Americans for Prosperity

Americans for Prosperity (AFP)


Americans for Prosperity was founded by David Koch and Richard Fink in 2003 out of the remains of Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE). Like CSE, Americans for Prosperity has been accused by critics of “using the guise of nonprofit status to work, behind a screen of anonymity, on behalf of the Kochs’ corporate and political interests.” [41]

Americans for Prosperity is a 501(c)(4) “social welfare” group, which means it is able to participate in electoral politics so long as it was not its “primary” activity. Donations to Americans for Prosperity can be made anonymously, but are not tax deductible.  The other arm of AFP, the Americans for Prosperity Foundation, is a 501(c)(3) educational organization. This means donations to the AFP Foundation can be written off as tax-deductible, however it cannot participate in the same electoral politics as AFP[41]

The initial team of AFP included Tim Phillips, who David Koch hired to run the political side of the operation. Phillips had previously worked with Ralph Reed, the former head of the Christian Coalition. The Washington Post describes AFP as a powerful part of the Koch network, “a centrally directed but federated organization with paid staffers in the states who can deploy resources and mobilize millions of activists on contact lists. […] the Koch network has more capabilities than ATR and the Club for Growth to combine lobbying with activist mobilization and electioneering.”[41], [48]

Conservative Transparency describes Americans for Prosperity as “the centerpiece of the Kochs’ political machine” and highlights its connection to the Tea Party movement.  As of 2015, AFP listed state chapters in thirty-four states. David Koch, who has been a key figure in funded think-tanks and organizations distorting climate change science, is still the chairman of the AFP Foundation.  [16][39] [2]

AFP is also the sister organization to FreedomWorks, an organization that formed in 2004 when Citizens for a Sound Economy merged with the think tank Empower America. Both the Citizens for a Sound Economy and Citizens for a Sound Economy Foundation were created by the Koch brothers. [37][13]

AFP Mission Statement

2016 – 2018

Americans for Prosperity exists to recruit, educate, and mobilize citizens in support of the policies and goals of a free society at the local, state, and federal level, helping every American live their dream – especially the least fortunate. […]

[…] “Together, we’re persuading public officials to embrace an agenda of economic freedom, educating our friends and neighbors on the issues shaping our economy, and getting everyone involved in building a culture of freedom at the local, state and federal levels. ” (Emphasis added). [36]


Americans for Prosperity’s revised mission is to:

“[M]obilize citizens to advocate for policies that cut red tape and increase opportunity, put the brakes on government overspending, and get the economy working for hard workers– not special interests.” [14] 


AFP originally described itself as a grassroots organization committed to engaging “citizens in the name of limited government and free markets on the local, state, and federal levels.” It educates citizens about economic policy and attempts to mobilize those citizens to become advocates in the public policy process. [1]

Americans for Prosperity Foundation (AFPF)

The Americans for Prosperity Foundation is the 501(c)(3) sister organization to Americans for Prosperity, which itself operates as a 501(c)(4) organization. 

The AFP Foundation describes its mission as “educating and training citizens to be courageous advocates for the ideas, principles, and policies of a free society — knowing that leads to the greatest prosperity and wellbeing for all — especially the least fortunate.” [27]

Americans for Prosperity Action (AFPA)

Americans for Prosperity Action, a super PAC (political action committee), was launched on September 10, 2018. The Koch network had been planning the launch since a meeting in Palm Springs, California at the start of the year, when groups in the network announced they were planning to spend $400 million on the upcoming congressional elections. [73]

Less than a fortnite before, Americans for Prosperity had announced its support for eight Republican incumbents who it considered its “policy champions”: Peter Roskam, Dave Brat, Ted Budd, Steve Chabot, Will Hurd, Erik Paulsen, Rod Blum and David Young. [74]

The creation of the PAC was described by CNBC as an “indirect clapback against Trump and former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon” who reacted angrily after the Kochs raised the possibility of supporting Democratic Party candidates. [73]

The following month, Americans for Prosperity Action launched a “Seven-Figure Digital Ad Buy” to unseat Florida Senator Bill Nelson. [75]

Federal Election Commission records show AFPA raised over $12.5m worth of donations in 2018, including $5m from Koch Industries, $5m from the Freedom Partners Action Fund, which has been described as the “Koch brothers’ secret bank”, as well as $500,000 from Wayne Laufer, co-founder and retired CEO of Texas-based oil and natural gas company Bois d’Arc Energy. [77], [76]

Bill Riggs, a spokesman for the PAC, said: “Americans for Prosperity has been a difference-maker supporting policy champions in tight races, and AFP Action is a new tool that will allow us to expand those efforts and make an even larger impact.” [73]

A PAC is allowed to raise unlimited amounts of money from corporations and mega-donors but cannot contribute to or coordinate directly with a campaign.

Grassroots Leadership Academy (GLA)

The Grassroots Leadership Academy (GLA) is a project launched by Americans for Prosperity Foundation in February 2015 and based in their in Arlington, Virginia. According to its website, the group focuses on “providing educational programs and partnering with local organizations to educate the public about some of the biggest challenges facing our communities, like K-12 Education, Free Speech and Toleration, and Criminal Justice Reform.” [78], [79]

A now-deleted mission statement was more explicit about the GLA‘s support of right-wing political causes, stating its intention to create leaders who can “fight for freedom and against the progressive policies and false narratives of the left.” [80]

A September 2016 New York Times article described the group as “grooming the next generation of conservative activists to shape the future of the Republican Party”, with the Kochs spending an initial $3 million on the training programme. The report stated that the training effort had taken on greater urgency amid fears of then presidential candidate Donald Trump’s turn away from “free market” economics. Training sessions had already taken place in “roughly three dozen states, and about 10,000 people have attended an academy program.” [79]

Courses have included one entitled “The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels” which teaches participants to argue that “a turn away from fossil fuel use would ultimately be disastrous to humanity — especially the poorest of the poor.” [79]

