Mail call

5/11/2014

All Kansans should consider sources, agendas behind ads.

All Kansans should consider sources, agendas behind ads.

Another barrage of off-base political mailers is in the works.

Americans for Prosperity (AFP), the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), Kansas Chamber and billionaire Koch brothers have made political inroads in Kansas through such deliberately misleading ads. In 2012, they filled Kansans' mailboxes with last-minute postcards designed to take down state lawmakers who challenged their radical legislative pursuits.

Promoting a political agenda is one thing. Distorting the truth to gain an advantage — as the AFP-ALEC-Kansas Chamber-Koch alliance does — is another.

For example, they like to link anything they oppose to controversial Obamacare. If not so diabolical, the tactic would be downright laughable.

And now, many Kansans have received a postcard from a group calling itself the Kansas Senior Consumer Alliance, and run by the sister of the chairman of a Kansas Chamber closely aligned with AFP.

But with more Kansans catching on to the AFP scheme, AFP representatives tried to deflect involvement in the mail campaign. Jeff Glendening, AFP state director, finally did acknowledge dealing with the new group's founder, after initially denying as much.

The postcard aims to scare seniors into believing renewable energy standards — policies the AFP-ALEC-Kansas Chamber-Koch faction opposes — have generated soaring utility costs, when facts prove otherwise.

The Renewable Portfolio Standard that AFP and its allies failed to repeal in the recent legislative session has delivered welcome jobs and capital investment, and without skyrocketing utility costs. (Most rate increases have been tied to upgrading coal plants to meet environmental standards.)

Alan Cobb, the registered lobbyist for the "senior consumer alliance" who previously served as AFP state director and lobbied for Koch Industries, at least was right about one thing.

"Facts are facts. People can decide on their own, the individual voter, how they want to interpret them," Cobb said.

Kansans should indeed weigh the facts — which regularly elude AFP and its allies — and also consider sources of political ads.

In 2012, many Kansans were caught off guard by AFP's Washington, D.C.-style ad campaigns. As it all was part of a new political era in the Sunflower State, voters had best take time to understand agendas and the groups behind them.

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