Americans for Prosperity is the perfect example. This group is founded in finance by the Koch brothers, who are among the fourth and fifth richest people in the world now - or ninth and tenth. They're up there on the top ten list. They're each worth, according to the Bloomberg Billionaire list, $44 billion, so together they're worth $88 billion. They've got this group where they're busing people around. I mean, they're in New Jersey, they're in Philadelphia; they're taking folks, and they're having nightly meetings, and they're telling people that you've got to fight these environmental regulations, they use these conspiracy theories to convince them.
But they're doing the bottom up strategy, because they're paying people to go around and knock on doors, to do the "shoe leather" approach that is very good at shaping public opinion. They just simply have the money to hire all these organizers. That might make it unfair, but they're not taking the traditional approach of Big Business, of simply buying advertising, or going out and giving to legislators; they're hiring people on in the neighborhood to just go out door to door. They've been able to fabricate a bottom up approach, essentially. If that makes sense; I don't know if I'm explaining that correctly. But they're very savvy at it, very savvy.
Rob Kall: Yeah! Now, you mentioned something. You talked about conspiracy theories.
Lee Fang: Mm hmm.
Rob Kall: What are you talking about there?
Lee Fang: Well, Americans for Prosperity, this is their game plan: when they were fighting to gut the Clean Air Act (and mind you, the Koch Brothers, they own Koch Industries which has big factories, big oil refineries, fertilizer plants that are very dirty, chemical plants), they don't want these new clean air act regulations. If we were having an honest conversation about why they did it, it's simple business. They don't want to pay for upgrading their refineries and their factories so that they have cleaner emissions. Instead of using an honest argument, they use conspiracy theories, and I'll show you.
What Americans for Prosperity did was they started a campaign called "The Regulation Reality Tour," and they went to states like Arkansas (this is 2010 by the way) that had very pivotal Senators, like Senator Blanch Lincoln and Senator Mike Pryor. And they set up these festival-type events where they would have free barbecue, a country singer, a moon-bounce, and people would come to these events and they would say, "Well, what's happening with the EPA? The EPA is going to regulate carbon emissions: not just the carbon emissions from factories, but the air you breathe. They're going to come into your church, they're going to check how much carbon your church is emitting. They're going to come into your home and see if your refrigerator is running and using too much electricity. They're going to come to your house and take away your car."
Now, these were just made up conspiracy theories, right? None of this was true. The type of regulations the EPA was even considering would only impact big factories, and utility companies, and other industrial sources of carbon emissions. They would never affect anyone on the individual level. But they concocted a conspiracy theory to make people angry, to make people call their Senator and say, "We don't want you to use the Clean Air Act to go after carbon emissions." They concocted this fevered imagination that the EPA would even hire police to go to peoples' churches and homes to regulate carbon emissions, when nothing was closer to the truth. They had essentially used peoples' fears and anxieties to manipulate them.