Tim Phillips

Timothy R. Phillips

Credentials

Background

Phillips is the former president of the non-profit organizations Americans for Prosperity (AFP) and Americans for Prosperity Foundation. He resigned in 2021 after AFP investigated him for “a matter of integrity that violated” the group’s “core principles,” the Washington Examiner reported.2David M. Drucker. “‘Matter of integrity’: Top official at Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity resigns amid troubling conduct,” Washington Examiner, December 1, 2021. Archived December 14, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/LB6Kz

After Phillips took over as president of the AFP in 2006, the organization expanded to over 17 states and increased its membership to 700,000. In 2007, Phillips earned $250,000 as President of AFP.3Americans for Prosperity IRS Form 990 for 2007 (PDF). Retrieved from ThinkProgress.

Phillips’ entire career has been spent in conservative circles. He started out by running U.S. Congressman, Bob Goodlatte’s (R-VA) first campaign, in 1992. Phillips then served as Goodlatte’s chief of staff until 1996.4Tim Phillips,” Americans for Prosperity. Archived February 27, 2012. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/j0aEm

Americans for Prosperity (AFP) was started by the oil billionaire David Koch and is the third largest recipient of funding from the Koch Family Foundations only 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).5Aggregated Grants from the Charles G. Koch, David H. Koch, and Claude R. Lambe Foundations,” Media Transparency. Archived May 1, 2009. Archive URL:https://archive.ph/zzRMR

Americans for Prosperity is also connected to oil giant ExxonMobil. 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.6ExxonSecrets Factsheet: Citizens for A Sound Economy and CSE Educational Foundation, CSE. Archived July 1, 2011.

Americans for Prosperity has been active in the Tea Party movement, and has encouraged and sponsored AFP members and Teabaggers to go to Town Hall Meetings.7Townhall,” Americans for Prosperity. Archived November 7, 2009. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/pAsxU

A leaked memo from FreedomWorks, a sister organization to Americans for Prosperity, offers a guide for how Teabaggers can infiltrate and “rock” town hall meetings by harassing democratic members of congress.8Lee Fang. “Right-Wing Harassment Strategy Against Dems Detailed In Memo: ‘Yell,’ ‘Stand Up And Shout Out,’ ‘Rattle Him’,” ThinkProgress, July 31, 2009.

The memo instructs the Teabaggers to artificially inflate their numbers by spreading out in the front half of the hall. According to the memo, Teabaggers should be disruptive early and often by yelling out and challenging the representative’s statements. The memo further states, the goal is not to have an intelligent debate, but to “rattle [the representatives, get [them] off [their] agenda.”

Phillips and Americans for Prosperity have also staunchly fought against President Barack Obama’s Health Care Reform Plan. Americans for Prosperity started Patients First—an organization designed to prevent health care reform legislation from being passed. This health care project uses many of Phillips’ lobbying skills—call centers, internet generated petitions, a national bus tour, advocating AFP members to go to Town Hall Meetings, and creating television ads.9Action Center,”JoinPatientsFirst.com. Archived July 31, 2009. Archive URL:https://archive.ph/k65qM

In 1997, Tim Phillips joined forces with Ralph Reed to found the public relations firm, Century Strategies, as well as the marketing firm, Millennium Marketing.

Century Strategies offers business consulting, political and campaign consulting, and direct mail services. The company chooses not to release its list of clients. However, according to National Journal, Century Strategies has “raked in millions of dollars by mounting grassroots lobbying drives and other campaigns—as well as doing some inside-the-Beltway advocacy—for two dozen or so Fortune 100 companies and lesser-known enterprises.”10Bill Berkowitz. “Ralph & the Rabbi: a thinner Reed?”, Media Transparency, May 22, 2008. Archived June 30, 2007.