Bold TV, a news site founded by Carrie Sheffield, former executive director of another youth-focused Koch-funded group, Generation Opportunity, published an article by Slade O’Brien, Vice President of the Grassroots Leadership Academy, who has called climate change the “lie of the century.” In the article, O’Brien notes that the group has trained leaders who have gone on to manage “well-connected and well-funded interest groups and won all over the country.” The article gives an example of someone who successfully campaigned to have speed bumps removed from their local area after graduating from the programme. [81], [82]

The Grassroots Leadership Academy has no connection to the prison reform campaign group, Grassroots Leadership, as this article from the organization makes clear. [83]

Stance on Climate Change

While AFP consistently opposes government regulation over power generation:

February 2016

“Environmentalists are frustrated. They’ve worked so hard, for so long, to get the United States on board with a binding international climate treaty. So far every attempt has failed, in large part because the American public is just not convinced. The main problem with alarmist propaganda of the last two decades is that they can only cry wolf so many times before the public begins to doubt the story,” AFP wrote in an introduction to their video, “Climate Change Gets the Cold Shoulder.” Note that the video, uploaded on December 11, 2015, no longer appears available online. [67], [68]


“Abundant, affordable energy is a key driver of prosperity. We must unleash resources by removing regulatory barriers and eliminating corporate welfare that favors certain energy sources over others. When energy prices increase or government distorts the market, it disproportionately affects low and middle income families.” [40]


“Abundant, affordable energy is a key driver of prosperity. We must unleash resources by removing regulatory barriers and keeping taxes low.  The environment improves with economic growth and prosperity, so an overriding goal of environmental policy should be to avoid burdening employers and entrepreneurs.” [15]

On the Keystone XL Pipeline Act which would force approval of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline:

“We applaud Representatives Ryan, Sensenbrenner, Grothman, Duffy and Ribble on their votes to provide much needed relief for middle class families. With 8.7 million Americans still out of work, we simply cannot afford to deny access to 42,000 good-paying jobs. American families need secure jobs and the American economy needs secure energy. The Keystone Pipeline provides both. The President and Senate should act quickly to sign this bill into law and get Americans back to work.” [49]


Americans for Prosperity (AFP) & AFP Foundation

Americans for Prosperity is a non-profit organization that does not have to disclose its donors. It works closely with its 501(c)(3) sister organization, the Americans for Prosperity FoundationThe Conservative Transparency project reports the group boasts 90,000 individual donors, but a significant portion of its funding is tied to the Koch brothers. [16][17][18]

Conservative Transparency highlights two organizations associated with the Kochs, Freedom Partners and the Center to Protect Patient Rights, which had combined contributions of over $80 million to Americans for Prosperity since 2009. [16],  [17],  [18]

Below is a summary of data the Conservative Transparency project collected from publicly available 990 tax forms. Note that not all individual transactions have been verified by DeSmog. [17][18]

AFP as Recipient

DonorAmericans for ProsperityAmericans for Prosperity FoundationGrand Total
Freedom Partners$211,215,000 $211,215,000
DonorsTrust $30,936,331$30,936,331
American Encore (Center to Protect Patient Rights)$16,056,079 $16,056,079
David H. Koch Charitable Foundation$6,206,853$1,000,000$7,206,853
Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation $4,693,225$4,693,225
DeVos Urban Leadership Initiative $3,000,000$3,000,000
John William Pope Foundation $2,895,000$2,895,000
Wellspring Committee$1,651,811 $1,651,811
Marshall Heritage Foundation $1,550,000$1,550,000
Donors Capital Fund $1,423,000$1,423,000
The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation $1,394,500$1,394,500
TC4 Trust$1,391,800 $1,391,800
Independent Women’s Forum $1,119,998$1,119,998
Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation$674,484$437,497$1,111,981
Barney Family Foundation $658,221$658,221
Walton Family Foundation $575,000$575,000
Searle Freedom Trust $496,000$496,000
Chase Foundation of Virginia$475,500 $475,500
E L Craig Foundation $450,000$450,000
Bradley Impact Fund $413,000$413,000
National Christian Charitable Foundation $370,000$370,000
Schwab Charitable Fund $364,500$364,500
John Dawson Foundation $325,000$325,000
The Randolph Foundation $310,000$310,000
Floyd Foundation$300,000 $300,000
Friedman Foundation For Educational Choice $262,500$262,500
The Challenge Foundation $250,000$250,000
Ed Uihlein Family Foundation $205,000$205,000
Lovett & Ruth Peters Foundation $200,000$200,000
Charles Koch Institute $194,112$194,112
Reams Foundation$160,000 $160,000
Armstrong Foundation $147,500$147,500
American Petroleum Institute$139,000 $139,000
Sarah Scaife Foundation$125,000 $125,000
Adolph Coors Foundation $120,000$120,000
American Energy Alliance$100,000 $100,000
John Templeton Foundation $100,000$100,000
Castle Rock Foundation $100,000$100,000
Claws Foundation$82,800 $82,800
The JM Foundation $60,000$60,000
Philip M. McKenna Foundation $55,000$55,000
Reynolds American$54,000 $54,000
Heartland Institute $50,000$50,000$45,000 $45,000
The Rodney Fund$44,000 $44,000
Hickory Foundation $35,000$35,000
Huizenga Foundation $35,000$35,000
The Vernon K. Krieble Foundation$32,500 $32,500
Edison Electric Institute$30,000 $30,000
Wodecroft Foundation$15,000$13,000$28,000
Jaquelin Hume Foundation $25,000$25,000
Einhorn Family Foundation $25,000$25,000
Dorothy D. and Joseph A. Moller Foundation $25,000$25,000
Albert and Ethel Herzstein Charitable Foundation $22,500$22,500
Bochnowski Family Foundation$20,000 $20,000
Legett Foundation $15,000$15,000
Peterson Family Foundation$13,750 $13,750
Considine Family Foundation$10,000 $10,000
Tepper Family Foundation$7,500 $7,500
Richard Seth Staley Educational Foundation$6,500 $6,500
American Democracy Alliance $6,000$6,000
The Stiles Nicholson Foundation$5,000 $5,000
National Philanthropic Trust $5,000$5,000
George Edward Durell Foundation $5,000$5,000
The Roe Foundation $5,000$5,000
Abstraction Fund $5,000$5,000
Marcus Foundation $3,000$3,000
Cato Institute $2,500$2,500
The Whitcomb Charitable Foundation$2,000 $2,000
Foundation for Economic Education$1,000 $1,000
Deramus Foundation $1,000$1,000
Leadership Institute$500 $500
Eric Javits Family Foundation$100 $100
Grand Total$239,015,177$54,453,384$293,468,561

