Sit down for a nice TV dinner with all your favorite family members — including the beloved Koch brothers of course!

In a Boston Globe report yesterday on “dark money” in campaigns, they offered this lovely nugget: “One of every 16 television ads in US Senate races from January 2013 through August were paid for by a single group, Americans for Prosperity.”

One out of every 16 Senate ads the country! And that’s to say nothing of the flurry of other groups that are funded by the Koch brothers. The Kochs’ defenders like to pontificate about free speech and demonize those who continue to make part of the conversation about the billionaire brothers.

But Kochs have truly inserted themselves into the conversation. Not just the political conversation, the dinner conversation. At every. Single. Commercial break.

AFP adds Wisconsin to its roadshow of misleading ads

To understand the relationship the Koch brothers’ political arm, Americans for Prosperity, has with the truth, you needn’t look any further than the group’s scorecard on PolitiFact. During this midterm cycle, the group has racked up a consistent stream of “mostly false” and “false” ratings for their claims in ads. A toddler taking a “true or false” quiz is more likely to get a “true” than this outfit, which has also employed paid actors to spout falsified stories about the Affordable Care Act.

The latest “mostly false” rating was issued in response to a misleading mailer AFP is circulating in Northern Wisconsin. According to the mailer, Republican Governor Scott Walker’s administration is responsible for the region’s mining economy “moving forward” and for more people “getting good, high-paying jobs.” Per PolitiFact, AFP’s citation for this claim is Senate Bill 1, a controversial bill partially written by a mining company with significant interests in Northern Wisconsin and signed into law in 2013. As PolitiFact notes, “taken together, that suggests a boom in jobs related to the iron ore mine.” And yet, when they dug into the claim further, PolitiFact only found evidence of about 10 miners who are employed at the new iron ore mine project, which is in its early stages. PolitiFact notes that AFP claims that it also was including sand mining in its claim, yet the bill cited was specifically related to “metallic” mining.

Given that Scott Walker is a favorite of the Koch brothers and their allies, it’s hardly a surprise that AFP is sending misleading campaign mailers on his behalf. The “mostly false” mailer is especially subversive when you consider the mining project and Senate Bill being referenced. There are numerous questions about whether the bill was part of a pay-to-play scheme, after the mining company Gogebic Taconite gave $700,000 to the Koch-affiliated Wisconsin Club for Growth in support of Walker’s 2012 campaign in the recall election, before the bill the company helped author was signed into law early in 2013.

In effect, not only is AFP Wisconsin misleading voters about Scott Walker’s mining job creation record, they’re inflating the benefits of an early-stage project involving a company whose donations to another Koch outfit and ties to the Walker administration are being called into question.

The Koch brothers are the top donors to their super PAC

Earlier this year, the “secret bank” for the Koch brothers’ political network announced it was forming yet another entity, the Freedom Partners Action Fund, a super PAC. At the time, the formation of the super PAC was noted as being novel for two primary reasons. First, it would, unlike other Koch groups confined to thinly-veiled “issue advocacy,” be able to directly encourage voters to vote for extreme, Koch-approved Republican candidates. Secondly, as such, it would be required to disclose its donors in FEC filings.

POLITICO dug in to the first of these filings with an eye for the new PAC’s donor list. In a surprise to no one, the Koch brothers combined were the top donors to their new organization, contributing $2 million each. While the report notes that there are other super wealthy contributors to the organization, the Koch family remains firmly atop the list. POLITICO suggests that Koch allies’ creation of Freedom Partners Action Fund, with its enhanced reporting requirements, could be connected to an apparent effort by the Koch apparatus to be more transparent about its political activities. Given that there is still precious little information available about the super PAC, this seems unlikely, especially since so far, its biggest public role has been to pick up where another Koch arm, Americans for Prosperity, left off with television advertising in this fall’s midterm elections. A new shell in the Koch money shell game does not transparency make.

Freedom Partners Action Fund will spend an estimated $25 million in ads supporting Republican Senate candidates this fall. No matter how many super PAC donors it boasts, the fact remains that its roster of Senate candidates support policies that benefit the group’s top donors, the Koch brothers.

Federal judge with ties to Kochs rules in Scott Walker’s favor

Enforcement of campaign finance laws in Scott Walker’s Wisconsin is the ultimate nursery tale gone bad, with the fox guarding the henhouse at every turn. Case in point: a federal judge with ties to the Koch brothers ruled yesterday that outside groups, like the many organizations receiving Koch funding, can legally coordinate on “issue advocacy” with political campaigns, like that of Koch favorite Governor Scott Walker.

