New Video — Joni Ernst: Trajectory

Newly released audio recordings from the Koch brothers’ summit of billionaires and bought candidates this week reveals the extent to which candidates like Joni Ernst are inextricably tied to the oil lords and their anti-working families agenda.

Ernst did not parse words in crediting the Kochs and their extensive network for getting her to where she is today. Now, the billionaire brothers are reaping the benefits of their investment, as Joni Ernst, the Republican nominee in a key senate race, sings the Koch gospel on issue after issue.

From her philosophical opposition to the Renewable Fuel Standard to her support for privatizing social security, from her assertion that having a federal minimum wage is “ridiculous” to her call to close the doors to the Department of Education, Joni Ernst is in lock-step with the Koch brothers decades-long extreme platform. And she’s at odds with Iowa.


At Secret Koch Conference Ernst Thanked The Koch Network With Helping Launch Her Political Career

At Secret Koch Conference Ernst Said Koch Network Started Her Career “Trajectory,” Helping Her Rise From Being “A Little Known State Senator.”  According to a transcript of Ernst’s statements at the 2014 Koch conference, Ernst said “Well, first, I want to take a quick time out. And you’re absolutely correct, that um, as Tom mentioned earlier, the, the first time I was introduced to this group was a year ago, August, in New Mexico, and I was not known at that time. A little known state senator from a very rural part of Iowa, uh, known through my National Guard service and some circles in Iowa. But the exposure to this group and to this network and the opportunity to meet so many of you, that really started my trajectory. And it started a very strong victory that we’ve progressive, progressively built upon throughout the campaign cycle.  So really, the folks in this room that got my start, so having folks that, that backed me in this election cycle and primary” [Koch Conference Panel Transcript, Posted 8/26/14]

At Secret Koch Conference Ernst Said “The Folks In This Room That Got My Start” As A Reason For Koch Donor Support, And Her Primary Victory. According to a transcript of Ernst’s statements at the 2014 Koch conference, Ernst said “So really, the folks in this room that got my start, so having folks that, that backed me in this election cycle and primary . It was a five-way primary, a very tough cycle. I was (inaudible) initially and was outspent uh, by millions of dollars in the primary. But we were able to capitalize on my strong record in the state senate, um, rolling back taxes in the State of Iowa, removing, uh, burdensome rules and regulations, and doing the right thing for the Iowa people.”  [Koch Conference Panel Transcript, Posted 8/26/14]

At Secret Koch Conference Ernst Framed Her Victory As Essential To The 2016 Presidential Election. According to a transcript of Ernst’s statements at the 2014 Koch conference, Ernst said “And in a state like Iowa, if I can use Iowa as a specific example of the long term, right now we have a Republican senator and a Democratic senator. And with the Democratic senator retiring, the opportunity to replace him with, with another Republican senator. We are setting the stage for Iowa as the first in the Nation’s caucus that all of our presidential hopefuls come, come to. We’re setting the stage in 2014 with a Republican victory, so that likelihood is in 2016 we can, uh, go red as a state and assist any Republican nominee from Iowa.So we’re setting the stage for the presidency.” [Koch Conference Panel Transcript, Posted 8/26/14]

Ernst Noted This Was Her Second Koch Conference.  According to The Huffington Post:  “During their speeches, both Cotton and Ernst noted that this was actually the second Koch brothers’ retreat they had attended. Last year, the two had gone to the New Mexico event as politicians of less stature. The Koch network has since helped usher them to the doorsteps of the United States Senate.”  [The Huffington Post, 8/27/14]

Ernst And The Koch Brothers Opposed A Federal Minimum Wage Increase

Joni Ernst

Ernst Opposed Raising The Minimum Wage. According to a transcript of the U.S. Senate Republican Primary debate hosted by Iowa Public Television, “Borg: But you avoided, to the best of my knowledge you avoided saying whether or not to raise the current – Ernst: I would not raise the current one. I do believe that we have a number of people that will start in those introductory level jobs and hopefully then progress out of those jobs into better paying jobs as their skills increase.” [IPTV, 4/24/14]

Koch Brothers Founded And Funded Americans For Prosperity Opposed Raising The Minimum Wage

Americans For Prosperity Identified Opposition To Raising The Minimum Wage As A Key Vote. Americans for Prosperity’s online scorecards of key votes in the 110th, 111th, 112th and 113th Congresses included one vote on raising the minimum wage: 2007 House vote 18, on the Fair Minimum Wage Act. AFP opposed passage of the bill. [AFP Scorecards for the 110th, 111th, 112th and 113th Congresses, Viewed 4/16/14]

Charles Koch Opposed The Minimum Wage

2013: Charles Koch Identified The Federal Minimum Wage As An “Obstacle” To Economic Prosperity, And Said That He Wanted To “Clear Those Out.” According to the Wichita Eagle, “The point of it, Koch said, is that he believes prosperity grows where economic freedom is greatest, where government intervention in business affairs is kept to a minimum. He hopes his ideas will help the country grow, he said. In his interview he emphasized several times that he believes his ideas on economics will help disadvantaged people. […] ‘Anything that people with limited capital can do to raise themselves up, they keep throwing obstacles in their way. And so we’ve got to clear those out. Or the minimum wage. Or anything that reduces the mobility of labor.’” [Wichita Eagle, 7/9/13]

David Koch Ran For Vice-President In 1980 On Ticket That Advocated Abolishing The Minimum Wage