AFP as Donor

RecipientAmericans for ProsperityAmericans for Prosperity FoundationGrand Total
Defeat22com$590,000 $590,000
KidsFirst Mississippi Political Issue Committee$210,000 $210,000
Enterprise Freedom Action$200,000 $200,000
Center to Protect Patient Rights$100,000 $100,000
Arizona Free Enterprise Club$100,000 $100,000
Coalition for American Values$85,500 $85,500
SM Wright Foundation $56,000$56,000
Protect my Check$50,000 $50,000
United for MO‘s Future $50,000$50,000
Tax Fairness for All Wichitans$43,000 $43,000
Kansas Senior Consumer Alliance LLC$42,000 $42,000
South Carolina Policy Council $35,000$35,000
Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity $30,000$30,000
United Sportsmen of Wisconsin Foundation Inc $30,000$30,000
Nevada Policy Research Institute $29,500$29,500
Home School Legal Defense Association$29,200 $29,200
We The People Convention$20,000 $20,000
New Hampshire Advantage Coalition$20,000 $20,000
NPIB – The Voice of Free Enterprise$20,000 $20,000
Let the People Vote (SPAC)$20,000 $20,000
State Policy Network $15,000$15,000
American Energy Alliance$15,000 $15,000
Keep Albuquerque Working$12,000 $12,000
Clark County School District$11,000 $11,000
Beacon Center of Tennessee$10,000 $10,000
Edgar County Watchdogs $10,000$10,000
Talent Market $10,000$10,000
The Junior League of Raleigh Inc $10,000$10,000
Georgia Public Policy Foundation $9,250$9,250
Hampton Roads Tea Party$7,700 $7,700
New Mexico Business Coalition$7,500 $7,500
American Principles in Action$7,259 $7,259
Kentucky Education Restoration Alliance $7,000$7,000
Conservative Alliance for Community Growth$6,400 $6,400
Citizens for Community Values$5,800 $5,800
Smart Girl Politics$5,650 $5,650
Grand Total$1,618,009$291,750$1,909,759

Koch Funding

The AFP is the third largest recipient of funding from the Koch Family Foundations, behind the Cato Institute and the George Mason University Foundation.

Before 2003, when the AFP was still named the Citizens for a Sound Economy Foundation, it received $18,460,912 in funding. 84% of that funding came from the Koch Family Foundations ($12,906,712) and the Scaife Family Foundations ($2,510,000). [28]

Koch Family Foundations are connected to Koch Industries, the second-largest privately-held company according to Forbes and the largest privately owned energy company in the United States. [29]

According to Greenpeace, AFP received a grand total of combined $6,324,834  from combined Koch foundations between 2005 and 2017. Note that if you include values prior to 2005, some of which no longer have original 990 forms available for verification, that number increases to $13,012,059 in Koch funding from 1986 to 2017:  [3]

RecipientDavid H. Koch Charitable FoundationClaude R. Lambe Charitable FoundationCharles G. Koch Charitable FoundationGrand Total
Americans for Prosperity (or Foundation –  Unspecified)$6,206,853 $674,484$6,881,337
1986$455,000  $455,000
1987$500,000  $500,000
1988$625,000  $625,000
1989$1,026,853 $200,000$1,226,853
1995$600,000 $24,484$624,484
1996$500,000  $500,000
1997$750,000  $750,000
1999$1,000,000  $1,000,000
2000$750,000  $750,000
2001  $450,000$450,000
Americans for Prosperity Foundation$1,000,000$4,693,225$437,497$6,130,722
2005 $1,000,000 $1,000,000
2006 $1,151,500 $1,151,500
2007 $1,025,000 $1,025,000
2008$1,000,000$1,000,000 $2,000,000
2009 $366,725$67,556$434,281
2010 $150,000 $150,000
2012  $43,373$43,373
2014  $123,984$123,984
2015  $130,528$130,528
2016  $61,799$61,799
2017  $10,257$10,257
Grand Total$7,206,853$4,693,225$1,111,981$13,012,059

Exxon Funding

According to ExxonSecrets, between the years 1998-2001, Citizens for A Sound Economy and Citizens for a Sound Economy Foundation received $380,250 from ExxonMobil. [4]

Americans for Prosperity as Donor

Conservative Transparency data shows that AFP has also donated funds to a number of groups including the following:  [16][17][18]

Enterprise Freedom Action$200,000
Center to Protect Patient Rights$100,000
Tax Fairness for All Wichitans$43,000
New Hampshire Advantage Coalition$20,000
NPIB – The Voice of Free Enterprise$20,000
We The People Convention$20,000
American Energy Alliance$15,000
Keep Albuquerque Working$12,000
Clark County School District$11,000
Hampton Roads Tea Party$7,700
New Mexico Business Coalition$7,500
American Principles in Action$7,259
Conservative Alliance for Community Growth$6,400
Citizens for Community Values$5,800
Smart Girl Politics$5,650
Grand Total$481,309

AFP Political Spending

OpenSecrets reports the Americans for Prosperity FEC-reported spending from Jan 2004-Dec 2014 at $40,871,480, and lists it at #8 for its long-term political activity ranking. [42]