Given that Walker faces an ongoing John Doe investigation into potential illegal coordination of efforts with outside groups during the 2012 recall election, it was hardly a surprise when his Attorney General, J.B. Van Hollen, declined to represent the state’s Government Accountability Board in a lawsuit challenging the coordination rule. The lawsuit was argued before U.S. District Judge Rudolph Randa, who issued an injunction yesterday overturning the Wisconsin state law banning coordination between political campaigns and “independent” political groups, provided that the groups are only engaging in “issue advocacy.”

This is not Randa’s first ruling related to the law banning coordination, as Randa previously ruled in the John Doe inquiry that coordination was acceptable, so long as the outside groups are not advocating for voting for or against a specific candidate. He then ordered a halt to the John Doe probe, a ruling that was later overturned by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

When you examine Randa’s ties to the Koch brothers, the rulings look less like consistent opposition to the coordination rule, and more like a concerted effort to legalize coordination between Walker’s campaign and Koch-affiliated groups. Randa has attended an expenses-paid Koch brothers junket, and one of his assistants is married to a Walker campaign attorney. Koch-funded groups have spent millions on Walker’s behalf and in support of his extreme political agenda.

Campaign finance experts note that there’s reason to believe this ruling will also be overturned, but in the meantime, a judge with ties to both the Kochs and their favored candidate has once again wielded his gavel to their benefit.

Koch tied Judge Ruled To Legalize Coordination between Koch groups and campaigns

Randa Issued Ruling Striking Down Prohibition On Coordination Between Outside Groups And Campaigns

Judge Rudolph Randa Overturned Wisconsin Law Banning Coordination Between Campaigns And Issue Advocacy Groups.  According to the Wisconsin State Journal, “U.S. District Judge Rudolph Randa on Tuesday ordered Wisconsin officials not to enforce state law banning coordination between campaigns and “independent” political groups so long as the groups engage only in so-called issue advocacy. Randa’s order came in a lawsuit filed by Citizens for Responsible Government Advocates against the state Government Accountability Board and Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm. Randa had previously ruled in a John Doe investigation that groups can coordinate with candidates so long as they don’t expressly advocate for or against a specific candidate, and he ordered a halt to the probe.” [Wisconsin State Journal, 10/14/14]

Judge Had Ties To Koch Brothers And Walker Campaign

Judge Randa Attended Expenses Paid Junkets Funded By Koch Brothers

Judge Who Paused John Doe Probe Into Walker Campaign Finance Regularly Attended Expenses –Paid Judicial Conferences Funded By The Koch Brothers. According to The Center For Public Integrity, “The federal judge who ordered an end to an investigation into possible illegal campaign coordination between Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and conservative groups during two recent recall elections regularly attended expenses-paid judicial conferences sponsored by conservative organizations including the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation and the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation — groups that have funded efforts against campaign finance reform.” [Center For Public Integrity, 5/27/14]

Husband Of Assistant To Judge Randa Was A Walker Campaign Attorney

Wife Of Walker Campaign Attorney Worked As Assistant For Judge Randa. According to The Wisconsin State Journal “An assistant to the federal judge who ordered a halt to the state’s secret investigation into possible illegal campaign coordination between Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign and conservative groups is married to a lawyer for Walker’s campaign — which could be grounds for a judge to step down from a case. Steven Biskupic, a former U.S. attorney who is representing a party in the secretive John Doe probe, wouldn’t say Thursday whether his wife Cary Biskupic’s employment with Judge Rudolph Randa posed a conflict of interest.” [Wisconsin State Journal, 5/9/14]

Koch Controlled Outside Groups Supported And Spent Money On Walker’s Behalf In Wisconsin

David Koch: “We’re Helping Him, As We Should. We’ve Gotten Pretty Good At This Over The Years. We’ve Spent A Lot Of Money In Wisconsin. We’re Going To Spend More.” According to the Capital Times, “According to the Post, Koch said of Walker: ‘We’re helping him, as we should. We’ve gotten pretty good at this over the years. We’ve spent a lot of money in Wisconsin. We’re going to spend more.’ The Post added: ‘By ‘we’ he says he means Americans for Prosperity, which is spending about $700,000 on an ‘It’s working’ television ad buy in the state.’” [Capital Times, 2/22/12]

Groups Affiliated With The Koch Brothers Spent Money On Ads Supporting Walker

Americans for Prosperity Announced $900,000 to Support Scott Walker’s Reelection Campaign.  [TPM, 5/27/14]

