Koch-Crony Joni hires Koch-Crony Lisa Goeas as her chief of staff

Question of the day: How many Koch-Cronies can you fit into one U.S. Senate office?

Answer: At least two (for now).

On Tuesday, incoming U.S. senator and Koch-Crony Joni Ernst hired Lisa Goeas, the vice president for political and grassroots operations at Koch-backed NFIB, to be her chief of staff.

NFIB stands for the National Federation of Independent Businesses and claims to represent America’s small businesses, but in reality, it’s about anything but small businesses. Regular readers of Real Koch Facts know that NFIB is Just another Koch-backed group working to push its anti-working family agenda like pushing for tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.

Here’s how it works: The Kochs fund a group that claims to support small businesses. The group endorses Koch candidates. The candidates then claim they’re endorsed by the small business community, and if they win election, they push Koch-friendly legislation through and hurt working families. It’s a vicious cycle, and just one of the many tentacles of the “Kochtopus.”

Goeas worked for NFIB for the past 9 years, where she led the group’s political activities including endorsing candidates for public office, promoting NFIB’s policy goals, and expanding the group’s grassroots efforts.  Before joining NFIB, she worked for the most recent “President Bush” (though Jeb is *actively exploring* trying to take that crown) as the chief of staff at the Small Business Administration. She previously worked in the Senate for former Republican Senator Tim Hutchinson of Arkansas.

With Koch candidates winning in Kentucky, Iowa, Colorado, North Carolina, Kansas, West Virginia, and Arkansas, it will be a race to see who can cram more Koch Cronies into their offices and push the most extreme agenda in the Senate. It’s no secret that Joni’s Koch connections run deep, and by hiring Lisa Goeas, Ernst is taking an early lead in the race to cater to the Koch brothers who got her elected.

Has anyone seen $1.6 million? Could’ve sworn I left it in my jacket pocket…

When it comes to political spending, there are shady outside groups, and then there’s Koch brothers’ operations.

The Center to Protect Patient Rights (CPPR) is a Koch brothers organization that has been described as “the linchpin in one of the most complex networks of dark money in the country.” By virtue of its non-profit status, CPPR is exempt from any requirement to disclose its donors. In turn, it is able to function as an ATM for Koch-linked organizations, funneling tens of millions of dollars from anonymous wealthy donors to a smorgasbord of high-powered conservative groups.

In essence, Center to Protect Patient Rights is campaign money laundering apparatus. Actually, not just in essence — California recently fined CPPR $1 million for what they explicitly deemed “campaign money laundering,” a violation of state campaign finance law.

But there’s more. This week, CPPR was at the center of a new revelation that really puts the gold-plated icing on the cake.

Three years ago, the Center to Protect Patient Rights — a nonprofit grant-making organization fueled by the political fundraising network of conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch — made a seven-figure contribution to another nonprofit.

That transaction itself may not have been notable, except for the fact that the group, American Commitment, says it wasn’t the beneficiary of the money.

Now, Sean Noble — a political consultant who was chosen by the Koch brothers to quarterback their political efforts, and who signed the Center to Protect Patient Rights’ tax return disclosing the contribution under penalty of perjury — is refusing to explain where the missing $1.6 million went.

Got that? One of the many 7-figure checks written by Koch operative who steers the mysterious CPPR supposedly went to a group called American Commitment, only America Commitment didn’t get the money. And nobody knows where it went. It’s missing. $1.6 million is missing.

Maybe in the secretive billionaire of circles that the Koch brothers operate in, $1.6 million is such a tiny amount of money that nobody noticed or cared. Maybe someone dropped it on a roller coaster or forgot it in a hotel room.

More likely, it was steered somewhere it shouldn’t have gone to skirt more campaign finance laws. But for now, your guess is as good as anyone’s.

Sacramento Bee: California Fair Political Practices Commission Levied $1 Million Fine Against Groups In “Koch Operated” Network for “Inappropriately Laundering Money During Last Year’s Ballot Initiative Wars.” According to the Sacramento Bee: “California’s political watchdog has levied a $1 million fine against two non-profit groups for inappropriately laundering money during last year’s ballot initiative wars. In a campaign finance case watched around the country, California’s political watchdog has levied a $1 million fine against two non-profit groups for inappropriately laundering money during last year’s ballot initiative wars. The Fair Political Practices Commission announced the settlement with the Center to Protect Patient Rights and Americans for Responsible Leadership, two groups based in Arizona that the FPPC describes as part of a network operated by the conservative Koch brothers.” [The Sacramento Bee, 10/24/13]

