David Koch

At Koch Retreat, Top GOP Senate Candidates Credited Koch Network For Their Rise

The Huffington Post

Three top Republican Senate candidates heaped praise on the political network built by the conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch during a secretive conference held by the brothers this past summer, according to audio of the event.

Iowa state Sen. Joni Ernst and Arkansas Rep. Tom Cotton directly credited donors present at the June 16 retreat in Dana Point, California, for propelling them forward. Colorado Rep. Cory Gardner told attendees that his race would likely be decided by the presence of “third party” money — an obvious pitch for generosity from the well-heeled crowd.

The presence of Gardner and Cotton was previously reported by The Nationmagazine, though it is unclear if Cotton ever confirmed his appearance. Ernst’s attendance had not previously been reported.

For all three, the association with the Koch brothers’ network is likely to provide kindling for their opponents, who have already argued that the Republicans are steered by deep-pocketed conservatives.

Audio of the event, held at the St. Regis Monarch Beach resort, was obtained by The Undercurrent and shared exclusively with The Huffington Post. In it, the three Republican candidates, appearing on a panel titled “The Senate: A Window of Policy Opportunity for Principled Leaders,” speak for several minutes each about the state of their respective races. Because the discussion took place in mid-June, some of the comments are dated. In addition, some of the audio was redacted to preserve the anonymity of the individual who provided it — “a source who was present at the event,” per an official with The Undercurrent — and to remove sections with too much cross-talk. A separate source, who helped organize the retreat, confirmed each candidate’s participation.

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.

“I was not known at that time,” Ernst said. “A little-known state senator from a very rural part of Iowa, 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.”

“We are going to paint some very clear differences in this general election,” she said earlier in her talk. “And this is the thing that we are going to take back — that it started right here with all of your folks, this wonderful network.”

Cotton went further, crediting Koch-funded groups for helping change the political landscape of Arkansas.

“Americans for Prosperity in Arkansas has played a critical role in turning our state from a one-party Democratic state [inaudible] building the kind of constant engagement to get people in the state involved in their communities,” he said.

Such discussion is franker than that offered during the daily grind of the campaign trail — for obvious reason. The talk was private. At one point, Cotton flatly claims that former Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost his seat because he “endorsed immigration principles.” At a separate panel on congressional races, the audio of which was also sent to The Huffington Post, officials with two Koch-funded organizations — Americans for Prosperity’s president, Tim Phillips, and Freedom Partners’ president, Marc Short — also spoke more candidly about Senate races than they would have on a public panel.

“Michigan is a state that’s basically an uphill climb honestly,” said Short, mentioning the battle to replace Sen. Carl Levin (D).

“Minnesota, everyone’s favorite comedian, Al Franken. He, against all expectations, actually has kept his head down and not made stupid comments, and has been in decent shape in a relatively blue state,” said Phillips, referring to another Democratic senator, who is up for re-election this year.

Listen to highlights from both panels here…

Continued…

 

Here’s How Much Fox News Hosts Are Intertwined With The Koch Brothers

FOX KOCH

Fox News

The Huffington Post

More than a dozen Fox News personalities have made appearances at events for groups funded by the Koch brothers, even as many of them were also defending the controversial billionaires on the network’s airwaves, according to a new study from Media Matters.

Charles and David Koch, founders of Americans for Prosperity (AFP) and the Americans for Prosperity Foundation (AFPF), have called on at least 15 Fox News hosts and contributors to publicly promote upcoming AFP and AFPF events, Media Matters said. These hosts include Tucker Carlson, Mike Huckabee, Laura Ingraham, Guy Benson, Dana Perino and Andrew Napolitano.

A recent Politico report showed that AFP “intends to spend more than $125 million this year on an aggressive ground, air and data operation benefiting conservatives.” Since 2012, a growing number of hosts have become the faces of these Koch-funded events in an effort to increase the attendance.

Moreover, many of these hosts have also loudly backed the Koch brothers on Fox News shows, Media Matters noted. Just weeks before Tucker Carlson was set to be the lead speaker at an AFPF in May, for instance, he criticized opponents of the Koch brothers during an edition of “Special Report.” Hosts of “Fox & Friends” and “The Five” have also come to the brothers’ aid and used their shows to promote AFP and AFPF material.

