prosperity wouldn't have been reported if they were classified as "issue advertising."

The Sunlight Foundation's blog states: "Much of the money — how much isn't really clear — spent by outside groups in the recall race came in the form of undisclosed dollars. There were no limits on contributions to these races and much of the advertising was classified as issue advertising and did not trigger official state reporting requirements. That meant that groups such as the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity, on the pro-recall side, and Americans for Responsible Solutions, on the anti-recall slate, were active but did not report their spending to state authorities."

 

 

Transcript of Dec. 14 exchange between caller "Ron" and KVOR radio host Jeff Crank about the political donations of Charles and David Koch

CALLER RON: If you want to show sides, it was the billionaires that came after our guns. So, should we go after the billionaires?

CRANK: And it’s also the billionaires that are funding freedom.

CALLER RON: Name one!

CRANK: –that are funding—I’ll name ya some!

CALLER RON: Name one!

CRANK: Sure! Charles Koch! David Koch!

CALLER RON: Name one that wrote a check in the recall!

CRANK: Charles Koch.

CALLER RON: Name one that wrote a $500,000 check in the recall. Name one!

CRANK: They didn’t write personal checks. First of all, let me tell you. Americans for Prosperity, Ron, did a heck of a lot more to help win on those issues than you’ll ever give them credit for!

CALLER RON: Well, tell us!

CRANK: Because you think it’s – I –

CALLER RON: Tell us!

CRANK: I’ve been telling you!

CALLER RON: There was $500,000 given. $360,000 was the NRA! Where was the billionaires on our side, Jeff?

CRANK: Oh, Ron! Ron, listen! First of all, I’m not even going to get in it with ya, because you just think that –. The only issue you ever want to talk about, Ron, is guns!

CALLER RON: You brought it up with the recall!

CRANK: But you think the only people out there that do anything in politics are the gun people! And you’re wrong!

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