Stance on Climate Change

Phillips has lobbied hard against anthropogenic global warming. AFP has conducted the “Hot Air Tour“—a national tour championing the voice against global warming hysteria. Likewise, the AFP has fought against the Waxman-Markey Bill and cap-and-trade legislation. AFP runs a website, No Cl!mate Tax which allows American citizens to send a message to federal and state lawmakers urging them to sign the No Climate Tax Pledge.11Americans for Prosperity Applauds North Carolina State Representative Mark Hilton” (Press Release), Americans For Prosperity, May 12, 2009. Archived March 29, 2010. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/9e3ZY

The site declared cap-and-trade to be the largest tax increase in history.12Don’t Use Climate Change to Hide Tax Hikes!No Climate Tax. Archived January 3, 2012. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/7ZG9K It allowed citizens to calculate how much “global warming alarmism and cap-and-trade legislation” will cost their family by entering what state they live in, how much they pay for a gallon of gas, their monthly electric bill, and their monthly natural gas bill.13Cap-and-Trade Cost Calculator,” No Climate Tax. Archived November 28, 2011. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/nDCj9

Americans For Prosperity also led the charge to oust Van Jones, the Special Advisor for Green Jobs at the White House, from his position. In an article published on FOX News, Phil Kerpen, the director of policy for Americans for Prosperity outlined how he initiated the Van Jones ouster—the crux of Kerpen’s article is that Van Jones is a radical communist, whose “Green Collar Economy” is all part of an attempt to achieve radical ends.14Phil Kerpen. “How Van Jones Happened and What We Need to Do Next,” FOXNews.com, September 6, 2009. Archived March 22, 2014. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/Ji0wg

Key Quotes

“If you look at where the situation was three years ago and where it is today, there’s been a dramatic turnaround. Most of these candidates have figured out that the science has become political. We’ve made great headway. What it means for candidates on the Republican side is, if you … buy into green energy or you play footsie on this issue, you do so at your political peril. The vast majority of people who are involved in the [Republican] nominating process—the conventions and the primaries—are suspect of the science. And that’s our influence. Groups like Americans for Prosperity have done it.”15Coral Davenport. “Heads in the Sand,” The Atlantic, December 4, 2011. Archived Dec 14, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/op0Pi

Key Actions

December 2021

Tim Phillips resigned as president of Americans for Prosperity following an investigation by AFP into what the group told the Washington Examiner was behavior that was “incompatible with our organization’s values.”16David M. Drucker. “‘Matter of integrity’: Top official at Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity resigns amid troubling conduct,” Washington Examiner, December 1, 2021. Archived December 14, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/LB6Kz

“While the underlying issues involved are personal in nature, Tim’s actions violate our core principles and make it impossible for him to continue in this role,” Mark Holden, board chairman of Americans for Prosperity, said in a statement shared first with the Washington Examiner. “This has caught us all by surprise. But we believe Tim’s departure is necessary for him, his loved ones, and for AFP.”

AFP officials did not detail the specific actions by Phillips that led to them seeking his resignation, however sources described it as a “matter of integrity that violated” AFP’s “core principles.”

CNBC reported on allegations: “Phillips is said to have had what’s described as an extramarital affair with a Virginia-based Republican official, according to multiple people familiar with the matter. These people declined to be named in order to speak freely about a private matter.”17Brian Schwartz and Dan Mangan. “Influential Koch network rocked by an alleged affair scandal, donor departures and a discrimination lawsuit,” CNBC, December 3, 2021. Archived December 17, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/KvEnz

Following Phillips’ departure from AFP, two board members were listed on the group’s website, including chairman Mark Holden and CEO listed as Emily Seidel.18Brian Schwartz and Dan Mangan. “Influential Koch network rocked by an alleged affair scandal, donor departures and a discrimination lawsuit,” CNBC, December 3, 2021. Archived December 17, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/KvEnz

May 18, 2016

Tim Phillips was a signatory to a full page color advertisement in The New York Times19CEI Runs “Abuse of Power” Ad In New York Times,” Competitive Enterprise Institute, May 18, 2016. Archived May 31, 2016. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/DF7gW titled “Abuse of Power” (PDF) sponsored by The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI).  The ad serves as an open letter from 43 signatories including organizations and individuals in response to  New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, U.S. Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude Walker, and the coalition of Attourneys General investigating groups denying man-made climate change. 20“Abuse of Power: All Americans have the right to support causes they believe in” (PDF), Competitive Enterprise Institute. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

Attempts to intimidate CEI and our allies and silence our policy research are unconstitutional,” said CEI president Kent Lassman. “The First Amendment protects us and everyone has a duty to respect it – even state attorneys general.  CEI will continue to fight for all Americans to support the causes in which they believe.”21CEI Runs “Abuse of Power” Ad In New York Times,” Competitive Enterprise Institute, May 18, 2016. Archived May 31, 2016. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/DF7gW

