by Max Brantley
The Arkansas affiliate of Americans for Prosperity, the Koch brothers-financed lobby for low taxes, light regulation and other corporate conservative desires, is going all in to own the state senator from Benton County.
Teresa Oelke of Rogers, the paid leader of AFP in Arkansas, already had played a significant hand in the campaign of Bart Hester, challenging Rep. Tim Summers for an open Senate seat. Oelke's family, the Crosslands, have poured personal and corporate money — at least $37,000 — into the Hester campaign.
And now Oelke's AFP group has announced it will be purchasing an undisclosed amount of TV time hammering Summers for voting to send a sales tax increase and a diesel tax increase to voters, both for highway repair and construction if passed. The diesel tax election won't happen. Truckers, who'd initially backed the increase to pay for road work, said it couldn't pass, but they still scored a sales tax break included in the deal. In the Koch/Oelke world, the people should not be allowed to vote on charging truckers to fix roads they destroy or to choose to expand their four-lane system. See, if we'd just stop spending money on medical care and food for the poor, we'd have all the money we needed for highways.
For good measure, AFP likens Summers to Barack Obama (you know, the swarthy Muslim who lives in Washington). It's dishonest stuff, but you'd expect no less from AFP. The greatest thing of all is that this is issue advertising. It is not direct advocacy. Thus, thanks to inadequate disclosure laws, the public will play hell ever knowing exactly how much AFP spent, where they spent it and who provided the money. This is a nearly perfect world for the Kochs and the U.S. Supreme Court, with its elevation of corporation above human beings.