February-March 2011: Club For Growth And Americans For Prosperity Spent Over $220,000 On Ads For Walker In Wisconsin. According to Green Bay Press-Gazette, “The Club for Growth Wisconsin, a conservative organization with ties to New York real-estate developer Howie Rich, has doled out the most money so far, purchasing 826 ads at a cost of $193,605 – $30,000 more than next highest spender, the union group AFL-CIO. Americans for Prosperity, a group with strong financial backing from the billionaire Koch brothers, has been highly active as well, pumping $34,365 into local markets for 156 ads to run from Feb. 23 to March 2 in favor of Walker. Two groups against Walker’s agenda – the Greater Wisconsin Committee and America’s Families First – have spent a combined $120,000 on ads. Even before Walker laid out the specifics of his budget repair bill, the Club for Growth Wisconsin was running advertisements in support of the Republican governor.” [Green Bay Press-Gazette, 3/9/11]

Americans For Prosperity Established A Stand With Scott Walker Website Amidst The Protests Against His Budget. According to The Capital Times, “The billionaire brothers whose political action committee gave Gov. Scott Walker $43,000 and helped fund a multimillion-dollar attack ad campaign against his opponent during the 2010 gubernatorial election have quietly opened a lobbying office in Madison just off the Capitol Square. Charles and David Koch, who co-own Koch Industries Inc. and whose combined worth is estimated at $43 billion, have been recently tied with Walker’s push to eliminate collective bargaining rights for public workers. The two have long backed conservative causes and groups including Americans for Prosperity, which organized the tea party rally Saturday in support of Walker’s plan to strip public workers of collective bargaining rights and recently launched the Stand with Scott Walker website.” [The Capital Times, 3/2/11]

Americans For Prosperity Purchased $700,000 In Air Time Across Wisconsin Touting The Accomplishments Of Walker. According to the Wisconsin State Journal, “Wisconsin’s political spending blitz is getting a fresh infusion of cash from a national conservative group that’s spending $700,000 on a series of commercials touting the accomplishments of Gov. Scott Walker. The nonprofit foundation of Americans for Prosperity, the group founded by billionaire conservative activists David and Charles Koch, on Thursday confirmed to Washington Post blogger Greg Sargent it purchased air time across Wisconsin for a 60-second spot and another ad to be unveiled next week.” [Wisconsin State Journal, 2/10/12]

Americans For Prosperity Launched A $500,000 Ad In Support Of Walker’s Initiatives. According to The Associated Press State & Local Wire, “Two conservative groups have launched a new television ad supportive of Gov. Scott Walker’s initiatives, including curbing public employees’ collective bargaining rights. The 60-second ad is by the Americans for Prosperity Foundation and the MacIver Institute. Matt Seaholm, state director of Americans for Prosperity, said Friday the buy is for more than $500,000 and the ad is running in Milwaukee, Green Bay, La Crosse and Wausau.” [The Associated Press State & Local Wire, 11/18/11]

Koch Connection“National Federation Of Independent Business (NFIB) Has Endorsed Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker For Reelection. According to the Center for Media and Democracy, “The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) has endorsed Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker for reelection. No surprise here. The NFIB purports to represent small business, but receives much of its funding from big business interests including the Kochs, the far-right Bradley Foundation, and Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS — which are the same groups that have long supported Walker.” [PRWatch.org, 10/1/14]

Koch network shifts TV spending to its “secret bank” to avoid disclosure

The sprawling, secretive network of Koch-backed groups have vowed to spend exorbitantly to influence this fall’s midterm elections, to the tune of $500 million. Although numerous groups comprise the “Kochtopus,” two entities are particularly central to the billionaires’ political spending activities: their political arm, Americans for Prosperity, and their “secret bank,” Freedom Partners Action Fund. According to a recent Bloomberg report, Koch spending on TV ads this cycle has shifted from the former to the latter, in what amounts to just the latest move in the Kochs’ ceaseless, expensive political spending shell game.

To date, AFP has purchased significantly more airtime than Freedom Partners — from January 7 to September 30 of this year, AFP has run 28,735 ads in Senate races to Freedom Partners’ 8,185, according to Bloomberg. Yet as ofSeptember 5, AFP has all but “gone dark” on the airwaves, transitioning television spending to Freedom Partners. Coincidence? Seemingly not. As the Bloomberg report notes, September 5 marked a milestone — 60 days from Election Day — that would have required AFP, technically a nonprofit, to make additional disclosures about its political spending under IRS rules. Freedom Partners Action Fund, a super PAC, does not face these same requirements. Given that the billionaire brothers went to extreme lengths (and legal fees) to create several sub-entities to obscure the flow of money in and out of Freedom Partners, it takes no stretch of the imagination to believe that this latest move is meant to skirt disclosure rules.