Americans for Prosperity 990 Forms

Americans for Prosperity Foundation 990 Forms

Key People

Board of Directors

James C. Miller III  YYYYYYYYYYYYYYYDirector
James E. Stephenson     YYYYYYYYYYYYDirector
Frayda Levin         YYYYYYYYChair
Nancy Pfotenhauer         YYYYYYYYDirector
James Davis               YYDirector
Mark Holden            YYY  Director
Richard Fink  YYY    YYY     Director
Art Pope YYYYYYYY        Director
Frayda Levy     YYYY        Director
David KochYYYYY            Chairman, Americans for Prosperity Foundation
Walter WilliamsYYYYY            Director, Americans for Prosperity Foundation
Debra Humphreys  YYY            Director, Americans for Prosperity Foundation
Michael Wigley  YYY            Director
John ThomasYY               Director, Americans for Prosperity Foundation
Wayne GableYY               Director, Americans for Prosperity Foundation

Leadership & Staff

Tim Phillips   YYYYYYYYYYYYYYPresident
Brent Gardner           YYYYYYChief Government Affairs Officer
Victor E. Bernson, Jr.           YYYYYYVice President, General Counsel
Chase Downham              YYYSenior Vice President of Grassroots
Dustin Zvonek              YYYVice President of Strategy and Innovation
Emily Seidel              YYYChief Executive Officer
Jorge Lima              YYYSenior Vice President of Policy
Derrick Sontag     YYY  Y    YYVice President of State Operations
Nathan Nascimento                YExecutive Vice President
Teresa Oelke         YYYYYY  Senior Vice President
Mark Lucas              Y  Senior Vice President of Grassroots
Sarah Field              Y  Vice President of Judicial Strategy
Chris Fink      YY YYYY    Chief Operating Officer
Luke Hilgemann          YYYY   Chief Executive Officer
Robert Heaton            Y    Chief Financial Officer
Adam Stryker       Y   Y     Vice President, Strategic Initiatives
Dennis D. Vegas           Y     Chief Marketing Officer
Corey Lewandowski     YYY  Y      National Director of Voter Registration
Jennifer Stefano       Y  Y      Northern Regional Director 
Slade O’Brien          Y      Southern Regional Director
John Flynn     YYYYY       Vice President and General Counsel
Jeff Crank      YY Y       Chief Operating Officer
Alan Cobb YYYYYYYY        Vice President, State Operations
JP De Gance       YY        Vice President, External Affairs
Steve Corder       YY        Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Tracy A. Henke       YY        Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
Peggy M. VenableYYYYYYYY         State Director, Texas
Christy Andruss  YYYYYY         Development Officer, Central Region
Katie Engdahl  YYYYYY         Director of Programs
Michael Harinstein  YYYYYY         Director of Marketing
Christovan Trimarchi   YYYYY         Field Operations Director, New Jersey
Dallas Woodhouse   YYYYY         State Director, North Carolina
Phil Kerpen   YYYYY         Vice President, Policy
Tommy Downs   YYYYY         Marketing Manager
Chris Marie Farr    YYYY         Grassroots Coordinator, North Carolina
Eliza Vielma    YYYY         Operations & Legislative Liaison, Texas
Erik Telford    YYYY         Director of Membership and Online Strategy
Jeff Kropf    YYYY         State Director, Oregon
Jennifer Rezac    YYYY         Communications Director, Kansas
Jim Mullins    YYYY         Field Director, East Kansas
Joe Calomino    YYYY         State Director, Illinois
Matt Evans    YYYY         Communications Director, Oregon
Stuart Jolly    YYYY         State Director, Oklahoma
Tom Jenney    YYYY         State Director, Arizona
Virginia Galloway    YYYY         State Director, Georgia
Brenda Baas     YYY         Administrative Assistant, Wisconsin
Cindy Mallette     YYY         Grassroots & Communications Director, Texas
David Spady     YYY         State Director, California
James Valvo     YYY         Director of Government Affairs
Richard Burke     YYY         Grassroots Director, Oregon
Scott Hagerstrom     YYY         State Director, Michigan
Susan Estes     YYY         Field Director, West Kansas
Steven Lonegan   YY YY         State Director, New Jersey
Lorri Pickens  YY  YY         Director of State Operations
Brendan McGinn      YY         Senior Finance Analyst
Carla Kendall      YY         Administrative Assistant, New Jersey
Elizabeth Aymond      YY         Communications Coordinator, Arkansas
Heather de la Riva      YY         Director of Human Resources
Jacqueline Lord      YY         Programs Coordinator
Jake Davison      YY         Communications & Policy Director, Michigan
Jeff Mixon      YY         Field Coordinator, North Carolina
Joe Walker      YY         Membership Coordinator
Joel Foster      YY         Grassroots Coordinator, Georgia
Jordan Tuch      YY         Online Strategy Manager
Kathy McDonald      YY         Senior Development Officer
Meredith Turney      YY         Communications Director, California
Mike Proto      YY         Communications Director, New Jersey
Nick Loffer      YY         Field Director, Maryland
Rebecca Heimlich      YY         State Director, Ohio
Richard Myslinski      YY         Senior Online Strategy Manager
Sarah Smith      YY         Development Associate to the President
Stephen Wood      YY         Development Coordinator
Teresa Crossland-Oelke      YY         State Director, Arkansas
Tommy von der Heydt      YY         Development Officer, West Region
Abigail MacIver       Y         Director of Policy and External Affairs, Florida
Adam Berkland       Y         Legislative Assistant
Alicia Barnaby       Y         Development Associate for Corporate Relations
Andrew Barrett       Y         Marketing Coordinator
Apryl Marie Fogel       Y         State Director, Florida
Bonnie Wunderlich       Y         Office Administrator
Camissa Dater       Y         Finance Assistant
Carol Weston       Y         State Director, Maine
Cecilia Marschner       Y         Development Associate
Charles Lollar       Y         State Director, Maryland
Charles Munoz       Y         Field Coordinator, Nevada
Chris Laurenzano       Y         Development Associate
Daniel Ehlers       Y         Development Associate
Daryn Iwicki       Y         State Programs Manager
Hugh McNichol       Y         Direct Marketing Manager
Jaron Janson       Y         Database Coordinator
Jennifer Jacobs       Y         Grassroots Director, California
Jennifer Ridgley       Y         E-mail Communications Manager
Jeremy Jensen       Y         Grassroots Coordinator, Nebraska
Jessica Lee       Y         Operations Assistant, Florida
Joseph Moser       Y         Development Associate
Judy Hoelscher       Y         Grassroots Coordinator, Arizona
Julie Grisolano       Y         Foundation Relations Officer
Julie Talarico       Y         Human Resources Coordinator
