Sorry, we were wrong about the Kochs

I could almost hear Sarah McLaughlin’s ‘I Will Remember You’ playing as I read about how brave the Kochs had to be in the New York Times this AM.

Yes, workers have died at their plants from safety violations. Sure they have fired people and outsourced jobs. OK, they may have polluted the environment. And fine, they want to take away people’s health care and pensions. But think about what THEY have had to go through.

Can you imagine how hurtful it must be to have people point out the millions they spend on lobbying, tax breaks their companies take, and where they argue for MORE regulation on the solar industry when they want to claim they just want the government to leave them alone?

It must be so hard to take a few minutes away from the country club to answer some questions from reporters. And the horror of having to miss […]

Charles Koch Wants GOP To Emulate Confederacy Sympathizer William Gladstone, Whose Family Owned Slaves

As Republicans try and brandish their African American outreach at the Urban League today some interesting reading assignments are being given out at the Koch conference where they will be spending the weekend.

In a recent letter to donors attending his 2016 Koch Primary audition extravaganza, Charles Koch assigned some recommended reading: an op-ed praising 19th-century British prime minister William Gladstone. “Gladstone’s policies, [Koch] said, offer a ‘good description of the direction I believe our elected leaders should be taking our government,’” according to USA Today.

OK — sounds reasonable enough, right? Charles Koch wants politicians to be like him —  but how bad can Gladstone have been?

Well, let’s see…

Gladstone was “outspokenly pro-South during the Civil War.”

Oh — not ideal. Anything else?

Gladstone’s father “received £106,769 (modern equivalent £83m) for the 2,508 slaves he owned across nine plantations. His son [Gladstone], who served as prime minister four times during his 60-year career, was heavily involved in […]

Concerned Vets For America Bringing Their Koch-Centric Message To Florida

The Koch front group, Concerned Veterans for America (CVA), is touring through Florida over the next three days to push the brothers’ particular brand of extreme conservatism. While the shady group likes to claim it helps vets, it supports policies that do just the opposite. Hoping to expose their real political agenda, Bridge Project and VoteVets.org have teamed up and released a report on CVA titled, “The Vets Group That Fights Against Veterans.”

CVA promotes extreme right-wing policies that stand in opposition to nearly every other veterans group, as reported in the Military Times.

From pushing a plan to privatize the VA healthcare system to proposing a transition from the current military retirement system to a private 401(k)-like plan, CVA follows the radical conservatism of the Koch brothers, working to advance the billionaires’ self-interest at the expense of veterans.

​Bridge Project will be working with partners to hold CVA and the Koch brothers accountable as they plan to spend millions propping up GOP candidates and trying to buy […]

“A Dream Undone” …By The Koch Brothers

Today, the New York Times published a lengthy magazine piece on the Voting Rights Act. Called “A Dream Undone,” the piece covers the history leading up the passage of the VRA and the political moves and laws that have effectively reversed it. While the Koch brothers manage to avoid even one mention in the story, their fingerprints are all over the nationwide campaign to disenfranchise voters.

Two think tanks where the Kochs are top funders, the Mercatus Center and the Institute for Justice, have led the charge to repeal the VRA. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, in 1997, the Institute for Justice’s Clint Bolick believed that “the Voting Rights Act has outlived its usefulness and should be repealed.” And in 2011, the Mercatus Center published a policy paper that basically called for voting access to return to the 1800s when only property owners could vote. […]

With Nowhere To Go On Voter Data, RNC Folds, Returning To The Kochs’ Warm Embrace

It’s no secret that the Kochs have for years been trying to execute a Republican Party takeover, so it was big news when the Kochs first announced data sharing — read: making the party infrastructure even more dependent on the Koch network — between the RNC and their network of front groups.

Embarrassingly, it took the RNC until about a month ago to notice that the Kochs’ were effectively executing a party takeover: “The RNC is now openly arguing, however, that the Kochs’ political operation is trying to control the Republican Party’s master voter file, and to gain influence over — some even say control of — the GOP,” reported Yahoo News at the time, continuing, “The RNC is now confronting the Kochs more openly than before […] Their decision to take their dispute with i360 public shows the level of alarm inside the RNC at the growing clout of the […]

The Koch Brothers’ Worst Nightmare: Donald J. Trump

For the Koch brothers, everything comes down to control. The Kochs use their money and their network’s resources to get what they want, backing candidates who agree to support their self-interested, profit-maximizing agenda.

But what happens when the Kochs don’t have any leverage?

