How Conservatives Took Over North Carolina

March 15, 2015

Once a more moderate state amid the South’s sea of red, since 2010 North Carolina’s state legislature has pushed one of the most aggressive right-wing agendas in the country, advancing the interests of the Tea Party and big business at the expense of the middle class. Republicans in charge of the General Assembly have introduced legislation on a wide set of conservative priorities and managed to enact increasingly extreme policies. Republican lawmakers made it harder for minorities and students to vote, reduced a woman’s right to choose, opposed the minimum wage, slashed unemployment benefits, and gave tax cuts to the wealthy while raising them on the working class, small businesses, and seniors.

Republicans hold such power in North Carolina thanks to changes that began with the 2010 elections, when an influx of outside cash helped the GOP obtain control of both halves of the General Assembly for the first time in […]

The Koch Brothers’ War On State Colleges

February 20, 2015

A Huffington Post story last week shed light on the Koch brothers and their cronies’ newest frontier for attack: state colleges.

In North Carolina, Koch consigliere Art Pope’s well-documented influence cannot be overstated, Over the past decade, Pope, the wealthy owner of a chain of dollar stores, has poured $40 million into manipulating American politics and using his fortune to control the legislative agenda in North Carolina.  In 2010, Pope underwrote the Tea Party takeover of the North Carolina state legislature. According to an analysis by the Institute for Southern Studies, of the twenty-two legislative races targeted by Pope in 2010, the Republicans won eighteen. Democrats in North Carolina were outspent and upended.  “It led to Republicans controlling both chambers of the legislature for the first time in more than 100 years.

Pope is at the center of Koch world and he has […]

End Scene: McCrory & the Kochs Killing NC’s Film Industry

January 21, 2015

Last year, we brought you the first in the trilogy about the Kochs’ tirade against the successful film industry tax credits in the Tarheel State: Thom Tillis Gives the Koch Brothers Two Thumbs Up. Then there was the smash-hit sequel, North Carolina Film Tax Incentives: The Kochs Strike Back. Although the Kochs sent one of the key protagonists — then-Speaker Thom Tillis — to Washington, the series continues, this time starring Republican Governor Pat McCrory.

Although the film tax credit was integral to attracting high-budget films and television shows to the state and critical to supporting thousands of North Carolina jobs, the Koch brothers’ political arm, Americans for Prosperity, ran ads last year railing against the program. Despite dire warnings, McCrory caved to the anti-film tax credit clamor created by AFP and other special interests. First, McCrory signed a budget that effectively ended the film […]

Pat McCrory’s Medicaid Expansion Conundrum

January 16, 2015

Back in 2013, Gov. Pat McCrory roundly rejected the call for Medicaid expansion in North Carolina, leaving 500,000 constituents uninsured. The bill for the program would have been footed almost entirely by federal dollars, but that wasn’t going to stand in the way of McCrory asserting his categorical opposition to the Affordable Care Act.

At the time, the Koch brothers’ political arm, Americans For Prosperity, applauded McCrory for his denial of expanded health care access. That’s not overly surprising — McCrory has extensive ties to the Koch brothers, from doingrobocalls for AFP in 2011 before he was technically a gubernatorial candidate, to hiring long-time Koch-crony Art Pope as his budget director.

But it turns out denying people healthcare to prove one’s ideological purity isn’t overly popular. McCrory started to waffle on the issue after facing significant political pressure to accept Medicaid expansion. Of course, that didn’t sit too well with […]

AFP Continues Fight Against Health Care Access For Low-Income Americans, Kids, People With Disabilities

December 11, 2014

The Koch brothers’ heartless crusade to block Medicaid expansion and deny health care access to low-income Americans just keeps rolling on. Monday, Americans For Prosperity-North Carolina director, Donald Bryson, and AFP policy analyst, Akash Chougule, penned an op-ed calling on Gov. McCrory to ignore renewed pressure to expand Medicaid.

In the op-ed, Americans For Prosperity’s callousness is on full display. Not only does AFP find the costs of Medicaid expansion to North Carolina taxpayers unacceptable (even though studies show it would save the state billions), but they have trouble even conceiving that there would be any merit at all in providing an affordable health insurance option to working North Carolinians:

And what would we be paying for? Nothing that should comfort taxpayers. Potentially crowding out funding for roads and schools for the return on investment we would receive from Medicaid expansion would be ludicrous.

Their utter lack of empathy is almost as breathtaking as […]

New report highlights same old Koch education scheme

November 20, 2014

In addition to myriad political entities and nonprofits, the Koch brothers’ network — or the “Kochtopus” — also comprises Koch-funded education initiatives designed to impart their extreme libertarian views on our nation’s young people. These initiatives — like Youth Entrepreneurs — wield influence in our schools the same way the Kochs do politically: by buying it. Standard operating procedure among the Kochtopus’ tentacles, but as a new report from Huffington Post highlights, it’s especially craven when you consider the Kochs’ open hostility toward public education, and the drastic education funding cuts that some of their favorite elected officials have presided over in North CarolinaKansas and Wisconsin.

Huffington Post digs into the machinations of the Bill of Rights Institute (BRI), an organization that has received millions in funding from the Koch organizations that came together to launch BRI in 1999, including the Charles Koch Foundation and […]

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: Thom Tillis Helped Make North Carolina The Kochs’ “Model State”

October 30, 2014

In 2013, a year before Koch-backed groups had begun their all out assault to help elect Speaker Thom Tillis to the Senate, the head of the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity (AFP) said that North Carolina provided “a great opportunity” to “create a model state”. What exactly did the Kochs have in mind for this “model state?” If their support for his Senate candidacy is any indicator, it probably looks a lot like the extreme, Tea Party agenda enacted by Speaker Tillis – helping the wealthy and special interests at the expense of North Carolina’s schools and working families.

Speaker Tillis’s worked hard to deliver for the secretive billionaire Koch brothers. His budget gave massive tax breaks to millionaires and raised taxes on small business owners and seniors’ retirement income. It stripped $500 million in education funding over two years and cut 13,000 education jobs, causing good teachers to leave the state […]

Koch-founded CATO Institute lauds Kochs’ favorite governors

October 3, 2014

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

The Koch brothers and their allies have pledged to spend a massive sum of money to influence this year’s midterm elections, at least $500 million, which is why their true, self-serving political motivations merit close scrutiny. After all, their exorbitant political spending is this blog’s entire raison d’être. It turns out it’s also the GOP’s, according to a report from Charlie Cook.

In his discussion of key Senate races this fall, Cook notes that some Republicans’ fundraising and spending efforts are being outpaced by their Democratic counterparts. Yet, political realities don’t necessarily reflect these disparities, precisely because of the Kochs’ exorbitant spending. According to Cook, “GOP strategists have privately said that if it were not for spending by organizations affiliated with the Koch brothers, they might well be in really bad shape.” Out of the mouths of babes!

It’s not just that the Kochs’ largesse is merely backstopping Republicans’ fundraising […]

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