A section of the memo headlined “Constrained hiring” says: “As we all know, there are no free lunches. Everything comes with costs. In this case, the money for faculty lines and graduate students is coming from a group of funding organisations with strong libertarian views. These organisations have an explicit agenda.
“They want to expose students to what they believe are vital concepts about the benefits of the market and the dangers of government failure, and they want to support and mentor students who share their views. Therefore, they are trying to convince us to hire faculty who will provide exposure and mentoring. If we are not willing to hire such faculty, they are not willing to fund us.”
The newly-released documents from FSU provide a small window into the machinations of the Kochs’ far-reaching efforts to provide financial backing to like-minded think tanks and academics who espouse their preferred radical free market mindset. But as Paul Krugman noted yesterday, the documents and negotiations we haven’t seen are equal cause for concern: “And you have to wonder how much this sort of thing goes on — usually, one suspects, more subtly and implicitly, without as clear a paper trail.” The FSU revelations are just one example of the Koch brothers attempting to buy influence in service of their extreme self-serving agenda, candidate by candidate, institution by institution.
The past two weeks have seen Rick Perry skip the formal reading of his felony charges to do an event with the Kochs’ AFP in New Hampshire, then explain that he was being indicted for bribery (he’s not, shouldn’t have skipped that arraignment), then return to Dallas for AFP’s “Defending the American Dream Summit.”
At the end of this Tour-de-Koch, the gaffe-prone governor sat down with Ed Morrissey of the conservative blog Hot Air, and further revealed the extent to which Republicans revere the Kochs and court their political support — they even brag about it, apparently.
Perry opens the interview joking about how Rick Scott is always trying to one-up him, saying “Rick Scott always tries to one-up me, so you know, he was the first to call me and say ‘hey, we got Americans for Prosperity, what’d you get?'”
This was in reference to the previous year’s summit, which was held in Orlando, which sparked bewilderment from Tampa Bay Times:
Unless he’s worried about his base or the lingering threat of a primary challenge, it baffles us that Scott – who couldn’t find time to attend any of a three-day education summit he called himself – would find the time to speak at the AFP “Defending the American Dream Summit” Friday at Universal Florida. Maybe he hopes the Koch brothers, who founded AFP, will show some love to Scott’s Let’s Get to Work Committee.
But don’t worry, Perry got the last laugh. “Trust me, I will call Rick Scott and share with him that our crowd was a lot bigger than his!”
Let the record show, Rick Perry is not a laywer. Rick Scott is not a scientist. And neither of them is a moderate. They’re just a couple of scandal-plagued governors jockeying for the top spot in the Koch sweepstakes to the detriment of working families.
Watch the video:
The Farm Bill plays a critical role in Arkansas’s economy, benefiting the livelihood of the state’s farmers by guiding crop planting efforts, aiding in access to crop loans, and bolstering the state’s critical agriculture economy writ large. Whenever the future of this important legislation has been jeopardized by political back-and-forth, Arkansas’s agricultural community has vocalized its support for the Farm Bill – such as in 2013 when Chairman of the Arkansas Rice Federation Dow Brantley said that farmers “desperately need a farm bill written so we know where we stand” when it comes to deciding which crops to plant. That same year, Arkansas Farm Bureau President Randy Veach said that the state’s farmers and consumers would “suffer” if Congress did not pass a Farm Bill or extend the previous bill.
Yet despite obvious and vocal support for the Farm Bill, Americans for Prosperity (AFP), the Koch brothers’ primary political engine, has consistently been at the forefront of the fight against the Farm Bill. AFP opposed passage of the Farm Bill in 2014, and went so far as to attack crop insurance premium subsidies and revenue guarantees – intended to protect the livelihood of farmers – as “corporate welfare.” AFP also opposed the 2013 and 2012 Farm Bills, and advocated for making cuts to the crop insurance program in the 2012 bill. Taking their advocacy a step further, AFP is spending big to help their preferred candidate in Arkansas’s 2014 U.S. Senate contest, Republican Congressman Tom Cotton. Why? Because Congressman Cotton was the only member of the Arkansas congressional delegation to vote against the Farm Bill. Instead of standing with the rice and cotton farmers who drive Arkansas’s agriculture economy, Tom Cotton turned his back on his home state by joining the out-of-state billionaire Koch brothers in opposing the Farm Bill.
