I thought I knew a lot about the Koch brothers until I read this (very long) New Yorker article – it’s just staggering to read the scale of their interference in democracy. These are just a few extracts, but if you have the time it’s worth reading it all:
New Yorker: …David and Charles Koch … longtime libertarians who believe in drastically lower personal and corporate taxes, minimal social services for the needy, and much less oversight of industry — especially environmental regulation. These views dovetail with the brothers’ corporate interests.
In a study released this spring, the University of Massachusetts .. named Koch Industries one of the top ten air polluters in the United States. And Greenpeace issued a report identifying the company as a “kingpin of climate science denial”.
….from 2005 to 2008, the Kochs vastly outdid ExxonMobil in giving money to organizations fighting legislation related to climate change, underwriting a huge network of foundations, think tanks, and political front groups. Indeed, the brothers have funded opposition campaigns against so many Obama Administration policies — from health-care reform to the economic-stimulus program — that, in political circles, their ideological network is known as the Kochtopus.
….Charles Lewis, the founder of the Center for Public Integrity, a nonpartisan watchdog group, said, “The Kochs are on a whole different level. There’s no one else who has spent this much money. The sheer dimension of it is what sets them apart. They have a pattern of lawbreaking, political manipulation, and obfuscation. I’ve been in Washington since Watergate, and I’ve never seen anything like it. They are the Standard Oil of our times.”
….the Americans for Prosperity Foundation (started by David Koch in 2004) has worked closely with the Tea Party since the movement’s inception..….The Texas branch of Americans for Prosperity gave its Blogger of the Year Award to a young woman named Sibyl West who (on her site) described Obama as the “cokehead in chief”.
…The anti-government fervor infusing the 2010 elections represents a political triumph for the Kochs. By giving money to “educate,” fund, and organize Tea Party protesters, they have helped turn their private agenda into a mass movement….
….In 1977, the Kochs provided the funds to launch the nation’s first libertarian think tank, the Cato Institute. … its experts and policy papers are widely quoted and respected by the mainstream media … When President Obama, in a 2008 speech, described the science on global warming as “beyond dispute,” the Cato Institute took out a full-page ad in the Times to contradict him….
…Soon after Obama assumed office, Americans for Prosperity launched “Porkulus” rallies against Obama’s stimulus-spending measures … also created an offshoot, Patients United Now, which organized more than three hundred rallies against health-care reform. At one rally, an effigy of a Democratic congressman was hung; at another, protesters unfurled a banner depicting corpses from Dachau. The group also helped organize the “Kill the Bill” protests outside the Capitol, in March, where Democratic supporters of health-care reform alleged that they were spat on and cursed at.
…last summer’s raucous rallies were pivotal in undermining Obama’s agenda … they discouraged deal-makers — Republicans who might otherwise have worked constructively with Obama…
…Charles Koch, in a newsletter sent to his seventy thousand employees, compared the Obama Administration to the regime of the Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chávez….
Full article here
This Mother Jones article is also worth reading (here): ‘Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker: Funded by the Koch Bros’