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koch brothers

Charles (left) and David Koch

Charles and David Koch have apparently conducted their own autopsy of the 2012 presidential election, during which the conservative billionaires' primary political arm, Americans for Prosperity, spent hundreds of millions in an attempt to thwart President Barack Obama’s reelection.

An AFP memo to donors that landed on the desk of Politico’s Ken Vogel laid out the strategy the group intends to pursue return control of the Senate to conservative Republicans this fall. It comes with a conservative price tag estimate of $125 million.

"AFP’s $125 million projected 2014 budget alone would also exceed the total 2012 fundraising hauls of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, National Republican Congressional Committee, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee or the National Republican Senatorial Committee," writes Vogel.

While the plan aims to put more boots on the ground to counter a superior Democratic ground game and improve data-driven organizing efforts, it took Salon's Simon Maloy to highlight its most challenging aspect: Convincing Americans that the policies AFP pushes don't screw the poor.

“If the presidential election told us anything, it’s that Americans place a great importance on taking care of those in need and avoiding harm to the weak,” the memo says.

It goes on: “We consistently see that Americans in general are concerned that free-market policy — and its advocates — benefit the rich and powerful more than the most vulnerable of society. We must correct this misconception.”

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So expect plenty of commercials about how the GOP wants to protect those struggling to make ends meet from the tyranny of the nanny state.

Maloy writes: "Now, I should be clear that the Kochs view this as a messaging problem, not a problem rooted in policy. They’re still firmly wedded to their beliefs that government assistance programs engender laziness and that the federal government should be slashed down to just the army and the patent office. What they’re trying to do is find a way to convince the less fortunate that cutting taxes for billionaires and blocking minimum wage increases will lead to the sort of shared prosperity that will lift them out of economic hardship."

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Steven Elbow joined The Capital Times in 1999 and has covered law enforcement in addition to city, county and state government. He has also worked for the Portage Daily Register and has written for the Isthmus weekly newspaper in Madison.