Justin Wilmeth       Y         Deputy State Director, Oklahoma
Katy Abrams       Y         Policy Analyst, Pennsylvania
Kelly O’Hara       Y         Projects Coordinator
Krista Nicholas       Y         Staff Accountant
Laurie Masterson       Y         Grassroots Coordinator, Arkansas
Mallon Mackenzie       Y         Donor Relations Officer
Matt Seaholm       Y         State Director, Wisconsin
Michelle Marston       Y         State Direct Marketing Manager
Mike Ellison       Y         Senior Development Officer, Midwest Region
Mike Friend       Y         State Director, Nebraska
Nansen Malin       Y         State Director, Washington State
Nathaniel Day       Y         Staff Accountant
Sam Rohrer       Y         State Director, Pennsylvania
Sarah Hurt Weir       Y         Office Assistant, Nebraska
Scott Sales       Y         State Director, Montana
Ted Brown       Y         Development Officer, North Carolina
Trixie Averill       Y         State Director, Virginia
Mark Block  YYYYY          State Director, Wisconsin
Carl Bearden    YYY          State Director, Missouri
Allen Lowe     YY          Grassroots Coordinator, Michigan
Becky Cordero     YY          Development/Grassroots Coordinator, Missouri
Ben Marchi     YY          State Director, Virginia
Brad Jensema     YY          Development Associate
Colette Campbell     YY          Director of Policy and Operations, New Jersey
Mary Ellen Burke     YY          State Communications Manager
Michelle Colbert     YY          Field Director, Missouri
Steve Mullins     YY          Chief Financial Officer
Travis Fitzwater     YY          Field Director. Missouri
Amy Menefee Payne      Y          Director of Communications
Bill Bosanko      Y          Controller
Bill Gilbert      Y          Field Director, North Carolina
Brad Stevens      Y          State Director, Nebraska
Brendan McIntyre      Y          Legal Associate
Carl Oberg      Y          Policy Associate
Charles Kelley      Y          Deputy State Director, Virginia
Chelsey Fortin      Y          Office Administrator
David Schwartz      Y          State Director, Maryland
Emily Jenkins      Y          Finance Manager
Kevin Brooks      Y          Programs Associate
Kirby Wilbur      Y          State Director, Washington State
Kurt Hammond      Y          Field Director, Nebraska
Leigh Sethman      Y          Grassroots Coordinator, Oklahoma
Sarah Hurt      Y          Office Assistant, Nebraska
Thomas Doheny      Y          Communications Associate
W. Chad Adams      Y          Development Officer, North Carolina
Daniel J. Erspamer YYYYY           Director of Development
Barry Poulson  YYYY           Distinguished Scholar
Phillis Setchell  YYYY           Grassroots Coordinator, Kansas
Jared Thomas   YYY           State Director, Georgia
Chris Bond    YY           Development Associate
Clare Launder    YY           Finance Officer
Jack Boyle    YY           State Director, Ohio
Margaret Taylor    YY           Corporate and Foundation Relations Manager
Pam Pollard    YY           Assistant State Director, Oklahoma
Craig Bergman     Y           Grassroots Coordinator, Colorado
Jim Pfaff     Y           State Director, Colorado
Jim Raftis     Y           Legislative Liaison, Illinois
Joan Hansen     Y           Policy Advisor, Wisconsin
Joel Arends     Y           Field Coordinator, South Dakota
Jonathan Bandy     Y           Field Director, North Carolina
Jonathan Martin     Y           Policy Analyst
Larry Hunter     Y           Senior Fellow
Michael Curcio     Y           Donor Relations Manager
Michael Demkovich     Y           Communications Associate
Michael Horn     Y           Development Associate
Stephen Hollingshead     Y           Chief Operating Officer
Ted Maravelius     Y           Grassroots Coordinator, New Hampshire
Travis Cleek     Y           Field Coordinator, Oklahoma
Victoria Mitchell     Y           Office Manager
Michelle L. KorsmoYYYYY            Executive Vice President
Cherie Velez YYYY            Chief Financial Officer
Ed Frank YYYY            Vice President, Public Affairs
Annie Patnaude  YYY            Director of Strategic Communications
Trent Sebits  YYY            Policy Director, Kansas
Amy Hagerstrom   YY            State Director, Michigan
Duane Sand   YY            State Director, North Dakota
Michele Connole   YY            Operations Coordinator, Texas
Phil Cox   YY            Director of Development
Adam Guillette    Y            State Director, Florida
Audra Shay    Y            Grassroots Coordinator, Louisiana
Caleb Heimlich    Y            Policy Analyst
Chad Kirkpatrick    Y            State Chairman, Arizona
Christie Caywood    Y            Media Coordinator
Dustin Gawrylow    Y            Field Coordinator, South Dakota
Hazel Hawkins    Y            Administrative Assistant
Jason Hebert    Y            State Coordinator, Louisiana
Jennifer Seidel    Y            Grassroots Director, Ohio
Louise Crayton    Y            Administrative Assistant, New Jersey
Mandy Studer    Y            Grassroots Director, Missouri
Rachel Brown    Y            Development Director, Missouri
Rodger Woods    Y            Field Director, Kansas
Rudie Martinson    Y            Associate State Director, North Dakota
Christine Burtt  YY             Director, Americans for Prosperity Foundation
Whitney Duff  YY             State Director, Virginia
Adam Piper   Y             Grassroots Coordinator, South Carolina
Beth Newberry   Y             Director, Americans for Prosperity Foundation
Craig Dewey   Y             Associate Director, South Dakota
Jeff Davis   Y             Director, Americans for Prosperity Foundation
Joe Calamine   Y             Director, Americans for Prosperity Foundation
Mike Campbell   Y             State Director, South Carolina
Maria G. MartinezYYY              Field Representative, Texas
Andy Lancaster YY              State Field Director, North Carolina
Chris Neeley YY              State Director, North Carolina
Eric Bates YY              Manager of Donor Relations
Michael T. Osburn YY              Regional Field Director
Michele Mitola YY              Director of Development
Sarah Clapp YY              Communications and Development Director, North Carolina
Carol Jones  Y              Director of Citizen Advocacy, Texas
David Hanna  Y              Communications Director, Kansas
Julie Kesselman  Y              Federal Policy Manager
Rob Whitney  Y              State Director, Virginia
Nancy PfotenhauerYY               Director
Christopher D. Hanna Y               Associate Director, Kansas
Dan Lips Y               Senior Policy Analyst
David Flaherty Y               Director of Campaign Operations
Travis K. McSherley Y               Online Editor
Sean Lansing             Y   Chief Operating Officer
Tim Carnahan             Y   Chief Financial Officer