New York Times Headline: “Group Linked to Kochs Admits to Campaign Finance Violations.” [The New York Times, 10/24/13]

KQED: “Under California Law, The Transaction Was Money Laundering Pure And Simple. The FPPC Said It Was “The Largest Contribution Ever Disclosed As Campaign Money Laundering In California History.” [KQED, 10/24/13]

AFP Continues Fight Against Health Care Access For Low-Income Americans, Kids, People With Disabilities

The Koch brothers’ heartless crusade to block Medicaid expansion and deny health care access to low-income Americans just keeps rolling on. Monday, Americans For Prosperity-North Carolina director, Donald Bryson, and AFP policy analyst, Akash Chougule, penned an op-ed calling on Gov. McCrory to ignore renewed pressure to expand Medicaid.

In the op-ed, Americans For Prosperity’s callousness is on full display. Not only does AFP find the costs of Medicaid expansion to North Carolina taxpayers unacceptable (even though studies show it would save the state billions), but they have trouble even conceiving that there would be any merit at all in providing an affordable health insurance option to working North Carolinians:

And what would we be paying for? Nothing that should comfort taxpayers. Potentially crowding out funding for roads and schools for the return on investment we would receive from Medicaid expansion would be ludicrous.

Their utter lack of empathy is almost as breathtaking as their hypocrisy. For AFP-NC to claim they are worried about crowding out funding for schools is beyond parody. The truth is that Americans For Prosperity backed Speaker Thom Tillis and a budget that threatened 13,000 education jobs.  Then they paraded around the state championing Gov. McCrory and Speaker Tillis’s 2013 budget overhaul that gashed $500 million school funding and left the state in crisis. In fact, guess who Pat McCrory hired to write that budget? Art Pope — a man who literally had to resign his post as one of AFP’s national directors to take the job.

To recap, AFP-NC had no problem slashing half a billion dollars in education funding in order to give massive tax cuts to the rich, but when it comes to providing health care access to low-income folks, children, and people with disabilities, suddenly they’re worried about financially squeezing schools, even though expanding Medicaid would actually save the state money.

Kochs’ Decades-Long Effort To Take Over GOP Comes To Fruition — With Unchecked Power In Tow

“The Koch operations are the most important nonparty political players in the U.S. today, and no one else is even close.”

That’s the harrowing POLITICO quote we woke up to this week. It sums up an article about the Kochs’ ongoing effort to stuff millions upon millions of dollars into a major data operation to cook up political profiles about the vast majority of the country’s citizens.

The effort, POLITICO says, gives the Kochs’ political outfit “all the earmarks of a national party.” It’s not the first time they’ve been described that way, but it’s probably the most telling evidence yet that the Kochs’ 30+ year effort to take over the GOP has come to fruition.

There’s more than a few problems here. The Kochs gobbled up their new data operation in the best way they know – they bought it. Then another one of their arms invested in it.

And then, after buying the company and looking to profit from it, the data got sold. To Republican candidates and the RNC.

You’ll remember, of course, that the Kochs’ political labyrinth is made up of supposedly independent groups. And those independent groups are actively working with the national Party and Republican candidates. Sounds, um, shady, right? Yeah. That’s why the American Democracy Legal Fund filed an FEC complaint about it.

So as the Kochs collect unchecked power and influence – and do so by whatever legally tenuous means they care to – they only get closer to their goal of holding all the Republican Party’s chips. And at the end of the day, it’s all to benefit their own bottom line.

Governor-Elect Doug Ducey Hires Koch Lackey As Chief Of Staff

Throughout Doug Ducey’s gubernatorial campaign in Arizona, his ties to the self-interested Koch brothers were often in the spotlight. Ducey was caught on a recording at the Kochs’ secretive billionaires’ retreat in California pleading for their money. He even had Governor Chris Christie jump in at a joint event and rush to the Kochs’ defense on behalf of Ducey.

Well, his newly announced selection of Kirk Adams as chief of staff illuminates just how deeply he is connected to the Koch brothers and their powerful network. So who is Kirk Adams?

As the Los Angeles Times put it, Kirk Adams one of the “early architects of the Koch network of nonprofits.” That description comes in article about Adams and fellow Arizona Koch crony, Sean Noble, coordinating the activities of two shady “pro-business” groups that spent heavily during the 2012 elections to fight against increased education funding in California. The group went to great lengths to hide their donors, but it came to light that at least one of them received millions in funding from the Koch brothers to wage their anti-school funding battle.

