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As Herman Cain Surges, Corporate Media Ignore His Koch Connections

As the GOP campaign progresses, David Koch, and his brother, Charles -- two of the richest men in America -- will likely be felt in ways large and small.

UPDATE: Since we went to press with this article, the Associated Press published a piece about Cain and his corporate sponsor, David Koch (via Americans for Prosperity and the AFP Foundation). The AP is a non-profit organization funded by the nation's major news outlets.

With two major polls showing Atlanta businessman Herman Cain now moving ahead of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney to claim the top spot among the contenders for the GOP presidential nomination, media are beating a path to his door. Given Cain's clear and strong connection to the billionaire newsmaker David Koch, you'd think that Cain's longstanding ties to the Americans For Prosperity Foundation, which is chaired by Koch, and its sibling organization, simply known as Americans For Prosperity, would be a meaty topic for enterprising reporters. Apparently not.

Mainstream media outlets have also ignored the checkered past of Cain's campaign manager, Mark Block, who was banned from participation in Wisconsin politics for three years, 2002-2005, because of campaign law violations.

Significant players on Cain's campaign staff are draw from the ranks of Americans for Prosperity or related organizations, beginning with campaign manager Mark Block, who served for six years as director of AFP's Wisconsin chapter. And Cain himself, before launching his presidential campaign, was a frequently featured speaker at events hosted by the Americans For Prosperity Foundation.

At AlterNet, we've been keeping tabs on Cain's Koch connection for more than a year, detailing his ties to Americans For Prosperity, as well as to Prosperity 101, a Koch-linked "worker education" program presented to employees of participating companies in their workplaces, mostly in Wisconsin, during the 2010 mid-term elections that yielded victories for Gov. Scott Walker, Sen. Ron Johnson, and a bevy of Tea Party candidates for Congress and the Wisconsin state legislature. We reported the involvement Mark Block in a voter-suppression scheme in Milwaukee, during his tenure as Americans For Prosperity's Wisconsin director. And, in June,  we laid out the reasons why a Cain campaign makes good political sense for the interests of Koch and Americans for Prosperity. Here's an excerpt:

When Cain's presidential candidacy was launched, it's likely that his AFP-linked backers never expected he would win the GOP presidential nomination, but that he would make an effective messenger for pushing the party further to the Koch positions. As it looks now, Cain could do even better than that, given the weak GOP presidential field. With each contest in primary season, contenders win delegates to the national convention, where the party platform is laid. Cain will likely do well in New Hampshire -- he could even win the state, as Patrick J. Buchanan did with his populist rhetoric in 1996. And with that win, and strong showings in a few other states, the Buchananites won control of the GOP platform, causing the nominee, Bob Dole, to run on a platform he could hardly stomach.

Below, we offer a rundown Cain's own Koch connections, and those of members of his campaign staff, as well as their significance in the battles currently raging over tax cuts for the wealthy, and collective bargaining rights for public employees.

Herman Cain, Republican presidential candidate - The GOP frontrunner likes to tout his former role as CEO of Godfather's Pizza; he's less vocal about his former position in Americans For Prosperity, which dates back to 2005, for which he served as leader of the "Prosperity Expansion Project." It's difficult to know just what this project is (or was), since any description of it appears to have been scrubbed from the Americans For Prosperity Web site. Since then, Cain has been a featured speaker at virtually every conference the Americans For Prosperity Foundation has sponsored.