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OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 4/23/11

Koch Brothers' Pernicious Political Influence

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Pernicious Koch Brothers Political Influence - by Stephen Lendman

An earlier article on America's Tea Party discussed its backers, including David and Charles Koch, billionaire owners of Koch Industries, a privately owned energy conglomerate with interests in manufacturing, ranching, forestry, finance, and numerous other ventures in 60 countries and 45 states. 

In 2009, Forbes called it America's second largest private company after Cargill with annual revenues of $100 billion. Donating generously to recruit, educate, fund, and organize Tea Party protests, they helped turn their private agenda into a mass movement of working Americans backing policies oppositie their own self-interest, added proof of the power of persuasion to deceive and betray.

On April 4, Center for American Progress (CAP) Action Fund contributor Tony Carrk published a report headlined, "The Koch Brothers: What You Need to Know About the Financiers of the Radical Right," saying:

They use their vast wealth to bankroll "right-wing political action groups, think tanks, and individual politicians" to advance extremist notions of limited government, deregulation, privatization of state enterprises, assets and resources, low corporate and personal taxes, minimal social services, anti-unionism, and overall business friendly anti-populist policies.

They strongly oppose healthcare and financial reform, collective bargaining rights, and environmental sanity, among other issues. Since the mid-to-late 1990s, they donated over $85 million to dozens of right-wing think tanks and advocacy groups, including Americans for Prosperity, an anti-labor group for unrestricted free enterprise, limited government, tax cuts for the rich, job-killing trade agreements, and right to offshore jobs freely to low-wage countries.

The Kochs also donated directly to 62 of the 87 House Republican freshmen and participate actively in state politics, spending $5.2 million on candidates and ballot measures in 34 states since 2003, besides direct donations to 13 governors last year.

According to Wisconsin campaign finance filings alone, Koch Industries PAC contributed $43,000 to Republican Scott Walker's governatorial campaign, second only to the $43,125 given by state housing and realtor groups. Moreover, Koch PAC helped Walker and other Republicans by contributing $1 million to the Republican Governors Association. RGA then spent $65,000  supporting Walker and $3.4 million on television attack ads and mailings against his opponent, Milwaukee Democrat Mayor Tom Barrett. 

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