In fact, they went to such great lengths to hide their donors, that they were fined $1 million by the state of California for violating campaign finance laws. According to Bloomberg, “The two groups ‘operated as part of the ‘Koch Brothers’ Network’ of dark money political nonprofit corporations,’ the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission said yesterday in a statement.”

Doug Ducey scoffed at the notion that he would be a Koch pawn while he was running for governor. Then he won and immediately hired a long-time Koch operative as his chief of staff. Shocking.

Koch Agenda + State Legislatures = A World That Only Suits The Kochs

Over the past six months, we’ve told you all about the Koch brothers’ extreme, self-serving agenda designed to hurt the middle class and make the Kochs even richer. They’ve turned North Carolina and Wisconsin into Tea Party utopias.They’ve taken over the Republican Party and set the agenda. They’ve tried to indoctrinate children with their anti-government, climate change-denying beliefs. And now the oil tycoons are trying to kill alternative energy at the state level so we stay addicted to their oil.

In 2009, the Koch brothers “threw their full weight behind defeating” legislation to address climate change – and they won. Now they’ve set their sights on the states: they’re trying to repeal state laws that require utilities to get more of their energy from alternative sources like wind and solar.

How are they doing this? Through yet another Koch-funded group that tries to move our country closer and closer to Kochville, a.k.a. their extreme, self-serving utopia. This one’s called ALEC, short the American Legislative Exchange Council, and it writes Koch-inspired “model legislation” that state legislators can introduce – they just have to fill in the right state name, Mad Libs-style.

Yesterday, we told you about the Koch-funded Heartland Institute, which is known to deny the human causes of climate change, and how it tried to include its pseudo-science on climate change in Texas public schools’ textbooks. (You can probably see where this is headed.)

In a surprise to no one, the Heartland Institute “took credit for writing the legislation” to repeal renewable energy mandates that ALEC used. According to National Journal, since then, “at least 40 bills aimed at weakening or repealing clean energy mandates have been introduced” in state legislatures.

The Koch brothers stand to lose a lot if we move away from oil, so they’re stacking the deck. And if any state legislators don’t agree with their policies, the Kochs try to replace them with their lackeys. They drive the policy and pick the candidates of the national Republican Party, and now they’re trying to run the states, too.

If they win this round, we’ll all be worse off – unless, of course, your last name is “Koch.”

Chris Christie’s Board Again Rejects Windmill Plan, Receives Praise From AFP

The third time isn’t always the charm. For a third time, Chris Christie’s Board of Public Utilities has rejected a proposal to build windmills near Atlantic City in order to generate renewable energy. It turns out that the infinite checkbooks of the Koch brothers are more charming than the proverbial ‘third time.’

Immediately after Christie’s Board of Public Utilities once again shot down the promising project, the Koch brothers’ Americans For Prosperity issued a press release praising the energy regulators for their decision. In said press release, they do their best to dress the energy plan up in scary clothes, applauding the BPU for “rejecting this misguided offshore wind scheme.” Amazingly, later in the release, they point out that New Jersey’s job market continues to be lackluster, losing 4,500 jobs in October, while disregarding the renewable energy jobs this project would create.

AFP’s crusade against alternative energy forms is well documented. This month, they launched ads urging Republican members of Congress to kill the wind production tax credit. They are constantly out to protect Big Oil companies like Koch Industries under the guise of protecting consumers from higher costs, but that facade is melting away. In fact, just this weekend, the New York Times ran this story: “Solar and Wind Energy Start to Win on Price vs. Conventional Fuels.”

As for notedly ambitious Governor Chris Christie, he’s likely happy to keep from upsetting the Koch brothers ahead of his inevitable 2016 presidential run. Christie has already angrily defended the Kochs earlier this year, and the Times recently detailed the negligent stance the governor has taken on climate change as he’s been courting the AFP donor crowd.

The BPU’s ruling is now under appeal and advocates for the windmill project are still hopeful they will prevail. For now, count it as a win for Chris Christie, a win for the Koch brothers, and a loss for New Jerseyans.

We’ve previously reported on the Kochs’ attempts to indoctrinate America’s children with their anti-government, anti-science educational curriculum, and their latest attempt is just as outrageous.

The battle over public school textbooks in Texas has been in the news for months because of several controversial and factually inaccurate details included in the proposed textbooks. Early versions were riddled with errors, and some even went as far as lying to students about the science behind and causes of climate change. And where did this pseudo-science come from?

If you guessed the Koch brothers, you win!

The Koch-funded Heartland Institute, a self-described “nonprofit research organization,” is in reality a conservative advocacy group known to deny the human causes of climate change (just like the Koch brothers!).

