Democrats criticize criticism of Barber and Kirkpatrick over Obama-care

2014-04-04T00:00:00Z Democrats criticize criticism of Barber and Kirkpatrick over Obama-careBy Joe Ferguson Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Two new videos attacking U.S. Reps. Ann Kirkpatrick and Ron Barber over their support for the Affordable Healthcare Act are expected to hit the airwaves this weekend.

The LIBRE Initiative is expected to spend $700,000 on the series of issue ads focusing on the two Democratic lawmakers’ continued support of the Affordable Care Act and the impact the legislation may have on the Hispanic community.

The two 30-second ads are expected to appear on television stations in the Tucson and Phoenix markets.

The Arlington, VA-based nonprofit, founded in 2011, focuses primarily on economic issues facing the U.S. Hispanic community, said Daniel Garza, the executive director for the LIBRE Initiative.

The LIBRE Initiative, according to records filed by the IRS, has been primarily funded through organizations financially supported by the Koch brothers.

It received roughly $3.8 million in the last campaign cycle from TC4 and Freedom Partners, — both affiliated with the Koch brothers, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Both Barber, who represents Congressional District 2, and Kirkpatrick, who represents Congressional District 1, are in highly competitive races this year.

While neither faces an opponent in the primary, the two Democrats are expected to face significant Republican challenges in the general election.

Officials expect both national parties as well as super PACs and outside expenditure groups to pour millions of dollars in political ads into the two races.

Pima County Supervisor RichardElías called LIBRE a group of “carpet baggers,” and said they do not speak for the entire Latino community in Arizona.

“We all know deep in our hearts that there is no single entity that represents Latino families. They deserve to speak for themselves,” he said in a Thursday afternoon news conference.

DJ Quinlan, the executive director of the Arizona Democratic Party, accused the group behind the ad of being bought and paid for by Republican interests to falsely represent the Hispanic community.

“The LIBRE Initiative is a fake Latino advocacy organization whose real mission is to shamefully shill for the misguided agenda of billionaire brothers, Charles and David Koch. The Koch-backed budget plan would be a disaster for Arizona seniors, forcing them to pay more for health care in order to provide tax giveaways for billionaires,” Quinlan said.

Garza defended his group, saying his staff and volunteers are deeply committed to helping the Hispanic community economically prosper. He said the response from Democrats to the new ads his group has launched is to be expected.

He said “these partisan critics” might as well get used to his group’s participation in the policy debate impacting Arizona Hispanics, as they intend to continue “engaging all in the Hispanic community who share a deep belief in defending and preserving America’s free-market heritage.”

Contact reporter Joe Ferguson at jferguson@azstarnet.com or 573-4346. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFerguson.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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