Three Questions for the Kochs as they “Defend the American Dream”

August 29, 2014

This weekend, capping off an interesting week for the Koch brothers, their chief political arm, Americans For Prosperity is hosting their so-called “Defending the American Dream Summit.” This is their public-facing summit, not to be confused with the highly secretive meeting of billionaires that dominated this week’s political conversation, after new audio surfaced from the event.

Those newly released recordings further exposed the degree to which the billionaire brothers have taken the reins of the Republican Party. One key Senate candidate after the next extolled the Kochs and their increasingly powerful network, expressing gratitude for their support and reaffirming their devotion to the extreme agenda they champion. On top of that, the executive director of the Republican Governors’ Association lauded AFP as their strongest partner.

The more we learn about the Koch brothers’ shadowy operation, the more we see how central they’ve become to the GOP. In fact, Washington Post […]

Kentucky Voters Reject Koch Agenda

March 9, 2016

While all eyes were on the presidential primaries, Governor Matt Bevin and the Kochs lost big last night in Kentucky. According to the Associated Press, voters helped the Democrats maintain a majority in the state House over Republicans, giving them control of 53 of the 100 seats:

The victory by Democrats assures they will have at least the 51 votes they need to pass a budget that will most likely roll back most of Bevin’s spending cuts. Bevin has proposed using the savings to begin to pay down the state’s multi-billion dollar pension debt.

There is no doubting that Governor Bevin is another Republican Koch puppet. Americans for Prosperity Kentucky launched a huge field effort in support of Bevin during the 2015 gubernatorial race. AFP also ran two ads attacking Bevin’s opponent, Jack Conway, and KochPAC gave his campaign $1,000.

Not only did the Koch political network push to get Bevin elected, […]

In An Off-Year Election, The Kochs Remain As Invested As Ever

November 3, 2015

It’s Election Day 2015 — and the Kochs have a lot of money on the line. It may be an off-year election, but Charles and David Koch are as invested as ever. Though they downplay the extent of their influence and impact of their machinations, up and down the ticket — from Colorado and Utah, to Kentucky, Mississippi, and Virginia — Charles and David Koch are using sizable investments and politically-weaponized front groups to influence electoral outcomes and advance their selfish agenda.

The Kochs get a lot attention — deservedly — for their massive investments in congressional, gubernatorial, and presidential elections, but they aren’t afraid to get local, either. The Koch’s Americans for Prosperity dropped big money in Jefferson County, Colorado, turning the school board election into “a money-soaked proxy war.” In Douglas County, CO, AFP’s spent more than $130,000. And over in Utah, AFP’s been lobbying hard against a gas tax ballot initiative.

Back East, […]

Koch Cash Falls Short After Fueling Toxic Kentucky Gov. Primary

May 21, 2015

Even the Kochs have limits: after using millions of dollars to fuel a shady, personal, muddy, primary fight the Koch machine came up short on Tuesday, seeing their candidate Hal Heiner spend roughly $100 per vote to come in a distant third.

According to the Louisville Courier-Journal, the Kochs backed two political action committees in support of Heiner: Citizens for a Sound Government (CGS) and the Bluegrass Action Fund. Both of the groups are led by, Alan Phillip, a longtime Koch operative. According to CNN, the Bluegrass Action Fund spent $400,000 on an advertising blitz calling eventual nominee Matt Bevin “dishonest” for misrepresenting himself on LinkedIn and taking federal money while their chosen candidate launched attacks in person and on television highlighting an allegation that one of his opponents, James Comer, abused his college girlfriend.

The Kochs besmirched the Republican brand in Kentucky before coming up short, but this is […]

Koch higher education grant comes with strings attached

March 19, 2015

The Charles Koch Foundation has signed on with Papa John’s founder John Schnatter to fund the John H. Schnatter Center for Free Enterprise at the University of Louisville, donating nearly $2 million to the program. So… what’s the catch?

The contract with U of L allows the donors to walk away at virtually any time, says Insider Louisville:

The contracts also allow Schnatter and the Charles Koch Foundation to pull their funding at any time if the center is not living up to its mission, which the contracts say is “to engage in research and teaching that explores the role of enterprise and entrepreneurship in advancing the well-being of society.”
According to the agreements, which were signed by U of L president James Ramsey on March 10, if the donors want to pull funding, they must “make a good faith effort to meet within sixty (60) days to discuss” the reasons with […]

Closing Argument: Kochs Fight To Save Candidate Cronies In Critical Election

October 30, 2014

The midterms are around the corner and the Koch brothers and their vast political network have gone to unprecedented lengths to elect extreme Tea Party candidates who support their self-serving agenda. The Kochs have bought and paid for these candidates (both senate and gubernatorial), and are clearly hoping for an Election night wave to secure support for their anti-working families agenda.

Unparalleled Spending

The billionaire brothers began their dirty campaign early this cycle. By January of 2014, the Kochs’ chief political arm, Americans For Prosperity (AFP), had already poured $22 million in dark money into TV ads smearing Democratic senators up for reelection. AFP did not stop there. They have continued to spend so heavily on television ads, which range from misleading to patently false, that AFP has accounted for one out of every sixteen Senate ads this cycle as of August 2014.

But Americans For Prosperity’s spending is just one cog […]

Closing Argument: Mitch McConnell Would Lead the Koch Agenda To Victory

October 30, 2014

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has spent thirty years in Washington putting special interests first, and if re-elected, he would undoubtedly prioritize the interests of the secretive billionaire Koch brothers. McConnell said so himself earlier this year at the Kochs’ secret donor summit, where he laid out just what a McConnell-run Senate would look like. In his own words, if McConnell becomes majority leader, “we’re not going to be debating all these gosh darn proposals. That’s all we do in the Senate is vote on things like raising the minimum wage…”

McConnell must know a thing or two about voting on the minimum wage – he has voted against raising it at least seventeen times during his tenure in Washington. The Kochs’ primary political arm Americans For Prosperity also opposes raising the minimum wage, and this is just the beginning of the similarities in the policy agenda […]

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 […]

Even non-attending Koch cronies get shout out at secret donor conference

August 27, 2014

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:

BREAKING: Newly Released Evidence Shows Kochs Back Candidates Who Share Their Extreme, Self-Serving Agenda

August 27, 2014

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.

Paid for by American Bridge 21st Century Foundation