AFP fails the straight-face test

Updated
 
The AFP's non-partisan bus
The AFP's non-partisan bus

The gubernatorial recall election in Wisconsin is now less than a week away, and polls show a tight race between Gov. Scott Walker (R) and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (D). With this in mind, the Wisconsin chapter of the Koch-financed Americans for Prosperity is launching a 10-city bus tour this week, which will feature AFP national president Tim Phillips rallying conservatives in the state.

That’s not exactly a surprise – the Koch brothers, like so many far-right figures, consider Walker’s race critically important – but the amusing part is Americans for Prosperity’s explanation for this week’s bus tour.

Given the tour’s timing and billing, any reasonable person would view it as a statewide drive to get out the vote for Walker and his GOP allies in the June 5 election. Not AFP.

AFP’s Wisconsin director, Luke Hilgemann, says the bus tour has nothing to do the recall elections. “We’re not dealing with any candidates, political parties, or ongoing races,” Hilgemann told the Hudson, Wisconsin, Patch news site.

Got that? Just days before a closely-watched statewide election in which Scott Walker’s job is on the line, an allied group is launching a 10-city bus tour – and the group wants you to believe this has nothing to do with Walker’s recall race. Seriously.

It’s simply a remarkable coincidence. AFP’s leaders just happened to have some free time on their hands, stumbled upon an available bus, and thought they’d make 10 carefully-selected campaign stops visits around Wisconsin. And wouldn’t you know it, the Illinois chapter of Americans for Prosperity also happens to be busing in conservative activists to Wisconsin this week for pre-election canvassing, but we’re supposed to believe that’s unrelated to the recall election, too.

As Andy Kroll explained, AFP doesn’t have much of a choice – the far-right interest group, which launched a “Stand With Walker” campaign last year, is technically a nonprofit organization, and has to be very careful about intervening on Walker’s behalf.

But if there’s anyone, anywhere, who seriously believes the group’s pre-election bus tour this week is unrelated to any “ongoing races,” I’d like to meet him or her. I can offer them a great deal on a lovely bridge.

Americans For Prosperity, Scott Walker and Wisconsin

AFP fails the straight-face test

Updated