With Liberty And Justice For All Koch Cronies, Especially Scott Walker

Conservative groups in Wisconsin really got all $7.8 million of their money’s worth with today’s ruling in the Scott Walker probe. All four of the Wisconsin Supreme Court justices who voted in favor of Walker, thereby ending the John Doe investigation into Walker’s recall campaign, received millions of dollars from Koch brothers-connected groups that were also being investigated. Wisconsin Club for Growth donated $2.76 million and Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce spent $5.56 million to buy favor, culminating in today’s vote. The final vote was 4-2.

Both John Doe investigations threaten to wreak havoc on Walker’s campaign — John Doe 1 resulted in six convictions over wrongdoing in Walker’s Milwaukee County Executive office and John Doe 2 was mired in shady backroom deals and potential illegal coordination. The bipartisan prosecutors even asked for the four bought-and-paid-for judges to recuse themselves, but none did. For more from American Bridge on Walker’s investigations, click here.

Walker has already had […]

Koch Candidates Unmask the Billionaires’ Charade for Criminal Justice Reform

Another Koch lackey is exposing the thinly veiled truth about the Koch outcry for criminal justice reform: The campaign is a PR stunt to rehabilitate the Koch brand. Despite their promises to help reform the criminal justice system, the hypocritical billionaire brothers continue to back candidates who spin the cycle of mass incarceration. Recently, Maryland Governor — and Koch pawn — Larry Hogan vetoed six pieces of major criminal justice reform legislation, according to the Intercept. Hogan’s vetoes of a so-called Koch priority reaffirms that criminal justice reform is merely a sham campaign by the Koch brothers.  

The Kochs have been candid about creating a “do-gooder” image that helps their bottom line. In a March profile, Koch Industries’ marketing executive, Steve Lombardo, admitted the initiative was “a key part of the strategy to deflate the negative narrative around the Kochs.”  Now that the Kochs are being branded as out-of-touch oil […]

Kochs Continue War on Workers by Lobbying to Repeal Wisconsin’s Prevailing Wage

Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity is joining forces with other anti-worker organizations to lobby the Wisconsin state legislature in hopes of ending the state’s prevailing wage. The prevailing wage creates an even playing field for workers on local and state public works and constructions projects. Republican lawmakers are citing a study funded by a trade association called Associated Builder and Contractors (ABC) to argue that the prevailing wage is unnecessarily adding to the cost of such projects.

However, the study seems to be deeply flawed; one economics professor even called it “a mirage.” If AFP and its cronies are successful in ending the prevailing wage it could drive workers away from the state.

 

State Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca said, “Repealing prevailing wage would be another huge hit against the middle class and small businesses in Wisconsin. Over the last decade, Wisconsin has been the worst state in the nation for […]

Koch carbon takes over downtown Green Bay

A Koch Industries subsidiary, C. Reiss Coal, is wreaking havoc in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

The mineral transport company produces enormous coal piles that have monopolized part of the downtown waterfront for over ten years. A Wisconsin county commissioner is pushing for a study to measure the potentially deleterious health effects of the dust buildup that has become menace to the facility’s neighbors.

Green Bay Mayor, Jim Schmitt, said, “We thought maybe they’d get out of this business, but they’re committed to (it) … I would like nothing more for them to self-relocate (but at a cost of) of at least $20 million, it’s not going to happen in the next four years.”

Unsurprisingly, a spokesman for the facility said they have no plans to move the piles.

This is not the first time Koch Industries has jeopardized the health of it’s neighbors. Over […]

AFP & Walker teaming up again to attack workers’ rights in Wisconsin

Another day, another Governor Scott Walker and Koch brothers’ scheme to further their extreme agenda and harm working families in the Badger State. This week, the Wisconsin state legislature is ramming through legislation that would make the state a right-to-work state, a measure that will pass both chambers and that Governor Walker has pledged to sign into law.

According to the Center for Media and Democracy, the bill is taken word-for-word from American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a group that counts Koch Industries as a key member. This is not the first time Governor Walker has pushed legislation from the Koch-funded group. Governor Walker has used his governorship to sign a litany of ALEC bills into law, including anti-consumer tort reform provisions, restrictive voter ID laws, voucher and virtual school expansions, the privatization of the state’s economic development functions, and more. Now that the ALEC-inspired right-to-work legislation is before the Wisconsin legislature, the Kochs’ political arm, […]

New Walker Appointee Teamed Up With AFP To Support Solar Energy Cost Hikes

This week, Bloomberg Politics dubbed Scott Walker the “King of Kochworld.” The article chronicled his deep and long-established ties to the Koch brothers’ network and their support for the ultra-conservative makeover he’s given the state of Wisconsin. It’s a love affair that could pay big dividends for Walker, as he looks to become the beneficiary of a large chunk of the eye-popping $889 million they’ve promised to spend this cycle.

Well, Walker is living up to his regal title. This week, his administration announced a number positional of shakeups, including the appointment of a gentleman named Scott Neitzel to run Wisconsin’s Department of Administration. According to the Wisconsin DOA website, their ultimate goal is to “offer Wisconsin residents the most efficient, highest-quality state government services possible.”

But in Neitzel’s previous role, as an executive at Madison Gas and Electric, he was hardly fighting for his new constituents. Instead, Madison Gas and Electric was teaming up with Americans For Prosperity, fighting to protect profits for Big Oil and petrochemical companies like Koch Industries at the expense of solar energy users. The coalition was pushing for legislation to hike fees and increase regulations on customers who produced their own solar power.

From personnel moves to policy pushes, Scott Walker’s motives are clear — the only constituents he’s looking out for are the ones he reigns over in Kochworld.

Walker’s Wisconsin budget proposal borrows from the Koch playbook

Earlier this week, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker released his two-year budget proposal and like you’d expect from any Koch disciple, it includes plenty of material inspired by the billionaire brothers and their political agenda. In particular, Walker’s budget proposal includes a plan to allow an unlimited amount of taxpayer-funded school vouchers for Wisconsin students, and a whopping $250,000 line item for a study on the supposed health impacts of wind energy, an alternative energy source that has long drawn the ire of the Kochs and their allies.

According to the Wisconsin State Journal, Walker’s budget proposal removes an existing cap on the number of students who can use school vouchers to attend private schools in the state. What’s more, “Walker would also start paying for the program with money that otherwise would go to public schools,” per the report. Diverting public school funds to pay for private education is […]

New report highlights same old Koch education scheme

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 […]

Koch network likely to spend heavily for Wisconsin’s Ron Johnson

Just over a week has passed since the 2014 elections, so all eyes are now on the November 2016 elections, natch. Given that the Koch brothers and their allies spent heavily this cycle to help send their top cronies, like Iowa’s Joni Ernst and North Carolina’s Thom Tillis, to the Senate, it’s unsurprising that the Kochs’ 2016 spending plans are already being discussed. It’s especially unsurprising when you consider the battleground state in question: Wisconsin, where the Kochs and their political arm, Americans for Prosperity, have already spent millions to support Governor Scott Walker’s efforts to implement a far right agenda in the Badger state.

According to POLITICO, Wisconsin’s potentially vulnerable Tea Party Senator Ron Johnson’s bid for a second term would likely be aided by the deep-pocketed brothers. The report notes that Johnson is a “favorite of the Koch brothers’ donor network” and that Koch-affiliated operatives confirm the […]

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

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 […]

Paid for by American Bridge 21st Century Foundation