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 Some, like Thom Tillis in North Carolina, have even said the federal minimum wage should be repealed entirely.

Laying off hundreds of workers from Georgia-Pacific and Invista to help their bottom line is only the start of the impact Koch Industries and its business practices have had on North Carolina workers and families.

A company called KoSa, which Koch Industries acquired in 2001, laid off 180 workers from its Shelby, N.C. polyester plant the same year Koch Industries acquired it, cutting more than 25% of its workforce at the plant. The company followed up with another 150 layoffs from the plant in 2003. Not too far away in Salisbury, another Koch Industries subsidiary, Invista, has steadily reduced the number of employees at its polyester fiber plant. In 2003, when Koch Industries announced it would purchase the then-DuPont subsidiary Invista, the company reportedly threatened 49 workers with downsizing unless they accepted early retirement. Between 2005 and 2007, the number of workers employed at the plant reduced by 450. Shortly thereafter, the Kochs sold the plant to a private equity firm which has since laid off hundreds more employees.

With hundreds of North Carolina layoffs to their name, shouldn’t the Koch Brothers leave well enough alone in the state?

View full research brief after the jump.

Koch Industries in North Carolina: Layoffs, Part 1

May 12, 2014

It’s not just the Kochs’ policy agenda that has hurt North Carolina workers and families. After Koch Industries bought chemical manufacturer Invista in 2004, and Georgia-Pacific Corporation in 2005 – both companies with a major footprint in the state – these subsidiaries laid off hundreds of North Carolina workers. Whose side are the Kochs on? Clearly not that of working families.

The most recent string of layoffs came just in time for the holidays last year, when Koch Industry subsidiary Invista announced it would lay off 100 workers from its Wilmington chemical facility at the end of 2013. This in addition to 60 workers who were previously laid off from the plant in March 2012.

In 2008, Koch subsidiary Georgia-Pacific idled its Lumber and Plywood Plant in Whiteville, laying off 400 employees. Although the company suggested the plant could be re-opened if economic conditions improved, six years later, the plant is still listed as “idled.” Another Georgia-Pacific facility in Roxboro laid off 118 workers in 2010.

In the years following Koch Industries’ acquisition of companies with plants in the state, hundreds of workers have lost their jobs. Is this the business record of someone you want dictating the future of North Carolina?

View full research brief after the jump.

Over the last four years, the Koch brothers and Americans for Prosperity have spent shocking sums of money to shape and control North Carolina’s policy landscape and help their hand-picked extreme, Tea Party candidates get elected. For the 2014 Senate race in North Carolina alone, as of February, they had already dropped $8.2 million trying to sink Kay Hagan.

But their mischief goes far beyond that. In 2010, after helping to crush a public financing proposal that would have limited outside influence in statewide elections, AFP poured $285,000 into 22 targeted races across the state. Their funding helped Republicans control both chambers of the North Carolina Legislature for the first time in over 100 years, allowing the Kochs and AFP to start championing the extreme agenda that has left so many middle class families in the Tar Heel state struggling.

The Koch brothers’ Americans For Prosperity group congratulated Gov. McCrory on his decision to reject Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act and deny health care to 500,000 North Carolinians at almost no cost to the state. AFP’s national president, Tim Phillips praised the governor for “trying to save American taxpayers from the federal government.”

As for the 500,000 low-income Tar Heel residents who were denied health insurance by the maneuver, AFP and the Koch brothers aren’t too concerned about them.

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.

Paid for by American Bridge 21st Century Foundation