Board of Directors (AFP Foundation) [2]

  • David Koch — Chairman. Executive vice president and member of the board of directors for Koch Industries, Inc.
  • Richard Fink — Director. Executive vice president and member of the board of directors of Koch Industries, Inc.
  • Debra Humphreys — Director.
  • Walter Williams — Director. Professor of Economics at George Mason University.
  • Nancy Pfotenhauer — Director
  • Cy Nobles — Director

A past director for the AFP Foundation was Art Pope, The President and Vice-Chairman of the board of directors for Variety Wholesalers Inc.


April 6, 2020

AfP, represented by Brent Wm. Gardner, was signatory to an American Energy Alliance letter to President Donald Trump supporting the Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Rule which would scrap federal fuel economy mandates under the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) program. [84]

Describing CAFE, the letter contends: “Those families and individuals who prefer or need trucks, SUVs, and crossovers pay more to subsidize those who buy smaller vehicles or electric vehicles under the existing mandate. This significant, needless, and unjust cost is a very real regressive tax on American families that has made our country worse off.” [84]

July 18, 2018

Americans for Prosperity, represented by Brent Wm. Gardner, was among signatories of a letter supporting an anti-carbon tax resolution from House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Rep. David McKinley (R-W.Va. [70]

“We oppose any carbon tax. We oppose a carbon tax because it would lead to less income and fewer jobs for American families,” the letter read. “We support the House Concurrent Resolution in opposition to a job-killing carbon tax and urge members to co-sponsor and support this effort.”  [70]

The resolution would call a carbon tax “detrimental to the United States economy.”E&E News reported it was similar to a measure that passed the House in 2016. Rep. Carlos Curbelo of Florida, co-chairman of the Climate Solutions Caucus, said he would not vote for the resolution. [71]

“Protecting our environment and economic growth are not mutually exclusive,” he said in a statement. “The resolution presents a false choice.” [71]

The Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) issued a point-by-point rebuttal of the measure when it was first introduced. [72]

February 12, 2018

AFP announced it was leading a coalition opposing a federal gas tax increase. Groups joining AFP were groups including the National Taxpayers Union, Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, Americans for Tax Reform, Club for Growth, Heritage Action, and numerous others. [65]

“Raising the gas tax is a bad idea. It will make the burden of government on families and businesses heavier,” the coalition open letter read. While the Trump administration’s infrastructure proposal did not include a gas tax increase, AFP noted that several increases had been proposed. [65]

Signatories include: [66]

Brent Wm. GardnerChief Government Affairs OfficerAmer
Michael A. NeedhamCEOHeritage Action for America
Grover NorquistPresidentAmericans for Tax Reform
David McIntoshPresidentClub for Growth
Nathan NascimentoExecutive Vice PresidentFreedom Partners Chamber of Commerce
Mark ScribnerSenior FellowCompetitive Enterprise Institute
Jason PyeVice President of Legislative AffairsFreedomWorks
Tom SchatzPresidentCitizens Against Government Waste
Pete SeppPresidentNational Taxpayers Union
Phil KerpenPresidentAmerican Commitment
Mario H. LopezPresidentHispanic Leadership Fund
Daniel GarzaPresidentThe Libre Initiative
Carrie L. LukasPresidentIndependent Women’s Forum
Heather R. HigginsPresident and CEOIndependent Women’s Voice
Harry C. AlfordPresident and CEONational Black Chamber of Commerce
Jeffrey MazellaPresidentCenter for Individual Freedom
Donald BrysonPresidentCivitas Action
David BarnesPolicy DirectorGeneration Opportunity
Norm SingletonPresidentCampaign for Liberty
Judson PhillipsFounderTea Party Nation
Seton MotleyPresidentLess Government
Kim Crockett, Esq.Vice President, Senior Fellow and General CounselCenter of the American Experiment
Tom Brinkman, Jr.ChairmanCoalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes (COAST)
Matthew KandrachPresidentConsumer Action for a Strong Economy (CASE)
Katie McAulliffeExecutive DirectorDigital Liberty
Brett HealyPresidentJohn K. MacIver Institute
Sean NoblePresidentAmerican Encore
Annette MeeksCEOFreedom Foundation of Minnesota
Andrew F. QuinlanPresidentCenter for Freedom and Prosperity


Americans for Prosperity‘s “Grassroots Leadership Academy” hosted Alex Epstein on a speaking tour at a number of AFP chapters across America on the “Moral Case for Fossil Fuels – Insight to Action.” Venues and listed dates include the following:

The Alaska event description reads: [62]

“In this presentation, we consider the reasons for the left’s alarmist statements on energy production, and we examine Epstein’s key arguments and explain how a turn away from fossil fuel use would ultimately be disastrous to humanity — especially the poorest of the poor.”