Networks have often frowned upon hosts when they’ve veered from normal opinionating into more explicit party politics. MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough and Keith Olbermann were both briefly suspended in 2010 for making donations to political candidates. Ed Schultz was also pulled from speaking at a Florida Democratic fundraiser when it seemed he might too be crossing a line. Fox News itself has clamped down on hosts, ordering Sean Hannity to return to New York in 2010 after the network found out he was set to lead a Tea Party fundraiser.

Charles Koch Is Sick Of ‘Collectivists’ Calling Him ‘Un-American’

Charles Koch, CEO of Koch Industries

Koch needs to stop whining.  “If the shoe fits...”

It’s ironic how he uses the derogatory term collectivists while decrying people calling him the equally derogatory term “un-American“.  It appears his premise is simply “I can call you names but how dare you call me names.”

The Huffington Post

Charles Koch has apparently had enough of “collectivists” criticizing his “un-American” ways.

In an opinion piece published online Wednesday in The Wall Street Journal, the billionaire backer of conservative candidates and causes came to his own defense, claiming he only seeks to uphold the principles of “dignity, respect, equality before the law and personal freedom,” which he said he believes “are under attack by the nation’s own government.” He defined collectivists as “those who stand for government control of the means of production and how people live their lives.”

Koch and his brother, David Koch, are under increasing attack by Democrats. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and others have taken to the Senate floor and other platforms to accuse the brothers of trying to “buy America.”

Koch claimed his critics “strive to discredit and intimidate opponents.”

Rather than try to understand my vision for a free society or accurately report the facts about Koch Industries, our critics would have you believe we’re “un-American” and trying to “rig the system,” that we’re against “environmental protection” or eager to “end workplace safety standards.”

Far from trying to rig the system, I have spent decades opposing cronyism and all political favors, including mandates, subsidies and protective tariffs — even when we benefit from them. I believe that cronyism is nothing more than welfare for the rich and powerful, and should be abolished.

The Koch brothers have backed multi-million dollar attack blitzes slamming Democratic candidates and President Barack Obama’s signature health care legislation. In the wake of Reid’s recent criticism, the brothers are funding a group in Nevada to run attack ads against the Senate majority leader.

Reid and his backers show no signs of retreat.

“There have been times in my life I’ve been a little afraid,” Reid said Tuesday on the Senate floor. “But I’m not afraid of them.”

Read the full op-ed at The Wall Street Journal.

Obamacare fight gets too hot for Kochs: We’re not backing GOP’s shutdown tactics

Koch brothers

The Raw Story

As the government shutdown moved into the ninth day on Wednesday, even conservative billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch appeared to be abandoning Republican lawmakers who were trying to use the tactic to derail the president’s health care law.

NBC’s Michael Isikoff reported that Koch Industries, which is privately owned by the activist brothers, sent a letter to members of Congress, insisting that “Koch has not taken a position on the legislative tactic of tying the continuing resolution to defunding Obamacare nor have we lobbied on legislative provisions defunding Obamacare.”

Phillip Ellender, the company’s president of Government and Public Affairs, instead declared that the company had put its emphasis on “reducing our nation’s debt and controlling runaway government spending” with the hopes of never needing to raise the debt ceiling again in the future.

“Congress should focus on these efforts: balancing the budget, tightening and cutting government spending, curbing cronyism, and eliminating market-distorting subsidies and mandates,” Ellender wrote.

The letter was prompted by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) charge on the Senate floor on Tuesday that the Koch brothers “have been raising and spending hundreds of millions of dollars to get us to where we are right now.”

Isikoff told MSNBC’s Tamron Hall that the Koch Industries letter was fascinating because groups funded by the Koch brothers had spent more than $200 million in an effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

And those groups had pushed the tactic of “defunding the government as a wedge to get Obamacare defunded,” Isikoff explained. “Now, here we have the Koch brothers, who in some ways helped foster that movement, saying, ‘Whoa, slow down, we’re not there, that’s not what we think Congress should be focusing on.’”

