The Koch brothers, by way of their political group Americans for Prosperity, have made North Carolina one one of their flagship states for pushing their extreme agenda. They helped pour money into races in 2010 and 2012 to fill the state legislature with Republicans who would push their ultra-conservative policies, and it worked. Now, Speaker of the NC House and US Senate candidate Thom Tillis is running the show.

In 2013, Tillis passed a budget that was not only supported by AFP, but one that they are now holding rallies to celebrate. This is part of a $500,000 campaign to champion the new budget, and tell North Carolinians that these new policies are working, with an emphasis on Tillis’s tax reform.

The truth is that these policies are working–for the wealthy few. But as millionaires are seeing massive tax breaks, senior citizens on retirement income and small business owners are seeing tax increases.

On top of shifting more of the tax burden to middle-class families, Tillis has gutted the state’s education budget. He has stripped $500 million in education funding over two years, cut 13,000 education jobs, and good teachers are leaving the state due to a pay scale that ranks among the nation’s worst.

AFP is spending thousands cheering on Thom Tillis’s extreme policies in the Tar Heel State. But while they are celebrating, North Carolina families are suffering.

View background research after the jump.

In 2011 and 2012, the Koch brothers-backed Americans for Prosperity spent $10 million backing Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s policies, and this election year is shaping up to be no different. AFP is kicking off a major paid media blitz in Wisconsin this week in support of Walker in the midst of what many polls show is a tightening reelection race this fall.

This most recent AFP ad buy in Wisconsin –  $866,000 – is hardly surprising when you consider the return on investment that the AFP and the Kochs have gotten there over the last several years: a Governor and state house that have pursued an extreme right-wing agenda. Hand in hand, this Koch-fueled wave of Wisconsin Republicans have attacked workers’ rights, drastically slashed education spending and handed out tax breaks to the wealthy – and there are plenty more examples of this self-serving agenda in action.

With Governor Walker’s track record, it’s hardly a […]

It’s good to know that there is bipartisan consensus that the Kochs have been on a decades-long self-serving crusade to augment their oil fortune. National Review just wants you to know that it’s been successful.

National Review’s Jay Weiser penned a response piece to the New York Times’ profile of David Koch and the Libertarian Party’s 1980 platform. The funny thing is, Weiser’s only real pushback was to the Times’ characterization of the campaign as “quixotic.” He sets the table nicely:

“The Kochs — then as now wealthy energy entrepreneurs — were drawn into political activism by the Nixon-Ford-Carter era energy crisis. … In that decade, Koch Industries, the family business, ran into legal trouble for violating federal energy price controls.

When the Kochs plunged into politics, brother David, taking advantage of a campaign-finance loophole, exercised his First Amendment right to spend unlimited amounts of money on his vice-presidential campaign.”

Weiser then […]

The Kochs have found a new frontier for their crusade against renewable energy: Ohio. Throughout their careers, the Koch brothers have fought against standards that would stand to lessen their massive oil profits. Now, their political arm, Americans for Prosperity, is trying to halt renewable energy standards in Ohio.

Bloomberg reports that companies like Honda Motor Co. have said the standards are working, and that, according to a research scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, “the estimated burden of meeting the mandates in 2010, 2011 and 2012 was less than 1 percent of the customer’s bill each year.” Moreover, freezing these standards would bring Ohio’s booming renewable industry to a screeching halt, potentially sending billions in planned projects to other states.

The Kochs’ AFP has already tried the same stunt in their home state of Kansas, where they and their allies spent over $300,000 trying to repeal renewable energy standards to no avail. And AFP-Iowa has railed against the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). For the Kochs, these are just a few more small investments in bulking up their own pockets.

NEW Web Ad: A 30 Year Agenda

David Koch ran for Vice President on the 1980 Libertarian ticket with Ed Clark — a nod Koch earned after promising to contribute some of his personal fortune to the campaign. Their ticket’s platform was beyond radical and self-serving, calling for abolishing all minimum wage laws, slashing Medicare, removing environmental protections, and dismantling Social Security, which they referred to as “the most serious threat to the future stability of our society next to the threat of nuclear war.” More than 30 years later, the Koch agenda has barely budged, and Koch-funded groups like Americans for Prosperity and the candidates they support fall in lockstep with many of these extreme positions.

Today American Bridge is launching a new online ad on the Kochs’ extreme, thirty year agenda.

View accompanying research after the jump.


The 1980 Koch-Clark campaign called Social Security "the most serious threat to the future stability of our society next to the threat of nuclear war" and called for phasing out the program.


Koch-funded groups and candidates have supported privatizing Social Security, with some referring to the program as a ponzi scheme.


The 1980 Koch-Clark campaign ticket called for ABOLISHING ALL minimum wage laws.


Candidates supported by the Kochs’ political enterprise today oppose increasing the minimum wage. Some, like Thom Tillis in North Carolina, have even said the federal minimum wage should be repealed entirely.

A new book on the Koch brothers released today, Sons of Wichita, details the Kochs’ history and the rise of their empire. The book further reveals what is becoming a clear portrait of these powerful tycoons: two billionaire brothers who have always put their personal fortune and oil empire first.

The stories recounted about the Kochs’ business practices are both astounding and yet utterly predictable. According to the book, in 1995, Koch Industries was sued by the federal government under the allegation that it had spilled millions of gallons of oil into US water, with the Department of Justice (DoJ) having identified 300 separate spills between 1990 and 1995. Worse, the DoJ prosecutor reportedly said that Koch Industries had “repeatedly lied about the amount to avoid penalties” and that the company “would call in two barrels when they had something that was a shocking amount of oil.”

It was an allegation that was reinforced by former Koch workers themselves. According to the book, the Kochs “had taken a shockingly cavalier approach to pipeline safety” as reflected by the testimony of former employees. One employee explained the technique they utilized called “wheel washing” to mask oil spills and cover up the extent of them. The same employee reportedly said that “crews often did so on their own initiative, since they wanted to protect their jobs.” According to Schulman, when several Koch officials were asked by prosecutors if they “had ever knowingly downplayed the size of spills,” they pleaded the Fifth Amendment.

But it wasn’t just the environment or the law that the Kochs were willing to disregard in their pursuit of greater riches. Former Pipeline Manager Kenoth Whitstine reportedly recalled warning a supervisor about a hazardous, even potentially fatal situation. According to Schulman’s recounting of Whitstine’s testimony:

The supervisor’s callous response chilled him. He said “that I needed to understand that money spent on certain projects could make a lot more money than on other projects and that they could come back and pay off a lawsuit from an incident and still be money ahead.” The message was that it was more profitable “to take a gamble of something happening later and handle that situation when it arose,” even when human lives might be at stake.

The evidence just keeps mounting: There is nothing the Kochs won’t do for another dollar.

View accompanying research after the jump.

Paid for by American Bridge 21st Century Foundation