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Scott Walker's Koch Connection Goes Bad

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This article cross-posted from The Nation


Billionaire campaign donor David Koch has rarely spoken in public about the central role he has played in the election of Scott Walker as governor of Wisconsin, the defense of Walker's embattled governorship and, now, Walker's desperate attempt to defeat the recall election that more than one million Wisconsinites have demanded.

Until now. And that has raised fundamental legal and political questions about the manipulation of Wisconsin politics by out-of-state billionaires.

It is no secret that Koch and his billionaire brother, Charles, have long been Walker supporters. Their Koch Industries PAC was the second-highest donor to Walker's 2010 campaign, donating $43,000. The PAC also gave $1 million to the Republican Governors Association, which streamed spending into Wisconsin on behalf of Walker's election.

And the Americans for Prosperity groups the Kochs founded and financed certainly seemed to be active on Walker's behalf.

But AFP and its foundation could not campaign openly for Walker or other candidates, as they are tax exempt organizations operating under laws that protect civic and educational charities.

So it was incredible when David Koch admitted in an interview with the Palm Beach Post that he planned to support Walker with spending by AFP. "We're helping him, as we should," Koch said of Walker. "We've gotten pretty good at this over the years. We've spent a lot of money in Wisconsin. We're going to spend more."

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John Nichols, a pioneering political blogger, has written the Online Beat since 1999. His posts have been circulated internationally, quoted in numerous books and mentioned in debates on the floor of Congress.

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