That brings us to the Koch brothers’ worst nightmare: GOP front-runner Donald Trump. As Politico reported today, the Kochs are “freezing out” the loud-mouthed, xenophobic force of nature who’s dominating his Republican opponents — and whose rise in the polls is keeping the Koch brothers up at night.

Other candidates know the deal: Jeb BushMarco RubioScott Walker — they’re all making ideological concessions as quickly as they can to show the Koch brothers they’re worthwhile investments. And it’s working: they’ve been “summoned” to an exclusive Koch network conference this weekend.

But Trump is different.

So he overstated his net-worth — $2.9 billion isn’t the “TEN BILLION DOLLARS” he claimed. But, as Politico rightly notes: with that kind of […]

CWA: Against Medicaid Expansion, Says Women Can Rely On It For Repro Health

Today, at a rally to defund Planned Parenthood, the president of Koch-front group Concerned Women for America (CWA), Penny Nance, said women don’t need to rely on the group for healthcare and that “there’s certainly Medicaid for poor women.” Nance’s argument has a pretty big hole in it. Her organization’s main funders, the Koch brothers, are doing everything they can to gut Medicaid and hinder its expansion.

If the Kochs get their way, Medicaid won’t be a reliable source of healthcare for women or anyone else. The Kochs’ main political organization, Americans for Prosperity (AFP), has repeatedly attacked Medicaid. AFP has campaigned against Florida state lawmakers working to expand Medicaid to roughly 800,000 Floridians and continues to intimidate lawmakers in North Carolina to stop another 600,000 uninsured residents from receiving coverage. The Koch-funded group also supported Paul Ryan’s 2012 budget that would have cut $810 billion in Medicaid spending over 10 years.

On […]

Koch-Sponsored Climate Deniers Still In Denial About Climate Change

When it comes to climate change, the Koch brothers have one code they demand their beneficiaries live by: deny, deny, deny. Last Wednesday, several of the brothers’ chums attended the House Natural Resources Committee hearing in order to, of course, deny the existence of man-made climate change as well as advocate against reducing carbon use.

At the hearing, Heritage Foundation Senior Statistician and Research Programmer Kevin Dayaratna said, “Under some assumptions, the social cost of carbon is a negative two-thirds of the time.” Dayaratna went on to say that “there are literally no costs [from carbon use], but rather benefits to carbon dioxide emissions, and if taken at face value this would suggest that the government should subsidize, not tax carbon dioxide.” The Koch brothers have donated at least half a million dollars to the Heritage Action Fund, according to Politico.

The Cato Institute, a think tank founded by the Kochs, also […]

Hypocritical, Koch-Backed ALEC Goes Crazy For Anti-Choice Extremist

If it’s Koch brothers, it’s hypocrisy.

So, no surprise that though the Koch-funded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) — the Kochs’ lobbying network vehicle for advancing their legislative goals at the state level — claims not to have a social agenda, it’s members clearly do — and it’s an extremely conservative, extremely anti-choice agenda at that. And given they’re Koch-funded, you’ve got to assume that — despite their claims of libertarian agnosticism — the hypocritical Kochs feel the same way.

Daniel Daleiden, an anti-choice extremist who runs the shady, anti-choice Center for Medical Progress, made an appearance at ALEC’s annual conference, and according to The Guardian, was received “as a conquering hero”:

Alec is a network which matches state legislators – overwhelmingly Republican – with major US corporations. It facilitates meetings behind closed doors and drafts business-friendly bills which often become law. The focus is usually economic but Daleiden’s videos have […]

Kochs’ Support For Tough-On-Crime Walker Exposes Criminal Justice Reform Sham

With every report that the Koch brothers can’t get enough of tough-on-crime enforcer Scott Walker, their criminal justice reform charade crumbles.

For months it’s been well-publicized that Scott Walker will be the likely recipient of hundreds of millions of Koch dollars this election. The New York Times reported on David Koch’s glowing praise of Walker at an April fundraiser:

“‘When the primaries are over and Scott Walker gets the nomination,’ Mr. Koch told the crowd, the billionaire brothers would support him, according to a spokeswoman.”

And that wasn’t all:

“Two people who attended the event said they heard Mr. Koch go even further, indicating that Mr. Walker should be the Republican nominee.”

The Koch-Walker affection is mutual. The Kochs have been big supporters of Walker and his far right agenda for years — and he’s reciprocated, making their political agenda his own.

Well, except on criminal justice reform. And that’s really calling into question […]

Paid for by American Bridge 21st Century Foundation