Last week, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) released its annual report of hate and antigovernment groups across the U.S. Among the 30 groups in Colorado identified by the report were four chapters of Moms for Liberty

Moms for Liberty, which was founded in 2021 to advocate for the lifting of COVID protocols in public schools, has since shifted towards a campaign against school curriculums that teach students about gender, sexuality, and race, with many chapters  even supporting book bans. 

After the designation of Moms for Liberty as a hate group, former co-chair of the El Paso County branch Darcy Schoening went on conservative podcast “The Chuck and Julie Show.”

“You know, in my mind, that means that we’re doing something right,” Schoening said in response to making the SPLC list. 

She took the opportunity to double down on her positions, including that of keeping all things LGBTQ+ out of Colorado curriculums, and to criticize teachers’ unions and Colorado’s progressive state representatives.   

“There’s a clear agenda to turn kids gay, to turn kids trans,” Schoening said. “These teachers unions have been deep in these schools for decades and decades, and the product that’s emerging, these kids that are emerging, we’re going to have more and more Tim Hernandezes and Elizabeth Epps. Like I keep saying, they’re raising more and more communist.” 

Despite Moms for Liberty’s recent status as an antigovernmental group, this doesn’t appear to have damaged the group’s standings with mainstream conservative organizations, such as Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity. In fact, Moms for Liberty El Paso uses the Americans for Prosperity Headquarters in Colorado Springs for its chapter meetings

Within Colorado’s political landscape Americans for Prosperity and their endorsed candidates make up the moderate faction in the ongoing GOP civil war, with Trump-aligned “grassroots” candidates, supported by Schoening and the state party standing in opposition. Americans for Prosperity’s AFP Action PAC has endorsed congressional candidates Jeff Crank, Gabe Evans, and Jeff Hurd for the primary, while the Colorado GOP has endorsed Dave Williams, Janak Joshi, and Ron Hanks.

Salabarria posting in a New Mexico Moms for Liberty group.

Americans for Prosperity isn’t the only Koch-funded political entity with connections to Moms for Liberty. Colorado-based Parents Defending Education organizer Mailynn Salabarria has taken to posting in Moms for Liberty Facebook groups in neighboring states in order to drum up — or astroturf — attendance for this summer’s Freedom Foundation “Teacher Freedom Summit.” Last year’s summit featured a panel discussion with conservative school board attorney Brad Miller, who discussed a range of topics pertaining to education, parents’ rights, and teachers unions alongside three fellow panelists: Dicky Shanor, chief of staff for the Wyoming Department of Education; Anastasios Kamoutsas, chief of staff for the Commissioner of Florida’s Department of Education; and David Osborne, a senior fellow at the conservative Commonwealth Foundation.

Americans for Prosperity Colorado, Parents Defending Education, and Salabarria did not respond to requests for a comment.