This Koch-fueled advocacy against a bill so critical to Arkansans and the state’s economy goes even deeper, though. AFP has a long history of involving itself in legislative battles around policies important to the agriculture community and to Arkansas in particular. For instance, in 2012 AFP supported prohibition on new enrollment in CRP (the Conservation Reserve Program), a policy enacted under President Ronald Reagan that pays farmers annual rent in exchange for conserving a portion of their lands, which protects the critical wildlife habitats enjoyed by nearly 700,000 sportsmen in Arkansas and better prepares farmers for drought conditions. This one program, which AFP opposes, directly benefits more than 3,000 Arkansas farms. Guess who joined AFP in opposing this pro-Arkansas program? That’s right, Congressman Cotton.
AFP also supported efforts to eliminate the Farm Bill’s Foreign Market Development Program and the Market Access Program (MAP), which help farmers sell their goods abroad. Once again, Congressman Cotton voted to eliminate these programs – a shocking move since he represents a state that produced agricultural exports worth $3.2 billion in 2008 and whose agricultural exports supported more than 37,000 jobs in the state as of 2009.
It’s clear that Tom Cotton and the Koch brothers are bad for Arkansas’s farmers. If you want more proof, American Bridge has the inside story on the long history of the Koch agenda harming agriculture in Arkansas.
- How does opposition to the minimum wage, a position now espoused by many of the Republican candidates you support, help workers trying to realize the American Dream?
- Will you urge the Republican Party to support another government shutdown, as Mitch McConnell implied he would do at your summit?
- It’s now abundantly clear that candidates around the country are attending your private retreats to pander for your money. You guys have clearly proven to be wise investors, so what do you expect in return for propping up these politicians’ carers?
As revealed by new reporting from The Nation and Huffington Post, GOP Senate candidates Mitch McConnell, Joni Ernst, Tom Cotton and Cory Gardner all had their chance to kiss the ring at the Koch brothers’ secretive donor conference earlier this year. Luckily for some of their compatriots, in-person attendance to pander to the high-rolling “seminar” attendees wasn’t a prerequisite for receiving shout-outs from the presidents of Americans for Prosperity and Freedom Partners, two key organizations in the Kochs’ political network.
From East to West, AFP president Tim Phillips and Freedom Partners president Marc Short highlighted the Senate campaigns of Virginia’s Ed Gillespie, North Carolina’s Thom Tillis, Louisiana’s Bill Cassidy, Minnesota’s Mike McFadden and Oregon’s Monica Wehby, illustrating that two of the Kochs’ top operatives consider all of these candidates to be exemplary of the anti-working class agenda the billionaires are pushing in this fall’s midterm elections. Put simply, all of these candidates are carrying water for the Kochs, AFP and Freedom Partners, or else Phillips and Short wouldn’t have sung their praises to the Kochs’ network of mysterious donors. Phillips told donors at the event that North Carolina’s Tillis offers “the best opportunity” and that McFadden is “a good candidate,” while Wehby is “running a strong campaign” despite being in “a tough blue state.” In extolling the virtues of Gillespie and Cassidy, Phillips and Short noted that Virginia is a “key state for us” and that energy issues (near and dear to Koch Industries’ heart, of course) represent a “key battleground” in Louisiana.
With the Freedom Partners network committing to spend $500 million in this midterm cycle, including AFP’s pledge to pour over $125 million into the election, these new revelations shed light on which candidates the billionaire Koch brothers view as a sound investment. More on Phillips’ and Short’s’ comments lauding key Senate candidates after the jump:
What do Joni Ernst, Tom Cotton, Cory Gardner, and Mitch McConnell all have in common? They all share key aspects of the Kochs’ extreme, self-serving, anti-working families agenda.
New reporting tonight by The Nation and Huffington Post on audio from a secretive Koch donor conference – where Ernst, Gardner, Cotton, and McConnell all spoke – demonstrates these candidates’ gratitude for the Kochs’ support, and the extent to which they share the extreme Koch agenda.
Whether opposing an increase in the minimum wage (or opposing a federal minimum wage entirely), supporting efforts that would voucherize Medicare, opposing legislative attempts to remedy pay discrimination, or opposing (even “philosophically”) policies that would directly assist those they seek to serve (e.g., the Farm Bill in Arkansas and Renewable Fuel Standards in Iowa), Koch-backed candidates are putting their Koch-backed agenda first above all else.Supporting research after the jump.
- 3-ring binders
- Anti-government propaganda
Paid for by American Bridge 21st Century Foundation