The Koch brothers have been trying to abolish campaign finance laws for more than three decades. In 1980, David Koch discovered a loophole that allowed him to contribute unlimited funds to a campaign if he was on the ticket. So he wrote to the Libertarian Party, bought a spot as their VP nominee, contributed over $2 million of his own money, and ran on a ticket that advocated for abolishing campaign finance laws (among others, like the minimum wage).
Fast forward 30+ years and the Kochs’ dream of overrunning democracy with unbridled political spending has essentially been realized. Their extensive network of dark money organizations reaches far and deep – like the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity, which has already promised to spend $125 million to buy midterm elections for extreme Republican candidates that will push the Kochs’ self-serving agenda. It’s the same agenda that they’ve been pushing for decades–abolishing the minimum wage, slashing Medicare, removing environmental protections, and dismantling Social Security.
Check out our new video above and learn more about the Kochs’ influence.
Koch Said “The Best ‘Loophole’ The Supreme Court Gave Us Was Its Decision That The Presidential And Vice Presidential Candidates Are Not Subject To The $1,000 Spending Limit…They Can Contribute Whatever They Please.” In a 1979 letter to Libertarian Party delegates, Koch wrote, “When the Libertarian Party joined Eugene McCarthy and Jim Buckley in their suit against the FECA, the Supreme Court ruled parts of this totally unconstitutional law to be invalid. Perhaps the best ‘loophole’ the Supreme Court gave us was its decision that the Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates of a party are not subject to the $1,000 spending limit to which the rest of the American public is. They can contribute whatever they please.” [Koch Letter To Libertarian Party Delegates, 8/22/79]
Koch Said “My Proposal Is…As The Vice Presidential Nominee Of The Libertarian Party I Will Contribute Several Hundred Thousand Dollars To The Presidential Campaign Committee.” In a 1979 letter to Libertarian Party delegates, Koch wrote, “So my proposal is basically as simple as this: As the Vice Presidential nominee of the Libertarian Party I will contribute several hundred thousand dollars to the Presidential campaign committee in order to ensure that our ideas and our Presidential nominee receive as much media exposure as possible.” [Koch Letter To Libertarian Party Delegates, 8/22/79]
Koch Said “My Ability To Give Unrestricted Funds Was A Major Consideration” For Vice Presidential Nomination. According to New York Magazine, “‘They liked me, I guess,’ Koch muses. ‘But obviously, my ability to give unrestricted funds was a major consideration. It was only after they sent me out to San Francisco for briefing with their scholars that they realized I knew more about Libertarianism than they did.’” [New York Magazine, 11/3/80]
Campaign White Paper: “We Propose To Expand Free Speech And Free Elections By Abolishing The [Federal Election Commission].” In a white paper, Clark wrote, “Private organizations find themselves threatened when they discuss the performance of their elected representatives. We propose to expand free speech and free elections by abolishing the FEC.” [Clark For President White Paper On Taxing And Spending Reduction, 1980]
Campaign White Paper: “Any Restriction On An Individual’s Ability To Contribute To The Candidate Of His Or Her Choice Is A Restriction On His Or Her Right To Free Speech And A Violation Of The First Amendment.” According to the Clark Election Laws Whitepaper, “Any restriction on an individual’s ability to contribute to the candidate of his or her choice is a restriction on his or her right of free speech and a violation of the First Amendment.” [Clark Election Laws Whitepaper, 1979]
Campaign White Paper: “The Reporting And Disclosure Requirements Of The FECA Are Among Its Most Serious Violations Of Civil Liberties.” According to the Clark Election Laws Whitepaper, “The reporting and disclosure requirements of the FECA are among its most serious violations of civil liberties. The law requires that the ‘full name and mailing address (occupation and the principle place of business, if any)’ of each political contributor in excess of $100 ‘together with the amount and date of such contributions’ be filled with the Commission and that such reports be made available for public inspection. In addition, political committees are required to keep records of many smaller donations.” [Clark Election Laws Whitepaper, 1979]
