Back on August 7, Americans for Prosperity told the New York Times that it was shifting from running issue ads to express advocacy because of a need to emphasize the message:
This campaign is the first time the group has expressly advocated for Mr. Obama’s defeat in an ad. “We don’t take this lightly,” said Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity. “We’ve always stayed away from express advocacy. But given the president’s disastrous record, we felt this was necessary.”
It was clear to me and to others (quoted in the article) that this was bunk—that this was really being done to prevent disclosure of the names of donors, thanks to a quirk in the law created by the Van Hollen ruling. But it was a risky strategy, because running express ads makes it more likely the group will run into trouble with the FEC and IRS.
And now that Van Hollen has been overturned? Bloomberg BNA reports:
In the wake of a key court ruling, the Republican-leaning organization Americans for Prosperity is reverting to sponsoring “issue ads” in the presidential campaign, a Sept. 24 announcement indicates.
AFP is linked to billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, who head Koch Industries Inc. A so-called Section 501(c)(4) tax-exempt group, AFP has spent millions on political ads, including recent ads that explicitly opposed President Obama’s re-election.