In one passage submitted by Heartland, which was written by its non-scientist employees, students:

  • are told that scientists “do not agree on what is causing the [climate] change;”
  • are told to compare Heartland’s pseudo-science to the findings of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change;
  • and are asked to decide whether or not they think global warming is caused by human activity.

In truth, however, 97% of publishing climate scientists and 97% of climate papers “agree human activity is responsible.”  The debate is over, but the Kochs and the Heartland Institute are trying to create a new generation of climate change deniers.

Unfortunately, the Heartland Institute’s passages were just a few of the many factual inaccuracies included in the draft textbooks. On Friday, November 21, the Republican-controlled Texas State Board of Education voted 10-5 on party lines to approve 89 new social studies textbooks that include “‘hundreds of pages’ in last-minute changes.” These textbooks “will be used in Texas public schools for the next decade,”  so it makes sense that board members review the changes, right?

Apparently, not.

The board voted to approve the new textbooks without reviewing the changes, and when one board member proposed delaying the final vote until board members were able to review the changes, the proposal was voted down.

As a result, for the next decade, public school students across Texas will be using textbooks that could be riddled with factual inaccuracies and filled with ideological misinformation.

In an unusual turn of events for Real Koch Facts, however, there is a silver lining here: the Kochs’ “science” will allegedly not be included in the textbooks, sparing 5 million public school students across Texas a decade of misinformation and indoctrination – at least when it comes to climate change.

Despite this setback, expect the “Kochtopus” to keep growing its tentacles.

Kochs using dark money to oppose dark money disclosure rules

Previously on Real Koch Facts, we’ve likened the flow of money between the organizations in the Koch brothers’ political network to an elaborate shell game, where cash is covertly shuttled between dozens of nonprofits, holding companies and “disregarded entities.” A new report from the Center for Public Integrity further confirms that the so-called “Kochtopus” is as deliberately opaque as it is multi-tentacled. CPI outlines the activities of American Commitment, a “social welfare” nonprofit that received the bulk of its funding from 2011-2013 from three Koch-backed groups and is currently advocating against enhanced IRS disclosure rules for organizations of its kind.

According to CPI, American Commitment received 87 percent of its 2011-2013 funding — in other words, millions of dollars — from the Koch brothers’ “secret bank,” Freedom Partners Action Fund, the Koch-backed Center to Protect Patient Rights, and Free Enterprise America. Keep in mind that American Commitment did not have to disclose these Koch donations, but rather, CPI unearthed these donations in the tax returns filed by the donor organizations; the IRS requires nonprofits to disclose grants made to other organizations. The CPI report fully details the utter obfuscation involved, but at its core, these maneuvers allow organizations to avoid disclosing their donors by funneling money to a “social welfare” group that can indulge in both donor anonymity and support candidates.

That’s not even the worst of it. As CPI notes, American Commitment “has vigorously opposed [IRS] efforts to force donor disclosure on social welfare nonprofit groups,” likely because its political activities mean there’s a high likelihood the group would be impacted by the proposed rules. Given the number of nonprofits within the Kochtopus, it follows that the ever-opaque Koch network is very likely helping to fund American Commitment’s vocal opposition to the new IRS transparency rules.

Although the funding shell game is a hallmark of the Koch network, they certainly aren’t the only ultra-wealthy conservative benefactors who partake in it. The Conservative Transparency database uses public tax filings to help track the dark money that flows between conservative donors, organizations, and candidates.

Koch Brothers Find Most Pathetic Excuse Yet To Attack Government

Since 1991, it has cost $15 to buy an annual bird-hunting permit in America. But if birds run out, you can’t hunt them anymore. So Tea Party Rep. John Fleming (R-LA) introduced a bipartisan bill, which Politico reports had the backing of the duck hunters, to increase the annual bird-hunting permit cost from $15 to $25. Everyone wins.

Only, the Koch Brothers’ Americans For Prosperity didn’t see it that way. For AFP, anything that could possible be used as an excuse to attack government should be used as such, no matter how pathetic. This, believe it or not, was a statement written in response to the bipartisan, duck hunter-backed, Tea Party introduced, $10 annual permit hike:

“The scrooges in Congress want to ask American families for even more of their paycheck to help fund a bloated, oversized government that cannot properly do the few things it is supposed to be doing, never mind all of the things it is not supposed to be doing.

Americans For Prosperity’s incessant attempts to undermine government on any possible issue are well-documented. And sometimes, they are simply beyond parody.

Paid for by American Bridge 21st Century Foundation