In all likelihood, we won’t know exactly what Freedom Partners is up to this election season until much later, when their tax returns from this period are filed. Even then, the Kochs and their allies go to great lengths to obscure their spending on behalf of extreme GOP candidates, who would be in “bad shape” without the leg up they’re getting from the Kochs.

Koch-founded CATO Institute lauds Kochs’ favorite governors

Earlier this week, the CATO Institute, a Koch-founded think tank, issued its 2014 “Fiscal Policy Report Card on America’s Governors.” Given the organization’s close ties to the billionaire brothers, it’s of little surprise that the report card issued “A” ratings to a handful of Republican governors who have implemented the Kochs’ self-serving agenda in their states and “F” ratings to eight governors, all Democrats who prioritize support for working families.

High atop CATO’s “A” list is Pat McCrory, the governor of North Carolina and reckless steward of what the Kochs’ political arm, Americans for Prosperity, lovingly refers to as their “model state.” He has implemented an extreme conservative agenda, dictated by the Koch brothers and one of their top lieutenants, Art Pope, who only recently stepped down from his lofty position as budget director in McCrory’s cabinet. In giving McCrory a top score, CATO cites a tax package he signed into law, which slashed income taxes for the state’s wealthiest citizens, reducing state revenue by at least $500 million and resulting in cuts to funding for education and other services.

Tied in first place with McCrory is Governor Sam Brownback of Kansas, the Kochs’ home state. Brownback, with the vocal support of Americans for Prosperity, has steered Kansas to the far-right by implementing a series of extreme measures straight out of the Koch playbook. Kansas has seen public education funding slashed under Brownback, as well as cuts to public jobs, yet the state’s wealthy elites have seen significant tax cuts, likely including the sons of Wichita themselves. Brownback now faces a battle for reelection, largely thanks to outrage against the disastrous, Koch-approved course he’s charted for the state.

Rounding out CATO’s “A” ratings are Indiana Governor Mike Pence, who is considered to be a potential Koch favorite in 2016, and Paul LePage of Maine, who has received the support of his state’s AFP chapter, despite his grave case of foot-in-mouth disease. Considering that all of its top honorees are lauded for implementing extreme, billionaire-friendly policies, CATO’s recent report card is yet another example of a think tank operating under the heavy influence of Koch.

Christie Angrily Defends Koch Brothers After Ducey Is Caught Professing Love To Them

Yesterday, The Nation released more damning audio from a recent secretive summit hosted by the Koch brothers and attended by key Republican candidates. This time, the cajoler-in-chief was Arizona gubernatorial candidate Doug Ducey, who made his adoration for the Kochs’ Americans for Prosperity clear, saying “I can’t emphasize enough the power of organizations like this.”

In his attempt to solicit Koch money, Ducey promises to enact an extreme agenda similar to the one Scott Walker jammed through in Wisconsin — one which is highly unpopular, gutted education funding, and has left Wisconsin’s economy reeling.

Well, last night, Brahm Resnik at KPNX in Phoenix, called Ducey out, asking him about his connection to these shady billionaires. But as luck would have it, fellow education raider and noted loudmouth Chris Christie was in town, so before Ducey was forced to defend himself, Christie went into one of his patented angry, dismissive rants, belittling the question.

RESNIK: You’ll hear Christie jump in before Ducey could answer my question about why he meets in secret with the Koch Brothers. Now those brothers, Charles and David, are billionaire industrialists who host these beauty pageants for candidates for the benefit of their wealthy donors. Ducey’s campaign has benefited from several hundred thousand dollars from Koch-connected organizations, all the money from anonymous donors. Ducey is also supported by Sean Noble, an Arizona operative who is one of the leading bundlers of Koch brothers’ cash. Now watch Ducey begin to answer my question a few minutes ago, before Christie jumps in.

DUCEY: [mouth open, looking terrified...]

CHRISTIE: Well that’s your opinion. Your opinion is that are that these folks are folks with dark money…

RESNIK: You’re saying the Koch brothers and these entities are not dark money givers?

CHRISTIE: Listen, what I’m saying very clearly is that everyone has a right to participate in the political process … but no, I don’t believe the Koch brothers are that.

Watch the entire priceless interaction above.

 

The National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) desperately wants you to believe it has the interests of small business owners at heart, as do the eleven GOP Senate candidates the group has endorsed in this fall’s midterm elections. In reality, the group’s biggest patrons are the oil baron Koch brothers and it is firmly in favor of tax cuts that would benefit the wealthy substantially while benefiting the vast majority of small business owners not at all.