August 2017

According to documents released in 2018 via an open records requestAFP invited Vincent DeVito, a senior energy advisor to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, to one of its events. The invitation was forwarded to DeVito by Jason Funes, a special assistant at the Interior Department’s Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs. DeVito was invited to speak on a panel titled “Give Me Liberty in Energy” focusing on “deregulation in the energy sector.” The panel also featured former AFP vice president for external affairs Chrissy Harbin, who had joined the Department of Energy. Another speaker, Grant Kidwell, was a former AFP policy analyst who went on to work at the American Legislative Exchange Council. DeVito accepted the invitation. [69]

May 8, 2017

Americans for Prosperity, represented by Chrissy Harbin (Vice President of External Affairs), is listed on an open letter to President Donald J. Trump urging him “to withdraw fully from the Paris Climate Treaty and to stop all taxpayer funding of UN global warming programs.” [59]

DeSmog reported that the 40 groups represented in the letter, including the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), The Heartland Institute, and the Heritage Foundation, have received a combined total of millions of dollars from the Koch Brothers, ExxonMobil, and other industry groups. [60]

Analysis also showed that the groups accepted about $80 million through Donors Capital Fund and Donors Trust, two groups that have been confirmed is a key financial source for key U.S-based climate change denial groups. [61]

June 13, 2016

According to documents obtained by The Center for Media and Democracy (CMD/PRWatch), Americans for Prosperity’s Oklahoma chapter was named as a creditor in Peabody Energy’s bankruptcy filings. [53]

While the available bankruptcy documents do not list the scale or dates of funding, they outline Peabody Energy’s financial ties to a large network of groups promoting climate change denial. [54]

Prominent individuals appearing in the documents include climate deniers Willie SoonRichard LindzenRoy Spencer and Richard Berman. The long list of organizations also includes groups such as Americans for ProsperityAmerican Legislative Exchange CouncilCFACTInstitute for Energy ResearchState Policy Network, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and dozens more. [55]

The Guardian also analysed and reported on the Peabody bankruptcy findings: [56]

These groups collectively are the heart and soul of climate denial,” said Kert Davies, founder of the Climate Investigation Center, who has spent 20 years tracking funding for climate denial. “It’s the broadest list I have seen of one company funding so many nodes in the denial machine.”

The company’s filings reveal funding for a range of organisations which have fought Barack Obama’s plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions, and denied the very existence of climate change. […]

Among Peabody’s beneficiaries, the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change has insisted – wrongly – that carbon emissions are not a threat but “the elixir of life” while the American Legislative Exchange Council is trying to overturn Environmental Protection Agency rules cutting emissions from power plants. Meanwhile, Americans for Prosperity campaigns against carbon pricing. The Oklahoma chapter was on the list. […]

The breadth of the groups with financial ties to Peabody is extraordinary. Thinktanks, litigation groups, climate scientists, political organisations, dozens of organisations blocking action on climate all receiving funding from the coal industry,” said Nick Surgey, director of research for the Center for Media and Democracy.

We expected to see some denial money, but it looks like Peabody is the treasury for a very substantial part of the climate denial movement.”

Notable organizations listed in the initial documents include:

Notable individuals named in the initial documents include the following:

June, 2016

Americans for Prosperity (AFP) was among organizations named in a Massachusetts subpoena looking for communications between ExxonMobil and organizations denying climate change, reports The Washington Times. [57]

Organizations named in the Massachusetts subpoena include the following: [57]

This latest inquiry by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey is one in a series of investigations into what ExxonMobil knew about climate change and when, started by a coalition of attorneys general in the US. [58] 

February/March 2016

Americans for Prosperity released an internet ad thanking Governor Pence for rejecting the federal government’s rule to restrict greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

IndyStar reports this was not the first time Americans for Prosperity supported Pence’s position. In their analysis, they also write the ad “ignores the fact that if Indiana does not submit a plan to comply with the federal rule, the Environmental Protection Agency will impose one on the state. So any of the negative effects the group says will result from the Clean Power Plan would come regardless. And the utility industry has told the Indiana Department of Environmental Management it’s better to have the state figure out how to comply.” [50]

The ad ran soon after Pence said that he would not comply with the federal rule, even if it survived legal challenges. [51]

View video below, via Internet Archive:


“When you’re at the crossroads, you have a choice to make. Thank you Governor Pence for making the right choice for Indiana. Thank you for choosing to protect our jobs, keep our power plants open, and ensure our energy is always abundant, affordable, and there when we need it.

You had the courage to say ‘no’ to president Obama’s flawed and expensive energy regulations. Visit and thank Governor Pence for steering Indiana in the right direction.” 

October 2015

Americans for Prosperity said it would spend $750 million in the election—having already spent over $400 million as of February, 2016—and that any efforts to address climate change would put candidates in “political peril” and at a “severe disadvantage.” [44], [45]

July 2015

As reported at the Huffington Post, there is speculation the Koch Brothers have influenced New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s decision to withdraw Jersey from the regional carbon reduction program, known as RGGI. [24]

In a New York Times profile of Christie’s refusal to participate in RGGI, an AFP representative said, “We were exceedingly pleased that the governor got New Jersey out of the R.G.G.I. boondoggle. … It’s something that A.F.P. in New Jersey worked hard on.” According to the Times, the AFP representative “said the move would be sure to help Mr. Christie’s efforts in the Republican primaries, should he run.” [25]

June 4, 2015

The Americans for Prosperity Foundation’s Grassroots Leadership Academy hosted Alex Epstein to discuss “The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels.” [63], [64]

There’s actually no such thing, on a large scale, as solar power and wind power. There’s just solar-coal, solar-gas, and solar-oil because they are dependent sources of energy,” Epstein said. [63]

July 2011

Americans for Prosperity filed a lawsuit in New York’s Supreme Court seeking to reverse a key piece of state action on climate change. 

