NPR logo Protecting A Republican Incumbent

Americans for Prosperity

Protecting A Republican Incumbent

In North Carolina, where Republican Sen. Elizabeth Dole looks newly vulnerable to a national Democratic surge, conservative outside groups are coming to her defense — predictably, by attacking her Democratic challenger. The groups' ads don't even mention Dole.

Freedom's Watch has a new TV ad painting the Democratic candidate as a tax-and-spender: "Kay Hagan voted for over 50 higher taxes and fees — on income, birth, medical care, cars, food, even death," the ad says. "Hagan's budgets grew government over 40 percent, almost doubled state debt, and brought economic growth to a halt."

Meanwhile, Americans for Prosperity recently extended a radio ad buy that also hits Hagan on taxes, and adds in criticism over her stance on offshore drilling.

"You know that feeling you get when you fill your tank and your jaw drops when you see the costs," the ad says. "Thank Kay Hagan if those eye-popping gas prices continue for years." Listen here.

Americans for Prosperity has more than passing interest in drilling. Its foundation's chair and founder is David Koch of Koch Industries, which runs oil refining and pipeline companies.

Another Americans for Prosperity Foundation board member is Richard Fink, a Koch executive who serves as a director of the refining subsidiary. Fink helps control AFP's purse strings. He is president of the Koch-affiliated Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation, which gave AFP's foundation $2.2 million from 2005-06, according to the Foundation Center.