Americans for Prosperity, a Koch brothers-funded political group, announced on Tuesday that it has formed a chapter in Minnesota. The Kochs, along with their state-based chapters of AFP, have been a major supporter of the tea party movement.
Minnesota’s new AFP chapter will be run by John Cooney, a political consultant who worked as political director for former U.S. Rep. Jim Ramstad, a moderate Republican representing the western Twin Cities suburbs.
“Minnesota is in desperate need of reforms which was clearly exemplified by our government’s shutdown,” Cooney said in a statement. “Excessive government spending, Governor Dayton’s push to increase taxes among all income levels, and a growing unemployment rate of almost 8 percent are just a few of the major threats to hard working Minnesotans.
“I will work hard to ensure Minnesotans are in-the-know about key issues affecting their family, paycheck, and homes. It is time to bring economic growth and individual prosperity back to the North Star State.”
Cooney also served as chief of staff to Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek, and worked on the campaign of Rep. Randy Hultgren, R-Ill. Cooney was an unsuccessful candidate for Hennepin County Commissioner in 2008.
AFP and the Koch brothers have become somewhat of bogeymen for progressive activists; allegations of voter suppression in Wisconsin’s special elections earlier this month helped fuel that characterization.
Aside from political interest in the state, the Koch brothers own the state’s largest oil refinery in Rosemouth just south of the Twin Cities.