It was billed as a free Republican National Convention event that nonprofit group Americans for Prosperity was holding to honor two of its big funders, conservative billionaire David Koch and North Carolina businessman and political donor Art Pope. But when Sunlight tried to join the party on Thursday afternoon, the door was closed to us.
Sunlight asked for credentials ahead of time because we are watching the activities of the “super donors” in the 2012 election: David and his brother Charles Koch have taken on an increasingly important role in politics, and the brothers and their friends plan to raise and donate $400 million to elect conservative officials and Gov. Mitt Romney.
About a week ago, two Sunlight Foundation employees received two tickets via email to attend the event. Then, on Monday, another email informed us that our tickets had been revoked and we had to apply for a press pass. We were denied that pass too, as were other reporters who went through the same process.
In an email hours before the event responding to another request for a ticket, an AFP spokesman linked the refusal to a recent blog post that he had protested.
The group’s spokesman, Levi Russell, wrote, "I never got a response from my most recent email regarding your inaccurate portrayal of Americans for Prosperity. I’m surprised that gaining entrance to a reception is a higher priority for you. Based on recent experience, you’re willing to write articles that are filled with inaccuracies, and not interested in making corrections."