New York joined the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) in 2005 when former governor George Pataki (R) approved the state’s participation in the program. The Competitive Enterprise Institute also supported the lawsuit, reported the Times Union. [21]

The suit alleged that New York is illegally (coercively) taxing residents by taking part in the market-based 10 Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states’ Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). The AFP complaint also asserts that carbon emissions trading is unconstitutional because it infringes on federal authority to set rules on air pollution and electrical power transmission across states. [22], [23]

June 2011

AFP took their “Running on Empty” campaign tour to Virginia, Michigan, and Ohio with the purpose to “teach” Americans about how AFP believes President Obama is making them pay higher prices at the pump.

AFP claims that Obama is intentionally keeping gas prices high because he refuses to allow oil companies to drill for oil in protected areas of the United States.

March 2011

Americans for Prosperity sent memos to U.S. senators to support an attack on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s lawful regulation of greenhouse gasses under the Clean Air Act. [6]


Americans for Prosperity is behind the “No Climate Tax Pledge” where congress members promised not to spend any federal money to fight climate change without equal tax cuts. According to a 2013 investigative Report on Koch Industries, most pledge signers had also received campaign contributions from Koch Industries. [26]

March 22, 2010

AFP’s 2010 Regulation Reality Tour, featuring Smart cars and “carbon cops” at stops across the country, was launched to obstruct U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulation of major greenhouse gas emitters and undermine the seriousness of climate change. [12]

Citizens observing the tour were given fake citations for mowing their lawns or filling gas tanks, falsely alleging that the EPA would regulate individual consumers. [7]

December 28, 2010

Republican Congressman Fred Upton, described as a “moderate who took global warming seriously until, in 2010, he wanted to be chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee,” co-authored a highly publicized Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal alongside the head of Americans for Prosperity, Tim Phillips. [46]

The WSJ Op-Ed, titled “How Congress Can Stop the EPA‘s Power Grab,” describes the EPA‘s move to regulate carbon dioxide emissions as “an unconstitutional power grab that will kill millions of jobs—unless Congress steps in.” [47]

December 2, 2010

At the 2010 international climate negotiations in Cancun, Mexico, AFP had a live broadcast of its Hot Air Tour featuring Senate climate denier James Inhofe (R-OK) and conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart. Video below:

September 2010

AFP California supported Proposition 23, the ballot attack on state climate legislation that was heavily financed by Koch Industries and other oil companies.

AFP‘s California director has said that the Prop 23 is the group’s “top priority.” [8]

April 2009

AFP led attacks on the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a climate pollution reduction program by pressuring state lawmakers to repeal from the program despite its economic successes. [9]

February 2009

Americans for Prosperity started a nation-wide campaign to stop the senate and congress from passing President Obama’s $827 Million Stimulus Plan. The key to AFP’s campaign was a petition which stated:

“Congress should not enact an expensive spending bill under the pretense of stimulus or recovery. We cannot spend our way to prosperity, and such an expansion of the federal government will put a crushing burden on taxpayers in the long-term.”

The “No Stimulus” campaign did not prevent the bill from passing, although the campaign were lauded by Senator James Inhofe for bringing awareness to the public. [10]

April 2008

AFP embarked on a nation wide campaign against global warming titled the “Hot Air Tour.” AFP traveled in a hot air balloon to forty cities in the United States and held events in those cities. 

The tour carried the slogan, “Global Warming Alarmism: Lost Jobs, Higher Taxes, Less Freedom.”

During the Hot Air Tour, AFP president Tim Phillips said that AFP‘s purpose was to prevent cap-and-trade and other climate change legislation from being passed in government. He declared if any cap and trade legislation were passed it would create a massive tax burden on American citizens, kill the economy, and harmfully infringe on personal freedoms. 

In a public address, Tim Phillips stated there would be a $1.2 Trillion tax increase if a cap-and-trade bill was passed and that 1.2-1.8 million jobs would be lost with cap-and-trade legislation. He cited the “American Capital Formation Foundation” as his source. While the American Capital Formation Foundation does not in fact exist, the American Council for Capital Formation (ACCF) does, and it has consistently lobbied in Washington against green initiatives, especially the Kyoto protocol, claiming these actions would have severe effects on the national economy.

On its website, the ACCF calls itself “one of the most influential organizations operating behind the scenes in the Washington policymaking arena.” According to ExxonSecrets, between 1998-2006, the American Council for Capital Formation received $1,674,523 from ExxonMobil. The group has also received funding from Koch foundations. [11], [20]

Americans for Prosperity Contact & Location

As of May 2016 the listed contact address and phone number for Americans for Prosperity was as follows:  [52]


Independent Women’s Forum

Americans for Prosperity once maintained an official affiliation with the Independent Women’s Forum (IWF).  

A 2003 IWF press release said that “while the two organizations will share leadership and senior staff and be co-located in IWF’s new suite of offices in Washington, D.C., each will be a separate organization with its own board of directors.” [32], [33]

The former president of the Independent Women’s Forum, Nancy Pfotenhauer, also acted as the president of Americans for Prosperity, but that arrangement ended in July 2005. She is currently (as of 2016) a director on the AFP board. [34]

According to Pfotenhauer’s profile at Americans for Prosperity, “She is the former President and C.E.O. of the Independent Women’s Forum (IWF), serving in that position from 2000-05. She was Vice Chairman of IWF’s Board of Directors from 2005-07. Ms. Pfotenhauer joined IWF after leaving Koch Industries, the largest privately held company in the country with more than $80 billion in assets, where she was Director of the Washington, D.C. office.” [35]

AFP listed the following “featured partners” as late as 2012: [31]

  • The Heartland Institute’s International Conference on Climate Change
  • Internet Freedom Coalition

Internet Freedom Coalition

Internet Freedom Coalition members also include Americans for Tax Reform, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Frontiers of Freedom, the Independent Women’s Forum, the Reason Foundation, among others. [30]

Social Media


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