The Competitive Enterprise Institute received a subpoena from AG Walker on April 7, 2016. On April 20, CEI filed an objection to the subpoena calling it “offensive,” “un-American,” and “unlawful,” and are contending that AG Walker is “violating CEI’s First Amendment rights.”22CEI Runs “Abuse of Power” Ad In New York Times,” Competitive Enterprise Institute, May 18, 2016. Archived May 31, 2016. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/DF7gW

The “freedom of speech” argument was echoed by ExxonMobil’s legal team, as well as numerous other conservative groups including the Pacific Legal Foundation, and Heritage Foundation and the recently-formed Free Speech in Science Project, a group created by the same lawyers who defended the Competitive Enterprise Institute in the past.23Steve Horn. “Exxon’s Lawyer in Climate Science Probe Has History Helping Big Tobacco and NFL Defend Against Health Claims,” DeSmog, May 10, 2016.

The CEI letter lists the following signatories:

2000–2006

In 2005 and 2006, Ralph Reed and Century Strategies were embroiled in a federal lobbying scandal. In 2000, Century Strategies was contracted by lobbyist Jack Abramoff to generate anti-lottery grassroots support to in order to help promote and maintain the business interests of several of Abramoff’s clients.24Susan Schmidt and James V. Grimaldi. “How a Lobbyist Stacked the Deck,” The Washington Post, October 16, 2005. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/uEdqm

Century Strategies was hired by Abramoff to organize a coalition to block Native American tribes in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas from creating casinos—the proposed casinos would drive gamblers away from the casinos Abramoff’s clients owned.25Susan Schmidt. “Insiders Worked Both Sides of Gaming Issue,” The Washington Post, September 26, 2004. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/az6xa

Reed, who has publicly called gambling a “cancer on the American politic26Jack Newfield. “Ralph Reed’s Gamble,” The Nation, June 24, 2004. Archived December 14, 2021. Archive URL:https://archive.ph/oPseb did not want to have any direct connection with this matter, so, he had his fees laundered through two companies. According to the Washington Post, Century Strategies was paid as much as $4 million for its work opposing several tribal casinos in southern states from 2001 to 2003.27Susan Schmidt and James V. Grimaldi. “How a Lobbyist Stacked the Deck,” The Washington Post, October 16, 2005. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/uEdqm

Century Strategies also provided services for another gambling client of Abramoff’s, e-Lottery—an internet gambling company. Century Strategies, whose key figures are prominent conservatives, was dispatched to convince conservative members of congress, as well as religious groups that the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act was going was not going to prevent gambling, but, in fact, was actually going to expand legalized gambling.28Susan Schmidt and James V. Grimaldi. “How a Lobbyist Stacked the Deck,” The Washington Post, October 16, 2005. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/uEdqm American Marketing and Publishing, Inc., led a massive mail-out campaign in key voting constituencies. American Marketing is a company founded by Robert Randolph, the president of Century Strategies marketing subsidiary, Millennium Marketing.29Our Team: Robert Randolph,” Century Strategies. Archived August 7, 2011. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/WWywI

Century Strategies fees for this project were laundered through the Faith and Family Alliance. The Faith and Family Alliance is a political advocacy group that was founded by Tim Phillips. The money was laundered in three steps: cheques for the e-Lottery project were written out to the Americans for Tax Reform foundation; Americans for Tax Reform would then send a cheque to the Faith and Family Alliance; finally, the identical amount would be transferred from the Faith and Family Alliance to Century Strategies. Robin Vanderwall, the director of the Faith and Family Alliance has stated he “was operating a shell.”30Susan Schmidt and James V. Grimaldi. “How a Lobbyist Stacked the Deck,” The Washington Post, October 16, 2005. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/uEdqm

In 2006, Jack Abramoff was convicted of fraud, tax evasion, and conspiracy to bribe public officials. Reed has stated that he had no direct knowledge of Abramoff’s clients or their interests, and that Century Strategies’ “efforts were designed to stop casino gambling, pure and simple.”

