One day after Senate Majority Harry Reid repeatedly attacked the conservative billionaire activists, the Koch brothers, and their well-financed conservative organization Americans for Prosperity, the head of that group, Tim Phillips, said Reid is using scare tactics against detractors.
"For a politician to try and silence and intimidate an American citizen solely because they don't like the facts that are coming out and the story they are telling says more about the politician than it says about Americans for Prosperity," Phillips told CNN in a sit-down interview near his office in Arlington, Virginia Thursday morning.
Americans for Prosperity is an influential conservative organization that is working, in part, to unseat Democrats in local and federal races across the country. The organization is largely bank-rolled by energy and manufacturing titans Charles and David Koch, commonly referred to as the Koch brothers.
In two separate speeches on the Senate floor Wednesday, Reid attacked the Koch brothers as being "un-American," having "no conscience," and that the "vast majority" of their political advertisements are untrue.
"The irony," Phillips said, "is that David and Charles Koch have created more prosperity for Americans in the form of jobs... in one year than Harry Reid and his ilk on the left in Congress have created in decades with their big government policies."
AFP has been a serious impediment to Democrats for at least the past two election cycles. This year, Phillips pledges to spend "a substantial" amount of money this year defeating members of Congress - all Democrats - who voted for the Affordable Care Act in 2010.
That could mean a lot of money. Phillips declined to say how much, but noted that in 2012 elections, AFP spent a whopping $130 million dollars against Obama and Democratic candidates. It's an incredible amount of money but it's paltry to the Koch's empire that is estimated to be worth tens of billions of dollars.
So far this year, the group has spent "a hair" over $30 million running radio, TV and digital ads in numerous states, including Alaska, North Carolina, Louisiana, Arkansas, and West Virginia - all states with vulnerable Democrats.
Vice President Joe Biden said the Koch vault naturally worries Democrats, who are at risk of losing control of the Senate. But Biden attempted to raise Democrats' optimism at the Democratic National Committee's winter meeting.
"I'm still one of these guys who believes money can't buy an election when you're selling a bad set of goods," Biden said.
The ad that caused Reid to publicly lash out is one that is running in Michigan, specifically targeting Democratic Rep. Gary Peters who is running to keep an open Senate seat in party hands.
The emotionally griping 60-second ad features Julie Boonstra, who has leukemia, saying she had "a great health care plan" before the Affordable Care Act forced her into a new health insurance plan.
"The out-of-pocket costs are so high, it's unaffordable," Boonstra said in the ad.
Directly addressing Rep. Peters, Boonstra said, "Your decision to vote for Obamacare jeopardized my health."
The Washington Post's fact checker "raised serious questions about her allegations," pointing out that Boonstra's monthly premiums decreased from more than $1,000 per month to about $500 per month. While her out-of-pocket expenses are higher than under her previous plan, her new Obamacare plan has an annual cap on spending that taps out at just over $6,000, much lower than her previous plan.
While Boonstra said in the ad that her new health care plan provides "unaffordable" coverage, Phillips clarified Thursday, saying that her lower premiums and higher out-of-pocket costs leads to unpredictability. While leaving some months financially manageable, medical expenses of other months could become unaffordable, he said of her new plan that is barely two-months in.
That ad prompted Reid to take to the Senate floor in two separate occasions to call out the Koch franchise. "You see, when you make billions of dollars a year, you can be as immoral and dishonest as your money will allow you to be," he said.
Phillips, the long-time conservative political power player who has run AFP since 2004, said he is "very comfortable" with Boonstra's personal account.
While he would not say how AFP found Boonstra or heard of her story, he said they didn't give Boonstra, or others featured in similar ads, pre-written scripts, but they turn the camera on and let them talk about their experience with the Affordable Care Act.
Obamacare "created an uncertainty, and most threatening of all, unpredictability," Phillips said.
Philips said AFP hasn't been nearly as misleading as President Obama has been; Obama lied, Phillips said.
He pointed to Obama's claim that people can keep their health insurance, noting that it was rated the "lie of the year" from Politifact in 2013.
"Sometimes we like their Pinocchio's," Phillips said, referring to the grading scale the Washington Post gives. But in the case of the Boonstra ad, "we don't really buy them."
Phillips also addressed other criticism, but this one was coming from a Republican.
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal told the Washington Post in an interview published Wednesday that making 2014 solely a referendum on Obamacare is "a mistake" and that the Republican Party needs to also offer new ideas.