One of the Koch brothers’ most blatant self-serving crusades has been their efforts to repeal and weaken protections for our air and water to strengthen their own bottom line.

North Carolina offers a clear example of the lengths to which the Kochs will go to help themselves at the expense of working families. Their North Carolina Americans for Prosperity group has opposed wind energy tax credits, because, after all, wind isn’t oil.

They have actively worked to roll back a renewable energy standard passed in 2007, which would have diminished our reliance on foreign oil and once again hurt their bottom line. They even flew a hot air balloon over Chapel Hill to highlight the “hot air” coming from those promoting the harmful effects of climate change in North Carolina.

But their charades should not fool anyone – they are only in it for themselves and their oil fortune.

Perhaps nowhere in North Carolina have the Koch brothers inflicted more pain than in Wake County.

The Koch group Americans for Prosperity has waged a war on the Wake County education system, beginning in 2006, when they funded a secretive affiliate-group to lobby for more charter schools. According to the News & Observer, this Koch-funded group had “repeatedly described itself as a ‘broad coalition’ of grass-roots supporters of education reform.

But campaign finance reports showed the group to be a front for the secretive billionaires’ big money organization trying to divert funding from public schools to private schools.

In 2009, AFP took aim at Wake County’s busing integration program, which the Washington Post called “one of the nation’s most celebrated integration efforts.” AFP North Carolina founder Art Pope supported local extreme conservatives and AFP funneled more money into activists working to re-segregate Wake County public schools. AFP even said they were “proud to play some part” in ending the “wasteful and ineffective policy” of integrating Wake schools.

Later, in 2013, AFP went so far as to condemn the Wake County School Board for working to push back on new legislation that was damaging its school system – the very legislation supported by AFP and the Koch brothers.

Education has always been critical to North Carolina, from the research triangle to the state’s renowned network of higher education institutions. It’s what has set the Tar Heel state apart from its Southern brethren. But the Koch agenda runs in striking opposition to the state’s history on this key issue.

Beyond supporting a budget that gutted public school funding and eliminated 13,000 education jobs statewide, the Kochs’ Americans for Prosperity has been demonizing public education in the Tar Heel state for years.

In 2011, AFP cohosted “A Celebration of School Choice and Freedom” event where they screened a documentary about, as they describe, “the corruption in public education and the promise of school choice.” They later applauded the creation of the Opportunity Scholarship Program, North Carolina’s first “school voucher program,” which would divert public funding to private schools. When a judge suspended the program, the Institute for Justice, another organization founded with assistance from Charles Koch, quickly appealed.

The Koch agenda in North Carolina includes fighting efforts to reduce the influence of wealthy outside donors like themselves. In 2010, a North Carolina ethics bill contained a proposal for public funding of certain statewide elections in an effort to do just that.

How did the Kochs respond? Their Americans for Prosperity group immediately launched an onslaught of robocalls across the state targeting the proposal, which then was quickly pulled.

AFP claimed victory, thanking the “thousands of people” who contacted their state senators – even though these calls were bought and paid for by the Kochs, and the path was cleared for these secretive billionaires to continue pouring money into statewide elections in an effort to rebuild the North Carolina legislature in their extreme conservative mold.

The Kochs in North Carolina: Taxes and the State Budget

May 12, 2014

Over the past four years, the Kochs have poured untold sums into enriching wealthy North Carolinians and corporations at the expense of working families.

In 2013, for instance, the Koch-funded group Americans for Prosperity committed to spending $500,000 to accomplish their self-serving goal of tax reform that did just that. When Governor Pat McCrory signed into effect a tax reform package that year that increased the burden on middle class families, seniors and small business owners, but gave massive breaks to corporations and the wealthy, and AFP was quick to applaud it.

They claimed victory again when the estate tax was repealed entirely, yet another favor to the rich. And AFP’s North Carolina affiliate cheered on a budget that gutted funding for schools, killing 13,000 education jobs, and stripped funding for women’s preventive health care services. Funded by the Kochs, AFP even embarked on a bus tour to praise the “successes” of this budget across the state.

Thanks to the Kochs, North Carolina has become a better friend to the wealthy while leaving the middle class out in the cold.

If the Koch brothers win, we lose.

Meet the real Koch brothers, the secretive billionaires willing to spend millions to drive their self-serving agenda at the expense of working families.

The organizations funded by the Kochs – like Americans for Prosperity – and the extreme conservative candidates they support reveal their true agenda: supporting tax cuts for the wealthy, weakening Medicare, and eliminating the minimum wage.

Get the truth about the Koch agenda and how it’s impacted your state.

Before the 2010 elections, Wisconsin was a relatively progressive state, focused on improving and investing in education and protecting workers’ rights. But that year, conservative groups like the Kochs’ American for Prosperity spent millions to elect a massive wave of Republicans in both the state House and in the governor’s mansion.

In the four years since Governor Scott Walker and the state legislature took office, they have supported and passed an extreme right-wing agenda. Working together, they have made it harder to vote, attacked public workers’ rights and made public parks and the areas around school less safe by allowing concealed weapons.

The legislature and Governor Walker have also slashed the education budget by $800 million, while at the same time giving huge tax breaks to the wealthy. With no surprise, the governor and his extreme conservative allies also passed a law severely limiting a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions by requiring medically unnecessary ultrasounds. And now, they are working to block raising the minimum wage for the hard working people of Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin chapter of American for Prosperity has already put up $10 million toward supporting Walker’s extreme Tea Party agenda; what will they attack next?

View full research brief after the jump.

When Congress passed the 2012 Biggert-Waters Act, the goal was to keep the National Flood Insurance Program afloat after insurance payouts from several devastating hurricanes, including Katrina, left the program in debt. However, lawmakers did not foresee the legislation’s impact on Louisiana homeowners: sky-high flood insurance premiums for some of the same families that had already suffered through the “single most catastrophic natural disaster” in U.S. history. The Biggert-Waters Act hit some Louisiana families with annual premiums as high as $18,000 and threatened to destabilize the state’s property values and housing market.

Yet when Congress, backed by a wide bipartisan coalition, was preparing to halt the harmful effects the flood insurance hikes were having on Louisiana, the Koch brothers tried to intervene and kill the legislation. Their Tea Party-affiliated group, Americans for Prosperity, backed plans to end all federal flood insurance subsidies for property owners and preserve “the crux” of the faulty Biggert-Waters Act despite its harm to Louisiana homeowners. Although opposition from conservative groups like AFP caused House leaders to delay a vote on the fix, Congress passed the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act in March 2014, staving off Biggert-Waters’ extreme premium hikes despite the Koch Brothers’ efforts.

View full research brief after the jump.

Over the past twenty years, the Colonial Pipeline that runs through Greensboro, NC has been owned jointly by up to ten oil companies, including a branch of Koch Industries. At one point Koch Industries was the largest owners of the pipeline, which has a despicable record when it comes to protecting the surrounding land and water.

Between 1996 and 2000, multiple spills of fuels like gasoline and kerosene occurred around Greensboro, including two major spills in May 1996 and May 2000. In 1996, 50 gallons of gasoline were spilled into a creek and shoreline near Greensboro, which wasn’t properly reported at the time. Then, almost exactly four years later, a significantly larger spill of 714 gallons of kerosene occurred in a pond that flowed into the East Fork Deep River.

These environmentally damaging accidents led to Colonial Pipeline paying a $34 million court settlement. As of 2012, Koch Industries owned 20% of the Colonial Pipeline. What will they do now to keep Triad area families safe from this path of destruction?

View full research brief after the jump.

Paid for by American Bridge 21st Century Foundation