2000

Century Strategies worked on the “Bush for President” campaign.31Our Team: Timothy R. Phillips,”Century Strategies. Archived June 3, 2004. Archive URL:https://archive.ph/uXwT1 According to the Century Strategies, Phillips “spearheaded the direct mail, telemarketing, coalition building and strategic services” for George W. Bush’s campaign against John McCain in the 2000 primaries.32Lee Fang. “Tim Phillips, The Man Behind The ‘Americans For Prosperity’ Corporate Front Group Factory, ThinkProgress, May 29, 2009. Archived December 14, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/9eIr7

During the primaries, McCain’s presidential campaign was unraveled by an anonymous public relations operation that spread false rumors about John McCain and his family. The operation tarnished McCain’s reputation by sending leaflets, emails, and telephone calls to South Carolina constituents explaining to them how McCain’s adopted child from Bangladesh was really an illegitimate child he fathered with a black woman. McCain’s team never uncovered who was behind the campaign.33Susan Schmidt. “Ralph Reed’s New Role,” The Washington Post, January 10, 2008. Archived December 14, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/7ql1Z

Also in 2000, Phillips was hired by Virginia Senator Stephen Martin to manage a direct mail campaign against Eric Cantor in the Republican primary for a Virginia’s congressional seat. It was during this campaign that Tim Phillips set up the Faith and Family Alliance.  The Faith and Family Alliance then proceeded to conduct an anti-semitic smear campaign on Eric Cantor—the organization sent out thousands of pamphlets and made phone calls which stated that Cantor did not represent “Virginia values,” and that his opponent was the “only Christian in the contest.” Phillips claims to have no knowledge this smear campaign.34John Batchelor. “Cantor Survived Abramoff, Reed, Norquist,” The American Spectator, January 13, 2006. Archived December 14, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/MHBBK

Tim Phillips is also associated with helping to engineer political victory for Senator Saxby Chambliss during the 2002 senatorial election. During this election, a Chambliss television ad aired which claimed incumbent Democrat Senator Max Cleland was soft on national security by showing images of Osama Bin Laden, and then blasting his voting record on domestic security.35Chambliss Ad (Cleland),” YouTube Video. Uploaded by user SoThisIsWashington, August 2, 2006.

In a 1995 speech at a Christian Coalition conference, Tim Phillips, then a strategist for Rep. Goodlatte, told members of the Christian Coalition that were interested in running for school board positions to use “stealth tactics to find the most ‘hard-core’ people aligned to conservative values.” Phillips recommended inventing a phony polling firm. This false surveying group would then phone residents and ask loaded questions about abortion, homosexuality, and school prayer. Those respondents that gave the most desired responses would be reminded to vote on election day.36Bob Boston. “Christian Coalition’s claims of nonpartisanship are deceitful,” Freedom Writer via PublicEye.org, June 1996. Archived December 14, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/adQwC

1998

In 1998 Jack Abramoff hired Century Strategies to pressure Congress to vote against legislation that would have made the U.S. commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands subject to U.S. federal wage and worker safety laws. The legislation came as a response to a federal report which found that Chinese women in the Northern Mariana Islands were subjected to forced abortions, as well as forced prostitution in the local sex-tourism industry.37Thomas B. Edsall. “Another Stumble for Ralph Reed’s Beleaguered Campaign,” The Washington Post, May 29, 2006. Archived December 14, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/hdKw7

However, in the mail-out campaign Phillips conducted to oppose the legislation, he stated that Chinese workers “are exposed to the teachings of Jesus Christ, [and many] convert to the Christian faith and return to China with Bibles in hand.” 38Lee Fang. “Tim Phillips, The Man Behind The ‘Americans For Prosperity’ Corporate Front Group Factory, ThinkProgress, May 29, 2009. Archived December 14, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/9eIr7

1997–2001

Century Strategies’ first big client was Enron—the $60 billion energy company that imploded over-night under shady business operations and fraudulent accounting. From 1997 to 2001 Enron and Century Strategies shared a business relationship.

In 1997, Phillips and Reed were contracted by Enron to mobilize “religious leaders and pro-family groups” to generate support for energy deregulation in Congress and in state assemblies. Phillips and Reed used multiple mediums including advertising on conservative talk shows, placing op-eds from community leaders in major newspapers, and having major political campaign contributors to press Congress to pass the favourable legislation. It is estimated Enron paid Century Strategies $380,000 for its services.39Joe Stephens. “Bush 2000 Adviser Offered To Use Clout to Help Enron,” The Washington Post, February 17, 2002. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/2se6G

Affiliations

Social Media

Publications

According to a search of Google Scholar, Tim Phillips (or Timothy R. Phillips) has never published an article in a peer-reviewed journal on the subject of climate.

Other Resources

Resources

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