Dallas Woodhouse, president of the North Carolina chapter of Americans for Prosperity, is calling the new video linking the conservative group with the 2009 Wake County school board elections "a series of outright lies" and libelous."
In a statement today, Woodhouse said AFP's legal team has asked for retractions from Brave News Films and The Huffington Post for claiming that AFP bankrolled the winning school board candidates in 2009. Both liberal groups made the claim to try to charge that the conservative Koch brothers, who founded Americans for Prosperity, are responsible for the end of Wake's diversity policy and the resulting student assignment changes.
"Americans for Prosperity did not spend one single dime on those elections nor did AFP spend funds on independent electioneering communication activities during that election cycle," Woodhouse said. "Moreover, Americans for Prosperity was not engaged in any nonpartisan Get-Out-The-Vote activity or in issuing any voter education material. In sum, Americans for Prosperity had no presence during the 2009 Wake County School Board race."
Woodhouse said they're demanding retractions for three claims, two made in the video, and one in an article in The Huffington Post.
On the first claim, Woodhouse denies the assertion in the film by Bob Geary of the liberal Independent weekly, that "Americans for Prosperity put hundreds of thousands of dollars and a lot of effort into helping the school board candidates first get organized and then nominated and elected."
"This is not only untrue, it is unsubstantiated," Woodhouse said. "Americans for Prosperity never surveyed, interviewed or met with candidates for the Wake School Board races on either side and certainly spent no money on this fictional program. No candidate has ever said this happened because it did not."
On the second claim, Woodhouse goes after statements made in the film by Sue Sturgis of the liberal Institute for Southern Studies that "Americans for Prosperity played a very important role in the Wake County elections."
"What role is that?" Woodhouse said. "Did Sue follow the money? If so what did she find? Did she find campaign finance reports with Americans for Prosperity’s name on them? Again, AFP played no role in the 2009 WCPSS election."
On the third claim made by the Huffington Post, Woodhouse challenges the statement that the school board candidates in 2009 "were bankrolled by Americans for Prosperity."
"Not only is this statement false, it accuses AFP of a criminal violation of law," Woodhouse said. "Since corporations are prohibited from providing contributions to candidates, it would be illegal for Americans for Prosperity to 'bankroll' candidates.
A journalist who quickly looks online to do due diligence would have easily found that corporations are not permitted to 'bankroll/' candidates in North Carolina. This was nothing more than a hit piece, and the author did not concern himself with the truth."