Koch Network shaken by case scandals, donor withdrawal, and discrimination proceedings

In this February 26, 2007 file photo, Koch Industries Head of Charles Koch enthusiastically talks about his new book on market-based management.

Borader | Tribunnews Services | Getty Images

The Americans for Prosperity, a libertarian political advocate backed by billionaire businessman Charles Koch, has involved extramarital negotiations and a major donor outflow involving retired leaders while the organization is undergoing major changes. I was shaken by.

CNBC also learned that Americans for Prosperity, based in Arlington, Virginia, has more than 3 million volunteers in 35 states, and recently quietly filed a lawsuit alleging gender discrimination and retaliation at the Group’s North Carolina branch. It was resolved to.

In response to this story, Group spokesman Bill Riggs found a “friendly solution” in the proceedings to CNBC and made the organization’s work environment “respectful, rewarding and inclusive.” He said he defended.

This week, Tim Phillips announced that he would resign as president for the prosperity of Americans after 15 years of command, citing what he called “challenge personal problems.”

According to people familiar with the matter, Phillips had an out-of-marriage relationship with a Virginia-based Republican executive. These people refused to be named to talk freely about private matters.

The allegations of the case arose after the prosperity of the Americans announced that they had conducted an internal investigation of Phillips.

This group did not confirm or deny to CNBC what they discovered during the Philips investigation.Instead, it provided the same statement They made the Washington Examiner the first to report that Phillips had resigned.

Phillips said in a group statement: “This morning I announced my resignation as president for the prosperity of Americans to focus on some challenging personal issues that require careful attention. Although it is difficult to leave this organization. , Do it. Now it’s the best interests for everyone. “

Philips did not return a recurring request for comments from CNBC.

“The underlying issue was personal in nature, but it was a matter of integrity that violated our principles,” said a person within AFP who is familiar with this issue.

“AFP’s internal investigation did not find any financial misconduct. This is a personal matter and, to our knowledge, did not affect anyone else inside AFP. “He said.

This person chose to speak on condition of anonymity in order to openly discuss the wide range of themes that Phillips allegedly did.

Donors and board members leave

After Phillips left, only two board members were listed on the 501 (c) (4) nonprofit website, including Mark Holden, who was listed as chairman. increase. Their CEO, Emily Seidel, is also a member of the board of directors. AFP’s 2020990 tax disclosure lists at least six directors prior to resignation.

In a previously unreported internal announcement at the end of last year, the organization said two directors had resigned from AFP. Frayda Levy, one of the resigned directors, was previously listed as chair of the board on the tax disclosure form. Jim Miller, tie He has resigned from the AFP Board of Directors as a citizen of Koch for a healthy economy.

According to the announcement, Levy will continue to be a donor partner and will be actively participating in AFP’s New Jersey branch.

Coordinating the political message during the administration of former President Donald Trump has left some major donors out of the group.

AFP has been supported by Koch and Republican donors for over 15 years.

The 990 tax return in 2020 shows that the Group raised over $ 58 million that year and had net worth of about $ 3 million by the end of the year. AFP, like other similar nonprofits, does not publicly disclose the names of donors. It ended up with more than $ 64 million in revenue compared to more than $ 54 million received in 2019.

Another Koch-backed group, the Stand Together Chamber of Commerce, has revealed that it has donated $ 40 million to Americans for prosperity in the form of 2020 990.

A group spokesman told CNBC that they are preparing for the upcoming 2022 elections.

“AFP has grown into a world-class organization with hundreds of staff in 35 state chapters and more donors and resources than ever before. In 2020, AFP and AFP Action will be to date. We have participated in and won many more races, and we are fully hoping to exceed those numbers in 2022, “Riggs said in an email statement.

During the administration of former President Barack Obama, the group placed an ad targeting his signature medical law, the Affordable Care Act, which became known as Obama Care.

The group also won big victories under Trump, including tax law amendments and the appointment of three Supreme Court judges openly endorsed by AFP.

However, AFP also clashed with Trump on trade issues such as the implementation of tariffs imposed by the then president.

And since the inauguration of the Trump administration in 2017, AFP has publicly stated that it can work with the Democratic Party as well as the Republican Party.

However, during the 2020 elections, the group’s related but separate Super PAC supported most of the Republican candidates at the federal level, saying. data From a nonpartisan responsive political center. This year, we helped Glenn Youngkin, who defeated Democrat Terry McAuliffe in the Virginia Governor’s election.

Some donors I have before Supported Koch-backed entities It indicates that we are not interested in supporting groups linked to AFP or Koch in the future.

Wealthy businessmen such as Randy Kendrick, Diane Hendricks, David Humphreys, Bob Rudy and Chris Ruffer have been briefed on the issue and said they have immediate plans to contribute to the Koch-backed group. Proposed to allies that there is no.

I couldn’t ask Kendrick for comment.

Other donors did not respond to emails asking for comment.

Workplace discrimination proceedings

The AFP controversy is not limited to the withdrawal of Philips and some donors.

Last year, former AFP employee Anna Beavon Gravely sued the group in North Carolina court for sexism, retaliation, and illegal dismissal.

An AFP spokesman said the parties had amicably settled the proceedings.

“We have reached amicable resolutions on each issue. AFP is committed to a respectful, rewarding and comprehensive work environment,” said Riggs.

Grabley claimed she wasn’t promoted to North Carolina Governor in 2018, despite the clear qualifications given to the inexperienced man, according to a copy of the complaint obtained by CNBC.

The lawsuit eventually resulted in a serious dismissal of the same man who got the job she was aiming for.

The complaint is aimed at Philip Joffrion, formerly AFP’s regional director. The 2016 Group’s public 990 form lists Jofflion, and that year paid just over $ 125,000. He is not listed in the subsequent form.

According to the proceedings, Joffrion was the official employment manager for jobs, including the group’s North Carolina mayor, and Gravley wanted to be permanently secured after fulfilling his acting abilities.

Significantly, “I noticed the existence of complaints before it sounded like sexism or sexual harassment,” the proceedings said.

The complaint emphasized the 2017 supper allegedly ridiculing Gravry for having a “strict” personality and criticizing her for being “too focused on the process.”

According to the proceedings, Joflion later told Gravry that one of the reasons she couldn’t get a job was because of concerns related to her humility.

A proceeding also refers to another class proceeding filed against an organization for discrimination in the workplace.

It is unknown where the other proceedings alleged were filed. The current former AFP employee, who is said to be part of the complaint, is based in Arkansas.

Immediately after Gravley’s proceeding was filed, AFP moved to forward the complaint to a federal court in North Carolina.

After the case was transferred there, AFP said in court filings that the group “especially denied it.” [Gravely] Exposed to discriminatory or retaliatory acts. “

Court filings show that Grabley dismissed her proceeding “with prejudice” in late September, with the consent of AFP.

Such dismissals, which prohibit plaintiffs from filing the same type of proceedings against defendants, are routinely made when the parties reach a settlement of out-of-court claims.

Strictly refused to comment on CNBC. Her lawyer did not return a request for comment.

Koch Network shaken by case scandals, donor withdrawal, and discrimination proceedings

Source link Koch Network shaken by case scandals, donor withdrawal, and discrimination proceedings

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