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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Americans for Prosperity

Political leanings: Conservative/Libertarian

2022 total spending: $79.8 million for the hybrid PAC alone

Americans for Prosperity, a “social welfareorganization, along with Americans for Prosperity Action and Americans for Prosperity Foundation are conservative/libertarian groups heavily financed by Koch Industries, which is owned largely by billionaire Charles Koch.

The company, originally an oil refinery, expanded into energy, finance, agriculture and technology. In 2023, it had estimated revenue of $125 billion, according to Forbes.

Americans for Prosperity says it “believes freedom and opportunity are the keys to unleashing prosperity for all.” The issues it focuses on are economic progress, health care, education, criminal justice, free speech and immigration.

Since 2017, Emily Seidel, the former director of special projects at Koch Companies Public Sector, has been the chief executive officer of AFP, which is registered with the IRS as a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization. That means it can operate for the “promotion of social welfare” and can’t spend more than half of its budget on political activities. It does not have to disclose its donors.

AFP Foundation, a related public charity, is registered with the IRS as a 501(c)(3).

AFP Action, which was established in September 2018, is registered with the Federal Election Commission as a hybrid political committee. Hybrid PACs can operate as a traditional political action committee, contributing money to candidates directly, and as a super PAC, which can collect unlimited donations for the purpose of funding independent expenditures. There must be separate bank accounts for each function.

In June 2019, AFP added four issue-specific PACs to its network: Uniting for Economic Opportunity, Uniting for Free Expression, Uniting for Free Trade and Uniting for Immigration Reform. These PACs can contribute directly to candidates. However, the four traditional PACs, after raising about $120,000 in 2020, received less than $1,000 in 2022 and had not collected any money in 2023 as of Oct. 5, according to the FEC.

On the other hand, AFP Action, the hybrid PAC, had raised almost $78 million as of June. That is nearly as much as the $78.5 million it raised during the 2022 midterms, and significantly more than the over $60 million it raised during the 2020 presidential election.

More than half of AFP Action’s 2023 haul so far came from two donors: Koch Industries and Stand Together Chamber of Commerce, another nonprofit connected to Charles Koch. Both organizations contributed $25 million.

Other large donors include Rob and Jim Walton, brothers and heirs to the Walmart fortune, who gave $5 million each, and Wayne Laufer, the retired co-founder and CEO of oil and natural gas company Bois d’Arc Energy Inc., who donated $2 million.

In late November, AFP Action endorsed Nikki Haley, a former South Carolina governor and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, in the 2024 Republican presidential primary. “Nikki Haley has a positive vision for America that can unite our nation and restore the American Dream,” the group says on its website.

Since then, the group had put more than $6.4 million into independent expenditures — such as digital ads — in support of Haley, according to data compiled by OpenSecrets, which researches campaign spending. In addition, it has spent $18 million opposing President Joe Biden, the Democratic incumbent, and former President Donald Trump, the front-runner for the Republican nomination.

The group also is expected to be active in congressional races. It already has announced endorsements of several Republican candidates, including retired Army Capt. Sam Brown in Nevada’s U.S. Senate race and former Bridgewater Associates CEO David McCormick in Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate race.

In the 2022 midterms, AFP Action spent roughly $79.8 million in total — and about $69.5 million of that was on independent expenditures that expressly advocated for or against congressional candidates, according to OpenSecrets. The super PAC spent $63.5 million supporting Republicans, while almost $5.6 million was used to target Democrats.

Staff Writer D’Angelo Gore contributed to this article.