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:

Koch education event in Nashville ‘spreads misinformation’

August 6, 2014

Last month, we gave you a preview of the Charles Koch Institute’s disingenuous — if not downright hypocritical — education forum in Nashville. This week, the Tennesseean has a post-event recap that highlights the paradox inherent in an education discussion hosted by an outfit that wants to end federal funding for education altogether.

The Kochs and their allies approach education much like they do any other aspect of their platform, in that they want to do away with government oversight, regulation and funding in favor of a privatized system. For an example, one needn’t look any further than neighboring North Carolina, where the Kochs and Americans for Prosperity have supported state budgets that slashed public education jobs and funding. Simultaneously, AFP has demonized public education in the Tar Heel state and lauded efforts to establish a voucher system […]

Koch-friend Thom Tillis replenishes his stash

July 24, 2014

The Koch brothers’ political arm, Americans for Prosperity, has already spent millions in support of ultra-conservative North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis’ candidacy for the Senate and his anti-working families agenda. According to reports this week, apparently the billionaire Kochs just can’t enough of their favorite Tar Heel, as another of their secretive entities and several Koch family members are dispatching even more cash in their attempt to buy Tillis a Senate seat.

Roll Call has the scoop on Freedom Partners — aka the Kochs’ “secret bank” — snatching up almost $3 million in airtime in North Carolina for next month, all benefiting Thom Tillis’ campaign. Not ones to be left out of a political spending spree, individual members of the Koch family have maxed out personal donations to Tillis’ campaign, per the News & Observer. The […]

The love story of North Carolina’s Thom Tillis and the Koch brothers gets more epic by the day, now spanning multiple years and issues and with millions spent to cement their political union. Earlier this year, the Kochs’ political arm, Americans for Prosperity, even held a series of rallies proclaiming their admiration for Tillis and his extreme policies, most especially the tax breaks for the state’s uber-wealthy that he helped shepherd into law.

According to the Charlotte Observer, the initial 2013 wave of those tax cuts reduced state revenue this year by $500 million, possibly more. Last year’s Tillis budget also cut education funding by approximately the same amount. Faced with a teaching force whose pay ranks 48th in the nation, the state legislature is “struggling” to give its teachers a much-deserved raise, which would cost $400 million, according to the […]

North Carolina Film Tax Incentives: The Kochs Strike Back

July 18, 2014

The outfit that brought you NC Film Tax Incentives: Thom Tillis’ Epic Flip-Flop last month is already out with a sequel and it’s even more packed with hypocrisy than the original. Americans for Prosperity, political arm of the billionaire Koch brothers, released a statement yesterday urging North Carolina lawmakers to oppose the extension of tax credits for the successful film and television industry in the state, building on a June ad campaign railing against the program.

AFP’s vocal opposition to the incentives managed to woo House Speaker Thom Tillis, so it’s hardly surprising that the group continues to clamor over the program. What is noteworthy about the latest statement is AFP’s insistence that the tax program be discontinued in favor of “improving educational options in the state.” AFP suggests that the funding for tax incentives instead be applied to a taxpayer-funded program that […]

Tell Me More About Education, Guy Who Wants To End All Federal Funding For Education

July 16, 2014

As part of the Koch brothers new “well-being initiative,” which is nothing more than another apparatus to push their self-serving anti-government agenda, The Charles Koch Institute is hosting an education forum in Nashville.

The Koch brothers hosting a forum on education is ironic at best and offensive at worst. Consider that Koch-supported governors and budgets have already wreaked havoc, gutting education funding in states like Wisconsin and North Carolina. But slashing funding is only one step toward their ultimate goal…

When David Koch ran for vice president in 1980, his Libertarian ticket called for abolishing the Department of Education and ending ALL federal funding for education.

So this is the Kochs view of how to increase “well-being” — by eliminating federal funding for education. It’s all part of their self-serving crusade against government that would privatize everything from education to social security and eliminate environmental regulations that keep our air safe to breathe and our water safe to drink.

The Koch agenda is bad for the well-being of working families, and we don’t need a new initiative or an education forum to figure that much out.

Background after the jump.

Opposing the Same Tax Credit in Two Different States, Does Not an Interesting Plot Line Make

June 16, 2014

Americans for Prosperity’s New Jersey chapter is pressuring lawmakers in the state to vote down Senate Bills S1952 and S779, which would create tax incentives for the film and television industries to do business in the state.

If you’re wondering, “where have I heard this before…?” the answer is North Carolina. The Koch brothers-backed group recently launched an ad campaign opposing the renewal of the Tarheel state’s existing film tax incentive program. Proponents of the tax credits in both states point to the jobs and economic benefits created by the film industry.

About New Jersey’s proposed tax incentives, AFP laments that they’ve “seen this movie before, and it’s a flop.” Interesting choice of metaphor from a political outfit that is mounting the same exact campaign in at least two different states at the same time. At this rate, AFP and the Koch brothers’ tirade against film tax credits is poised to have more […]

This Week in Real Koch Facts

June 13, 2014

It’s another lovely week in Kochland, as the Koch brothers announced their plan to drop another $30 million into buying midterm elections to push their self-serving agenda and a Koch Industries subsidiary twice released toxic chemicals into the Florida air. Meanwhile, in Michigan Terri Lynn Land gushed over the Kochs and their unlimited campaign spending, Thom Tillis took Koch marching orders, and we explored AFP’s inability to tell the truth and their interesting definition of fairness (spoiler: they want working families to pay more taxes). We also took a stroll down memory lane to the 1970s, when Charles Koch initiated his master plan to undermine and undercut government.

Check it out after the jump.

Thom Tillis Gives the Koch Brothers Two Thumbs Up

June 12, 2014

Per Ethel Merman, “there’s no business like show business,” but in North Carolina it’s more like “there’s big business in show business.” An NC State study has found that the film industry has benefited the state’s economy to the tune of 4,200 jobs.

It follows that State House Speaker Thom Tillis, himself a “lifelong businessman,” said in September of last year that the “film industry is critical” to Wilmington and Charlotte and that he would support extension of the tax credit program in this year’s short legislative session.

Fast forward to yesterday, when the film tax extension failed to even make it out of committee during the Tillis-run legislative session and is nowhere to be found in the Speaker’s budget.

What prompted Tillis’ change of heart, and this plot twist? Enter the Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity, which launched an advertising campaign railing against the film tax credit extension. Turns out Speaker Tillis would rather see […]

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.

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