Despite describing Donald Trump as “a petty man consumed by resentment and bitterness,” Karl Rove and his American Crossroads donors are the latest members to join Team Trump. Rove’s defection to the #eventuallytrump crowd further undermines the Republican establishments ineffectual “Never Trump” movement. Trump’s continual stream of personal invective can’t […]
Tag: Koch brothers
Facing a tough reelection challenge from Governor Maggie Hassan, perennial Big Oil ally and beneficiary Kelly Ayotte is making herself out to be an environmentalist by touting her support for the Obama administration’s proposal to cap power plants’ carbon pollution levels. That sounds nice, but Kelly Ayotte’s history tells a rather […]
To: Friends and Allies
From: David Brock
Date: Friday, November 7, 2014
Re: Dear Koch Brothers: We Aren’t Going Anywhere
For six months, American Bridge has been working to show just what kind of world the Kochs are trying to create through in-depth research reports on their business practices, statements, and views.
We’re exposing just how self-serving and out of touch their worldview is with that of average Americans, and we know we’re making headway because of how the Kochs reacted to the scrutiny: the president of Americans for Prosperity, the Kochs’ political arm, accused us of engaging in “the politics of personal destruction” and not focusing on policy, which is clearly not the case – all of our attacks against the Kochs are based on their views on policy or their business practices. The Kochs’ PR folks are accusing reporters of getting research from us and telling them not to trust it because they say we’re running a smear campaign – but they fail to mention that what we’re saying is true. Koch Industries recently began running – for the first time ever – a positive PR campaign to build up their public image that we’re so successfully breaking down. And the Kochs created yet another dark money group – Freedom Partners Action Fund – to back Koch-approved candidates.
The work we did this cycle put their candidates on the defensive and caused them to spend precious time and resources denying their Koch connections. Terri Lynn Land in Michigan had to defend the Kochs’ terrible environmental record in her state. Scott Brown in New Hampshire was forced to address the fact that the out of state billionaires were funding his campaign. And Thom Tillis in North Carolina had to fight back against charges that he did whatever the Kochs told him to do so they’d help him win a Senate seat.
Earlier this month, Wisconsin U.S. District Judge Rudolph Randa issued an injunction that effectively allows outside groups to coordinate with political campaigns on so-called “issue advocacy,” overturning a longstanding Wisconsin campaign finance law banning such coordination. Given that Randa has ties to the the billionaire Koch brothers, who fund several outside groups that would very much like to see Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker win reelection, we likened his ruling to the proverbial fox guarding the campaign finance henhouse.
As it turns out, it’s even a stretch to suggest in jest that Randa is guarding the state’s campaign finance regulations.
In a separate ruling in September, Randa dealt another major blow to Wisconsin campaign finance statute, and the most recent financial disclosures from the Walker campaign show that he’s reaping the benefits from Randa’s newly-created loophole. Last month, Randa ruled that Wisconsin election officials should no longer enforce laws that cap the amount of money that political candidates — like Walker — can collect from PACs and campaign committees.
Prior to Randa’s ruling, the state’s limit for PAC contributions, which had been in place since 1990, was set at $700,830 for gubernatorial candidates. According to the Walker campaign’s latest campaign finance report filed last week, the campaign has accepted a whopping $2.6 million from political parties and political action committees. In total, that’s over three times the amount that was allowed by law, and almost $2 million of it coming in just the six weeks after Randa’s determination.
Put simply, Walker’s campaign has swiftly exploited Randa’s ruling on PAC contributions to bolster his campaign in the homestretch.
Walker’s status as a champion for Koch brothers and their allies is well-documented, with the billionaire brothers holding up his extreme right wing policies as exemplar of their political agenda. After all, prosecutors opened an investigation into illegal coordination between Walker’s campaign and a Koch-affiliated group, Wisconsin Club for Growth, during the 2012 recall election. What’s clear from Randa’s rulings, and the fact that he’s attended multiple Koch-sponsored junkets, is that Randa, too, is a Koch ally, who appears to be pursuing a concerted effort to roll back Wisconsin campaign finance laws to the benefit of Scott Walker and his political allies.
They called Social Security “the most serious threat to the future stability of our society next to the threat of nuclear war.” They wanted to abolish all minimum wage laws, while giving tax breaks to the rich and big oil. All in a self-serving attempt to drive the policy discourse further toward their extreme ideals to benefit their own bottom line.
Voters deserve to know the truth behind the Kochs’ self-serving agenda and just what they stand for. So, at American Bridge, we’ve launched RealKochFacts.com, a new research and rapid response resource to highlight the truth about the Koch agenda and what it means for working families in states around the country.
You can read the full op-ed over on CNN.com
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.