Clark-Koch Campaign: “Strict Respect For Individual And Property Rights Will Safeguard The Environment Without Restricting Legitimate Energy Production Efforts.”According to a League Of Women Voters Of Illinois Questionnaire For Presidential Candidates, “Government boondoggles like synthetic fuels run roughshod over environmental concerns. Strict respect for individual and property rights will safeguard the environment without restricting legitimate energy production efforts. There’s no conflict between energy and the environment in a free market.” [League Of Women Voters Of Illinois Questionnaire For Presidential Candidates, 8/22/80]
Campaign White Paper: “We Propose A 50 Percent Reduction In Payments To [Medicare] Contractors For Processing Claims Payments.” In a white paper, the Clark-Koch campaign wrote, “Medicare Contractors – cut We propose a 50 percent reduction in payments to contractors for processing claims payments. We are confident that administrative overhead can easily be cut by that much.” [Clark For President White Paper On Taxing And Spending Reduction, 1980]
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]
Clark: “The Federal Minimum Wage Law Has Destroyed Hundreds Of Thousands Of Jobs For Teenagers And Minorities.” In his book, “A New Beginning,” Clark wrote: “The federal minimum wage law has destroyed hundreds of thousands of jobs for teenagers and minorities.” [A New Beginning, p. 92, August 1980]
Clark: “There Will Be Unskilled Adult Workers Who Are Not Worth The Minimum Wage.” In his book, “A New Beginning,” Clark wrote: “But the minimum wage law doesn’t only hurt teenagers. The teenager who can’t get that first job soon becomes the young man or woman with no work experience, unable to get any job. And there will be unskilled adult workers who are not worth the minimum wage. So the potential employer decides to automate, or to hire one skilled worker instead of two or three unskilled workers, or to let his customers wait on themselves. Hundreds of thousands of jobs for the poor have been destroyed by this one piece of legislation – legislation framed by politicians who seem to think it’s better to be on welfare than to hold down a low-paying job.” [A New Beginning, August 1980]
Clark 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]
Clark: “The First Major Reform To Be Effected Is The Elimination Of The Payroll Tax.” In his book, “A New Beginning,” Clark wrote: “The first major reform to be effected is the elimination of the payroll tax (the Social Security tax). The payroll tax is regressive, falling most heavily on lower-income workers. And as we have seen, it has devastating consequences for our economy, withdrawing billions of dollars from productive investment.” [A New Beginning, p. 81, August 1980]
Clark Said “For Those Individuals Who Neglected To Provide For Their Own Retirement […] Voluntary Charitable Organizations Could Provide Assistance.” In his book, “A New Beginning,” Clark wrote: “For those individuals who neglected to provide for their own retirement, normal welfare programs – and increasingly, under a revitalized economy, voluntary charitable organizations – could provide assistance.” [A New Beginning, p. 82, August 1980]
Clark-Koch Campaign Wanted To Abolish The 13.3% Social Security Payroll Tax. According to a press release from the Clark for President Committee, “In his White Paper Clark proposed abolishing within three years the 13.3% Social Security payroll tax (the half of the tax paid by the employer is simply an added labor cost, said Clark, which is ultimately borne by the employee in the form of lower wages) and funding future payments out of general revenues.” [Clark for President Committee, 9/24/80]
Clark-Koch Campaign Wanted To Remove Those Under 40-Years Of Age From The Social Security System. According to a press release from the Clark for President Committee, “A key element in the proposal would be the removal of all Americans under 40 from the system. Individuals over 40 would be guaranteed benefits now due them.” [Clark for President Committee, 9/24/80]
Clark-Koch Campaign Wanted To Create Tax-Free IRA-Type Accounts That Would Give Individuals More Retirement Income Than Social Security. According to a press release from the Clark for President Committee, “Tax-free IRA-type accounts would be established under the plan, which Clark said would allow most workers to ‘end up with significantly more retirement income than Social Security would provide.’” [Clark for President Committee, 9/24/80]