NH: Big Oil’s Role in Manchester Publicity Stunt Missed
Last week in Manchester, New Hampshire, an organization called “Americans for Prosperity” (AFP) held an event at a local gas station offering local citizens a fill-up for just $1.84 cents a gallon in an attempt to highlight the change in gas prices over the course of the Obama administration. In a story about the event, a spokesperson from AFP claimed the promotional price was matched to the per gallon price prior to President Obama taking office - a point refuted by a New Hampshire Union Leader story that noted the per gallon price 5 months before President Obama took office reached $4.12.
However, the Union-Leader’s coverage of the AFP event failed to note one reason why the group would be able to afford such a publicity stunt: AFP is itself funded by Big Oil interests. After carrying out high-profile, multi-million dollar efforts aimed at organizing tea party activists and attacking President Obama’s policies, there was considerable speculation about AFP’s funding sources. Though the organization is not required to disclose its financiers, billionaire oil baron brothers Charles and David Koch confirmed speculation that they were responsible for founding the organization. In 2010, David Koch acknowledged this fact, noting at a 2009 conference that “my brother Charles and I provided the funds to start the Americans for Prosperity.”
Between them, the Koch Brothers operate an oil conglomerate, control refineries in three states, and run 4,000 miles of pipelines. And, while prices have been rising at the pump, Koch Industries stands as the second largest private company in America with 2011 revenues reaching over $100 billion. Its no wonder, then, that AFP would have access to gasoline at low prices for political events - their billionaire benefactors are making millions by refining and selling oil every month.
With Big Oil’s lobbying arm - the American Petroleum Institute - also pumping thousands into AFP, Americans deserve to know who’s behind the politically-motivated activities of this Big Oil-backed organization. As it turns out, the very people offering cheap gas as a publicity stunt this election are the same ones who’ve been raking in the profits when prices rise at the pump.