Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jack Conway says the growing influence of a national conservative 501(c)(4) group in Kentucky suggests that out-of-state donors will try to help Republicans gain control of the state House.
Americans for Prosperity was founded in 2004, and was helmed by David Koch of the billionaire, right-wing Koch brothers fame. The group and its network of undisclosed donors spent $40 million in 2010 to wrest control of the U.S. House from Democrats.
With today’s announcement that the group has hired former Kentucky House Republican Caucus political director Julia Crigler as director for its Kentucky chapter, Conway says he’s concerned that the network of “dark” campaign money will warp Kentucky politics.
“I don’t think we ought to let in Kentucky state politics happen what’s happened at the federal level, because people raise money for Senate campaign or House campaigns, and all of a sudden the corporate interests come in in the end and outspend what the individuals raised, and they treat the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives like it’s members are just nothing more than pawns in a larger corporate game,” he said.
Conway also says Kentuckians should be upset that the Koch brothers are out to “buy” the election.
"The Koch brothers have decided they want to write one big check from Texas or wherever they are, and flip the Kentucky House,” Conway said. “That ought to make Kentuckians mad. Because if they can come in here and buy the House, it doesn't belong to the people of Kentucky, Republican or Democrat."
So far, Conway is the lone Democratic candidate running for governor in 2015, and says he plans to use his own PAC to combat the tide of money that is sure to pour into Kentucky this fall and the next. He did not rule out accepting money from super PACs that would support his campaign.