NFIB has been issuing endorsements throughout the midterm cycle on behalf of extreme Conservative candidates like Joni Ernst and Terri Lynn Land. The most recent Senate candidate to receive the NFIB’s endorsement is none other than Koch bro Scott Brown, who in 2011 gushed to David Koch that  “your support during the election, it meant a ton. It made a difference and I can certainly use it again.” Not ones to leave a carpet bagging bro out in the New Hampshire cold, the Kochs’ political arm, Americans for Prosperity, has been pouring money into running false advertisements against Brown’s opponent. It’s hardly a surprise then that another Koch-backed entity, NFIB, has stepped in with radio and web ads of its own as of Monday.

Last week, the NFIB also endorsed North Carolina’s Speaker Thom Tillis, who helped make law tax breaks for the state’s wealthiest, cuts which are estimated to have reduced the Tarheel’s state revenue by $500 million, roughly the same amount that Tillis cut from the state’s education budget. The Kochs’ AFP was so moved by Speaker Tillis’ leadership in balancing tax breaks on the backs of North Carolina’s teachers that they literally held rallies in his honor. Given that tax breaks for the wealthy are “near the top of [NFIB's] political agenda,” according to Mother Jones, they were all too happy to join the chorus of Koch-backed groups singing Tillis’ praises.

In addition to its recent endorsements for Scott Brown and Thom Tillis, the NFIB has already endorsed Koch favorites Joni Ernst, Mitch McConnell, Tom Cotton and Cory Gardner, all of whom were in attendance at the Kochs’ secretive summer donor “seminar.” Top Koch operatives at the summit also praised Monica Wehby and Bill Cassidy, who were not in attendance, but have still benefited from Koch backing and NFIB endorsements. Pat Roberts, Shelley Moore Capito and Terri Lynn Land round out the list of 2014 GOP Senate candidates with NFIB support.

While these extreme candidates attempt to pass the NFIB’s endorsement off as pro-small business bona fides, the reality is that it’s just another piece of evidence that the GOP’s Senate candidates are prioritizing the Kochs’ self-serving agenda at the expense of working class families.

NFIB Senate Endorsements  

Roberts

Roberts Was Endorsed For A Fourth Term By The National Federation Of Independent Business. According to NFIB, “The National Federation of Independent Business, Kansas’ and the nation’s leading small-business association, today endorsed Pat Roberts for a fourth term in the U.S. Senate. NFIB announced its support at a Roberts campaign event at Jayhawk Plastic, an NFIB member business in Olathe. ‘Our members support the candidates who support small business, and there’s absolutely no doubt that Senator Roberts supports small business,’ said Lisa Goeas, NFIB vice president for Political and Grassroots. ‘Beginning in the House and continuing in the Senate, Pat Roberts has voted with small business on key issues 94 percent of the time,’ Goeas said. ‘He clearly understands the challenges facing small-business owners, their employees and their families, and we’re confident he will continue to work for them in the years ahead to create an environment where small businesses can thrive and create jobs.’” [NFIB.com, 3/18/14]

Tillis

Tillis Received Endorsement Of National Federation Of Independent Businesses While Campaigning With Gov. Jeb Bush At A Small Lighting Warehouse In Greensboro. According to the Charlotte Observer, “Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush came to North Carolina on Wednesday to stump for Republican U.S. Senate candidate Thom Tillis, urging the state’s voters to help get America back on track by restoring Republicans to power in the Senate. Bush appeared with Tillis at an event at a small lighting warehouse outside Greensboro, where he also picked up the endorsement of the National Federation of Independent Business.” [Charlotte Observer, 9/24/14]

Cotton

Cotton Was Endorsed By National Federation Of Independent Businesses, Part Of A Coalition Of Groups Backed By The Koch Brothers. According to the Stephens, “The National Federation of Independent Businesses has endorsed Rep. Tom Cotton, R-Dardanelle, for U.S. Senate in Arkansas. ‘Our members support the members of Congress who support small business, and Congressman Cotton’s record speaks for itself,’ said NFIB Vice President Lisa Goeas. An NFIB Congressional Scorecard issued for 2013 found that Cotton supported the group on all seven House votes that it rated. Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., voted with the group on two of four Senate votes that it rated in 2013. The group claims 7,000 Arkansas members. The Arkansas Democratic Party issued a statement dismissive of the endorsement, noting that the Washington Post had identified the NFIB as being part of a coalition of nonprofit groups backed by billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch.” [Stephens, 7/1/14]