Koch Running Mate Ed Clark: “We Should Abolish The Minimum Wage Laws.” In his book, “A New Beginning,” Clark wrote: “We should abolish the minimum wage laws and licensing laws so that people can once again be free to compete and to work, so that no bureaucrat or politician backed by special interested can ever again stand between a human being and a chance to work for a living, bringing with it the dignity of self-reliance, not the dehumanizing dependency of helpless poverty and unemployment.” [A New Beginning, p. 97, August 1980]

Ernst And The Koch Brothers Wanted To Eliminate The Renewable Fuel Standard

Joni Ernst

Ernst Spokesman Said That “In A Perfect World, In A Free Market, She Would Support Doing Away With [The RFS].” According to the Sioux City Journal, “‘I understand that we are an ag economy here in Iowa and until we eliminate those subsidies across the board — every sector and at the same time — I’m going to continue to support the RFS,’ Ernst says. It’s the difference between a perfect world and the real world, according to campaign spokeswoman Gretchen Hamel. ‘In a perfect world, in a free market, she would support doing away with (the RFS), but that’s not the case,’ Hamel explained.” [Sioux City Journal, 7/29/14]

Ernst Was “Philosophically Opposed” To The Renewable Fuel Standard. According to the Sioux City Journal, “That’s no surprise to Sarah Benzing, campaign manager for Democratic U.S. Senate candidate and Iowa 1st District Rep. Bruce Braley, because ‘Ernst said she’s ‘philosophically opposed’ to the RFS.’ She is, Ernst says, but until all federal mandates and subsidies are eliminated is ‘philosophically opposed,’ the state senator from Red Oak will continue to support the Renewable Fuel Standard – the RFS. It requires fuel refiners to replace some of their traditional fuels with liquids like corn-based ethanol.

Koch Brothers Founded And Funded Americans For Prosperity Opposed Renewable Fuels Standards

Americans For Prosperity Official Said That “AFP Supports Efforts To Repeal The RFS Entirely. We Have Endorsed Legislation In Congress That Does So.” According to testimony from Christine Harbin Hanson, Federal Affairs Manager for Americans for Prosperity, during a public hearing by the Environmental Protection Agency, “On behalf of over 2 million AFP activists in all 50 states, I am pleased to have the opportunity to comment on the proposed rule for the 2014 Standards for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program. Let me state from the start that AFP supports efforts to repeal the RFS entirely.” [Christine Harbin Hanson – Environmental Protection Agency, Public Hearing Testimony,12/5/13]

Americans For Prosperity Official Said That “AFP Strongly Supports Efforts To Permanently Eliminate The RFS.” According to testimony from Christine Harbin Hanson, Federal Affairs Manager for Americans for Prosperity, during a public hearing by the Environmental Protection Agency, “Given it’s numerous downsides, AFP strongly supports efforts to permanently eliminate the RFS.” [Christine Harbin Hanson – Environmental Protection Agency, Public Hearing Testimony, 12/5/13]

Charles Koch Opposed Ethanol Subsidies

Koch Industries CEO Charles Koch Opposed Ethanol Subsidies. According to the Des Moines Register, “Charles Koch – the new owner of ethanol plants at Fairbank, Iowa Falls, Menlo, and Shell Rock – has come out against tax credits or other subsidies for biofuels. Koch’s position isn’t necessarily a surprise; the Koch family has long espoused conservative political positions. In an article in the Wall Street Journal last week, Koch, who is CEO of Koch Industries, wrote ‘because of government mandates, our refining business is essentially obligated to be in the ethanol business. We believe that ethanol – and every other product in the marketplace – should be required to compete on its own merits, without mandates, subsidies or protective tariffs. Such policies only increase the prices of those products, taxes and the cost of many other goods and services.” [Des Moines Register, 3/6/11]

Ernst And The Koch Brothers Supported Privatizing Social Security

Joni Ernst Supported Private Social Security Accounts

Ernst Supported “Transitioning” Younger Workers From Social Security To Personal Savings Accounts, Which Could Include Investments In The Stock Market. According to a debate prompt about Social Security answered by state Sen. Joni Ernst, “However, we do need to look at younger workers as they are working their way towards that Social Security age. Those younger workers that are entering the workforce now–James, this would be you–but, entering the workforce, transitioning them into perhaps a personal savings account. And again, something that cannot be raided by federal bureaucrats. It is their own savings account. Whether it’s tied to the market, whether it is an interest-bearing savings account, those are some things that we need to have discussions on.” [KWQC, 5/19/14]

Koch Brothers Founded And Funded Americans For Prosperity Advocated For Private Social Security Accounts

Americans For Prosperity Foundation Supported Private Social Security Accounts. According to Americans for Prosperity Foundation, “Thankfully, there is a better way. We could empower workers with a choice: stay with the tax-and-benefit system of Social Security as it is now, or save and invest your same payroll tax contributions through a personal savings account. Instead of seeing their hard-earned dollars funneled through Washington to pay for current retirees’ benefits, workers would truly own and control the accumulated funds and could invest them with a wide variety of investment funds offering different mixes of stocks and bonds and different levels of risk and reward.” [, February 2012]

David Koch Ran For Vice-President In 1980 On A Platform That Advocated Eliminating Social Security

Clark-Koch Called Social Security “The Most Serious Threat To The Future Stability Of Our Society Next To The Threat Of Nuclear War.” According to a press release from the Clark for President Committee, “Clark said Social Security ‘the most serious threat to the future stability of our society next to the threat of nuclear war.’” [Clark for President Committee, 9/24/80]