By KENNETH P. VOGEL – POLITICOPro 3/29/12 2:02 PM EDT
The group launching a $3.6 million ad campaign hitting President Barack Obama on gasoline prices has deep ties to the billionaire libertarian industrialists Charles and David Koch.
The American Energy Alliance is the political arm of the Institute for Energy Research, and sources tell POLITICO that both groups are funded partly by the Koch brothers and their donor network.
The groups are run by Tom Pyle, a former lobbyist for Koch Industries. Pyle regularly attends the mega-donor summits organized by the Koch brothers, including the 2012 winter summit in Indian Wells, Calif., where the Kochs raised more than $150 million to be directed to groups ahead of the general election.
In all, the brothers’ network is aiming to steer significantly more than $200 million to conservative groups for political advertising and organizing ahead of Election Day.
The American Energy Alliance’s ad campaign, which launches Friday in eight states, hammers Obama for his decision on the Keystone XL pipeline and recycles a 2008 quote from Energy Secretary Steven Chu about the benefits of European-level gas prices.
The ads come after the Kochs’ primary political group, Americans for Prosperity, earlier this year launched a $6 million ad campaign calling out Obama over the now-defunct, government-subsidized maker of solar power components, Solyndra.
Democrats have pounced on the Koch brothers as bogeym