Gardner

Gardner Was Endorsed By The National Federation Of Independent Business (NFIB). According to Cory Gardner’s Press Release, “The nation’s preeminent organization of small businesses endorsed Cory Gardner for Colorado’s United States Senate seat today. Citing Gardner’s work in the House of Representatives for pro-small business policies, the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) gave their full support to his campaign. ‘I’m honored to have earned the endorsement of the small business community,’ Gardner said. ‘As a boy working at the family farm implement dealership in Yuma, I learned the value of hard work and the importance of small businesses in the community. Businesses like these are the foundation upon which a strong and durable economy is built. I’m proud to be a champion for small business and I pledge to continue the fight for pro-growth, pro-job policies in the U.S. Senate.’” [Cory Gardner’s Press Release, Viewed 9/30/14]

McConnell

McConnell Was Endorsed By The National Federation Of Independent Business. According to the National Federation of Independent Business, “The National Federation of Independent Business, Kentucky’s and the nation’s leading small-business association, today endorsed Mitch McConnell for a sixth term in the U.S. Senate. NFIB announced its support for at a McConnell campaign event at CSS Distribution Group, an NFIB member business. ‘Our members support the candidates who support small business, and Senator McConnell’s record speaks for itself,’ said Lisa Goeas, NFIB vice president for Political and Grassroots. ‘Over the past 30 years, Mitch McConnell has voted with small business on key issues 95 percent of the time.’ ‘He understands that burdening small businesses with unnecessary regulations and excessive taxes makes it even harder for them to grow and create jobs, and he’s committed to bringing the same commonsense approach to reform in Washington,’ Goeas said. Senator McConnell achieved a 100 percent NFIB voting record in the 112th Congress, co-sponsoring key bills to reform the nation’s regulatory processes so small businesses can be more competitive (S. Amdt. 390); control government spending through a balanced budget amendment (S.J. Res. 10); overturn the National Labor Relations Board’s so-called ‘streamlined elections’ rule which would impact business owners’ rights to seek review of pre-election rulings (S.J. Res. 36); and provide tax relief to small-business owners (S. Amdt. 2573).” [National Federation of Independent Business, 2/14/14]

Wehby

Wehby Was “Thrilled” To Receive The National Federation Of Independent Business’ (NFIB) Endorsement. According to Monica Wehby’s Press Release, “‘I am thrilled to have earned the support of a group that is a voice for the near 350,000 small businesses here in the state of Oregon,’ said Dr. Monica Wehby. ‘I know that the job killing regulations, high taxes, and red tape coming out of Washington are not a recipe for success in our small business community. I promise to fight the policies endorsed by Jeff Merkley, which have resulted in less opportunities and less growth for Oregon’s small businesses.’” [Monica Wehby’s Press Release, Viewed 7/17/14]

Land

Land Was Endorsed By National Federation Of Independent Businesses. According to a Terri Lynn Land Press Release, “Today Michigan members of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) endorsed Terri Lynn Land for U.S. Senate at an event at Teachout Security in Flint. This is the latest of many endorsements by Michigan job creators. In recent weeks, the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, Michigan Farm Bureau, and others announced their support for Land. “I am honored to have the support of the Michigan small businesses who make up the National Federation of Independent Business,” said Terri Lynn Land. “As a small business owner myself, and having grown up in a small family business, I know firsthand how burdensome and costly federal regulations are to doing business and providing for the family. As U.S. Senator, I will fight for Michigan’s small businesses by opposing job-killing regulations from the EPA and by working to reform the tax code by making it fairer and simpler with lower rates. And most importantly, I will work to repeal and replace ObamaCare with free market solutions that don’t crush job creators, cause people to pay more, or lose their doctor.” [Terri Lynn Land for Senate, Press Release, 7/1/14]

Capito

The National Federation Of Independent Business (NFIB) Endorsed Capito For U.S. Senate. According to a press release from the National Federation of Independent Business, “The National Federation of Independent Business, West Virginia’s and the nation’s leading small-business association, today endorsed U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito for the U.S. Senate. The endorsement was announced at an NFIB event at Quality Machine Co. Inc., an NFIB member business in Bridgeport.” [National Federation of Independent Business, 5/7/14]

Lisa Goeas, NFIB Vice President For Political And Grassroots: “She’s Stood With Our Members On Issues Ranging From The Repeal Of Obamacare’s Employer Mandate To Promoting New Energy Solutions, Which Will Reduce Overhead Costs For Our Members.” According to a press release from the National Federation of Independent Business, “‘Our members support the candidates who support small business, and Representative Capito’s record speaks for itself,’ said Lisa Goeas, NFIB vice president for Political and Grassroots. ‘She’s stood with our members on issues ranging from the repeal of Obamacare’s employer mandate to promoting new energy solutions, which will reduce overhead costs for our members.” [National Federation of Independent Business, 5/7/14]

