Chief of Staff to Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) 1992-1996
Co-founder and Vice President of Century Strategies 1997-2006
President of Americans for Prosperity and Americans for Prosperity Foundation 2006-present
Tim Phillips graduated Phi Beta Kappa, Magna Cum Laude from Virginia Tech University with a B.A. in Political Science. He is a seasoned political operative with 24 years of experience, including presidential, gubernatorial and congressional races, as well as state legislative, local and issue-advocacy campaigns.
Phillips co-founded Century Strategies (along with Ralph Reed), a company that offered business consulting, political and campaign consulting, and direct mail services. According to the The National Journal, Century Strategies has "raked in millions of dollars by mounting grassroots lobbying drives and other campaigns—as well as doing some inside-the-Beltway advocacy—for two dozen or so Fortune 100 companies and lesser-known enterprises.”
Phillips spearheaded Century Strategies’ campaign for George W Bush during the 2000 GOP primary and general election. Beginning in 1999 and continuing through the election, Century provided direct mail, telemarketing, coalition building and strategic services to Bush for President.
While Phillips was vice president, Jack Abramoff hired Century Strategies to organize a coalition to block Native American tribes in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas from creating casinos that would drive gamblers away from the casinos Abramoff's clients owned. According to the Washington Post, Century Strategies was paid as much as $4 million for its work opposing several tribal casinos in southern states from 2001 to 2003.
Century Strategies’ laundered the money Abramoff paid them through the Faith and Family Alliance, a political advocacy group that was founded by Phillips. Robin Vanderwall, the director of the Faith and Family Alliance, has stated he "was operating a shell."
Century Strategies’ first big client was Enron, which hired Phillips to mobilize "religious leaders and pro-family groups" to generate support for energy deregulation in Congress and in state assemblies. Phillips and Ralph Reed, co-founder of Century Strategies, used multiple mediums including advertising on conservative talk shows, placing op-eds from community leaders in major newspapers, and having major political campaign contributors press members of Congress to pass the favorable legislation. It is estimated Enron paid Century Strategies $380,000 for its services. Phillips and Century Strategies worked for Enron from 1997 to 2001.
Phillips is the president of the Koch funded front groups Americans for Prosperity (AFP) and Americans for Prosperity Foundation. Since Phillips took over as president of the AFP in 2006, the organization has expanded to over 17 states and has increased its membership to 700,000. In 2007, Phillips earned $250,000 as President of AFP.
Through AFP, Phillips has enthusiastically promoted global warming denial and attacked environmental regulation with a series of national PR campaigns. AFP’s "Hot Air Tour,” a national tour that calls predictions of global warming “hysteria,” labels cap and trade legislation a “climate tax,” and features a hot air balloon is one such stunt.
AFP also runs the website No Climate Tax, which exhorts citizens to send a message to federal and state lawmakers urging them to sign the No Climate Tax Pledge.
Other astroturf organizations conceived by Phillips under the AFP banner include:
- “Free Our Energy,” a group promoting increased domestic drilling, the
- “Save My Ballot Tour,” a group that pays Joe the Plumber to travel around the country smearing the Employee Free Choice Act, and
- “No Stimulus” a group launched to try to stop the passage of the Recovery Act.
AFP and Phillips have also been instrumental in orchestrating the anti-Obama, anti-tax tea party protests in April of 2009.
Phillips and AFP are also heavily involved in the tea party movement, organizing rallies and bussing in speakers and participants.
In the wake of Citizens United, Phillips has positioned AFP as a conduit for corporate money entering political campaigns. Americans for Prosperity spent $6 million in ads attacking democratic incumbents in the 2010 elections.
According to Jane Mayer in The New Yorker, Americans for Prosperity and its foundation plan to spend $45 million on “some fifty House races and half a dozen Senate races, staging rallies, organizing door-to-door canvassing, and running ads aimed at ‘educating voters about where candidates stand.’”