David and Charles Koch (AP Photos)
David and Charles Koch (AP Photos)
David and Charles Koch (AP Photos)

PHILIP ELLIOTT, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The nation’s largest labor federation took aim Thursday at the conservative Koch brothers in ads designed to highlight the billionaire industrialists’ political clout and to gin up liberal voters.

The AFL-CIO campaign features sisters named Joyce and Karen Koch, who aren’t related to big-spending Charles and David Koch. The women criticize the Koch brothers and their network of conservative groups such as Americans for Prosperity and Generation Opportunity.

The conservative Kochs are a frequent target of Democrats and are frequently vilified by liberals.

“We’re not related to the Koch brothers, those right-wing billionaires,” Joyce Koch says over a peppy soundtrack in the AFL-CIO ads.

“We’re just two average women who have raised families and have worked hard all our lives,” Karen Koch adds.

The ads are similar to Taco Bell’s recent ads featuring customers named Ronald McDonald proclaiming their affinity for the chain’s waffle taco.

The 30-second spot previews themes voters should expect to see in future AFL-CIO ads: Heavy political spending from outside billionaires corrupt the system, and those rich titans oppose environmental and fair-wage standards for personal gain.

“For years, the Koch brothers have epitomized how corporations and the super-rich have tried to systematically destroy our democracy,” president of the 12 million-member AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said. “Today, they’re finally meeting their match.”

A spokesman for Koch industries did not have an immediate comment about the ads.

The AFL-CIO initial ad buy includes Michigan and Kentucky, home to two Senate races where Koch-backed groups are spending heavily. The ads also run in Washington, D.C.

While Charles and David Koch are not on ballots this fall, Democrats are trying to make them an issue. The League of Conservation Voters is running anti-Koch ads in Michigan. Sen. Mark Begich criticized the brothers in a TV ad earlier this season.

And Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid routinely goes to the Senate floor to denounce the brothers’ influence and call them “un-American.”


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