Cassidy

The National Federation Of Independent Business Endorsed Cassidy For Senate. According to the National Federation of Independent Business website, “The National Federation of Independent Business, Louisiana’s and America’s leading small-business association, today endorsed Bill Cassidy for U.S. Senate. “Our members support the candidates who support small business, and Congressman Cassidy’s record speaks for itself,” said Lisa Goeas, NFIB vice president for Political and Grassroots. Cassidy has earned a 97-percent lifetime NFIB voting record in the U.S. House of Representatives.’” [National Federation of Independent Business, 9/24/14]

  • The National Federation Of Independent Launched Radio And Online Ads Asking For Voters To Support Cassidy. According to the National Federation of Independent Business website, “In addition to today’s endorsement, NFIBlaunched a flight of radio and online ads asking voters to support Cassidy in one of the most closely-watched races in the country as control of the Senate hangs in the balance.  The effort is part of the NFIB’s Vote for Main Street campaign.  Click here to listen to the radio ad.’” [National Federation of Independent Business, 9/24/14]

Brown

NFIB Endorsed Brown For Senate. According to a James Pindell’s Twitter account, “.@nfib_nh to endorse @SenScottBrown Monday for #nhsen. With that are radio ads and this web ad https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmqUiN3M6KU … #nhpolitics.” [James Pindell Twitter, 9/28/14] 

  • Brown Kicked Off A “Better Jobs For All” Tour After He Was Endorsed By The NFIB. According to a press release by the Scott Brown Campaign, “today, Scott Brown will kick off his ‘Better Jobs For All’ tour with an endorsement from the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) at North Country Tractor in Pembroke. The NFIB, which is one of the nation’s leading voices for small business, has given Brown a lifetime 94% rating for his pro-growth policies and positions. Meanwhile, Senator Jeanne Shaheen has a lifetime 30% rating, including a 0% score during this Congress. In their endorsement of Brown, both the NFIBand North Country Tractor will cite Brown’s opposition to Obamacare, and specifically the looming business mandate that will go into effect after the election. North Country Tractor currently employs 47 people, but needs more employees to effectively grow their business. Under Obamacare, businesses with 100 or more full-time employees must offer health insurance or pay a $2,000 per employee penalty starting January 1, 2015. This mandate will be extended to businesses with 50-99 employees in 2016. ​ On his ‘Better Jobs For All’ tour, Brown will travel the state to tour businesses and join roundtable discussions about the current challenges impacting New Hampshire’s economy, ranging from burdensome regulations to higher energy costs.” [Scott Brown Campaign, 9/28/14]

Ernst

Ernst Was Endorsed By The National Federation Of Independent Business. According to Joni for Iowa – Press Release, “The momentum continues to build for Joni Ernst, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Iowa. Showing strong support in the small business community that creates thousands of jobs across the state, Joni is proud to receive the endorsement of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB). Noting Joni’s proven record on issues important to Iowa business owners, NFIB Iowa State Director, Kristin Failor, said, ‘Joni has lived a life of service and in the Legislature she’s been one of the most dependable supporters of small business.’ She continued, ‘Iowa small businesses badly need an advocate in Washington and our members are very excited by her candidacy.’ In response to the NFIBendorsement, Ernst stated, ‘I know that small businesses play a big role in many towns all across Iowa. Small business owners are community leaders. They create jobs and grow our economy. I’ve worked hard in the Iowa Senate to make sure businesses in our state are able to grow and thrive. In the U.S. Senate I’ll fight to make sure we put in place pro-growth policies and remove burdensome regulations so that Iowa’s small businesses continue to flourish and succeed.’” [Joni for Iowa – Press Release, 8/19/14]

CNN Headline: “Koch Bros.-Backed Group Gave Millions To Small Business Lobby”  [CNN, 11/21/13]

CNN: “The Champions Of Main Street America Got More Money Last Year From A Group Backed By Billionaire Industrialists Charles And David Koch Than Any Other Single Source.”  According to CNN:  The National Federation of Independent Business is one of the most influential small-business advocacy groups in the country. They battle against government regulation, higher taxes and, perhaps most famously, Obamacare. And they do it all as the self-described ‘voice of small business.’  But it turns out that the champions of Main Street America got more money last year from a group backed by billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch than any other single source.”  [CNN, 11/21/13]

CNN: NFIB and Affiliated Groups Received $2.5 Million from Freedom Partners.  According to CNN: “NFIB and its affiliated groups received $2.5 million from Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, a conservative advocacy group with deep ties to the Koch empire. Of the five men that sit on the group’s board, four are current or former employees of Koch companies and one is a friend of Charles Koch’s.  Freedom Partners gave the NFIB $1.5 million last year, the biggest single contribution the federation received, according to tax records. The Koch-backed group gave three other NFIB-affiliated group another $1 million, making Freedom Partners among the top two biggest contributors to those groups, records show.”  [CNN, 11/21/13]

NFIB Is Prominent Defender Of Tax Breaks For The Wealthy. According to Mother Jones, “[Romney's] argument has the support of a powerful ally: the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB), a ‘nonpartisan’ small-business advocacy group that has put defending the Bush tax cuts for the richest of the rich near the top of its political agenda. Often cited as the leading voice of small business, the NFIB was founded in 1943 by a former US Chamber of Commerce staffer who thought that business groups were neglecting the little guys. Today it claims 350,000 members, chapters in all 50 states, and a $95 million budget. In May, the Washington Post cited the NFIB to back up Romney’s attacks on Obama’s tax plan, reporting that the group had given an F to the portion of Obama’s budget that deals with taxing the wealthy. The NFIB’s defense of the rich offers handy political cover for the Learjet crowd, but few among the legions of small business owners that it represents will benefit from its lobbying. Only 3 percent of small businesses net more than $250,000 a year, the lowest income that would be affected by Obama’s tax plan.” [Mother Jones, 7/23/12]

Government Watchdog Public Citizen: “The Idea That Koch Brothers Money In Some Way Is Going To Help Small Businesses Is Laughable. What They’re Buying Is The Ability To Help Set The Agenda.”  According to CNN: The big-money donations are raising questions about whose agenda NFIB is serving, that of mom-and-pop businesses or the captains of big industry.  Lisa Gilbert of the government watchdog group Public Citizen said the NFIB is “taking the name of small business in vain.’ ‘The idea that Koch brothers money in some way is going to help small businesses is laughable,” Gilbert said. “What they’re buying is the ability to help set the agenda.’”  [CNN, 11/21/13]

What Grinches Would Cause an End to Flights to the North Pole?

Frontier Airlines is ending its season flights to Fairbanks, and it’s all the Koch brothers’ fault. Actually though.
 
According to KTUU, “A spokeswoman for Fairbanks International Airport says the airline cited the closure of the Flint Hills Resources refinery in North Pole and higher fuel costs as a major factor in the decision. Flint Hills ended production in May.”
 
Flint Hills, a Koch Industries subsidiary, came under fire after closing their North Pole refinery in February, killing 80 jobs and facing accusations of violating environmental standards. And Alaska continues to pay the price for the Koch brothers’ self-interested decision to close the refinery — from the toxic groundwater they left behind, to increased costs on road construction. Frontier flights to Fairbanks are the latest victim.
 
The Koch brothers continue to bankroll ads attacking Dan Sullivan’s opponent in their attempt to buy him a Senate seat. What he needs is an airplane seat so back home to Ohio after he loses the election — hope he wasn’t planning on flying Frontier!

To the Surprise of No One, Kochs Spend Big to Buy Access to Republican Governors

The New York Times reported yesterday that the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a government and ethics watchdog group, uncovered a treasure trove of documents exposing the major corporate donors to the Republican Governors Association. Names on the list include Walmart, Exxon Mobil, and – yep, you guessed it – Koch Companies Public Sector, a.k.a. Koch Industries’ lobbying arm.

While that isn’t surprising, it does shed some light on just what the Kochs and their big-money pals are trying to buy: golf outings, policy breakfasts, secret donor meetings, an “intimate gathering” with Republican governors and Republican VIPs (whatever that means), and the Republican governors’ ears. In short: Access. Influence. Sway.

These donors would be model residents in Kochville, the Koch brothers’ self-serving utopia where horrible things like the minimum wage, social security, and environmental protections don’t exist. And, for the low, low price of $100,000 – or two easy payments of $50,000 – the Kochs and their prospective Kochvillians get “the ability to bring their particular expertise to the political process,” which is code for tax cuts for the wealthy and cuts to education, among many, many other anti-worker and anti-middle class policies.

The truth is, this is a bargain compared to what the Kochs are spending on their extreme Senate candidates this year alone. The Koch brothers’ Americans for Prosperity plans to spend $125 million, and when you count the Kochs’ dark money donor network, that number rises to half a billion dollars.

It’s no question that too much money in politics leads to self-serving policies and self-serving politicians – just ask former Virginia Governor (and former chairman of the Republican Governors Association) Bob McDonnell, who was recently convicted of felony corruption for his misdeeds in office. And now nearly half of all current Republican governors are facing charges of corruption or other scandals. So as these governors sell their loyalties to their backers, they should remember that the Kochs and their pals won’t be there to bail them out when things go south because they’re just as self-serving as their agenda.

Paid for by American Bridge 21st Century Foundation