Watch this video from MSNBC, broadcast Oct. 9, 2013.

NYC PBS President Freaks Out Over Documentary Critical of Koch Brothers, Offers David Koch Unprecedented Rebuttal

pbs

Oh well…it seems the truth hurts in this instance.

BuzzFlash

Thom Hartmann recently wrote an extremely widely read article on how the Public Broadcasting Service has evolved into a sometimes self-censored television network, in large part because major donors represent the 1% who would be the subject of discussion when it comes to economic concentration in the hands of a few.

Hartmann entitled his commentary, “The Corporate Dictatorship of PBS and NPR.” The primary example Hartmann offers of how critical analysis necessary for formulating public policy is de facto censored concerns how PBS dropped the funding of a documentary called “Citizen Koch.”

As Hartmann details,

Public broadcasting institutions now rely more and more on corporate and billionaire cash to operate, which is probably why PBS and NPR now filter what they play on their airwaves, so that they don’t anger their wealthy backers.

This is where the documentary “Citizen Koch” comes in.

“Citizen Koch” is a documentary about money and politics, focusing heavily on the uprising that took place in Wisconsin in 2011 and 2012.

It talks about how the Citizens United decision paved the way for secretive political spending by major players, including the Koch Brothers.

As Brendan Fischer over at the Center for Media and Democracy’s PRWatch points out, the documentary was originally supposed to air on PBS stations nationwide, but its funding was abruptly cut off when, it appears, David Koch was offended.

But why would PBS care if David Koch didn’t like one of their documentaries?

Because, according to Jane Mayer of the New Yorker, David Koch has donated upwards of $23 million to public television. And when you donate $23 million dollars to public television, you get more than just a tote bag or a coffee mug – you get to dictate the on-air programming.

This brings us to the PBS WNET affiliate in NYC, where David Koch recently sat on the board.  He was also rumored to be readying a “seven-figure” gift to the Big Apple Public Broadcasting station.

Enter Alex Gibney, who won a 2008 Academy Award for “Taxi To the Dark Side” – his meticulous and compelling exposure of the death by torture of an innocent Afghan taxi driver due to sanctioned torture in Afghanistan.  Gibney filmed a documentary for WNET, “Park Avenue: Money, Power and the American Dream” that focused on one of the wealthiest residential buildings in New York City: 740 Park Avenue.

According to Jane Mayer, who had written about the Kochs before in a celebrated New Yorker article in 2010, it would be difficult to do a film about 740 Park Avenue without examining the Koch empire that created their wealth, as well as their political activities. What did WNET President Neal Shapiro do when he realized that “Park Avenue” might offend David Koch? Why, he called him and offered him a rebuttal, a roundtable discussion, a written response: anything that would appease a 1% donor who was on the board of the station (Koch has since quit) and was about to give a bundle to WNET.

Continue reading here…

The Koch Brothers Are Spending Millions to Deny Poor Americans Healthcare

Koch-Brother-Star-in-Clear-and-Present-Danger-Axis-of-Evil

I’ll never understand the logic of billionaires using every mechanism possible to keep working poor Americans “in their place” by making every effort to destroy ObamaCare.

PoliticusUSA

One should be wary of assigning the word evil to another human being because it means they are profoundly immoral and guilty of not conforming to conduct established as consistent with principles of personal and social ethics. Evil, or immoral, people would likely cause pain, suffering, and even death to another human being for pleasure, or withhold assistance to a person in distress regardless it would be of no consequence or cost to them. Unfortunately, America is home to two of the most evil men on the planet. It is difficult to imagine any American spending their money to deny medical care to an infirm American they have no connection to or personal hatred for, but Charles and David Koch are spending money to deny poor Americans healthcare for no readily apparent reason except the Kochs are genuinely evil, immoral men devoid of personal or social ethics.

Recently there has been encouraging news for residents of states with Republican governors because they are accepting the Affordable Care Acts’ Medicaid expansion provisions to provide the poorest Americans with healthcare. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer is the latest Republican to accept the Medicaid expansion plan that takes effect on January 1, 2014 and is fully funded by the federal government for three years. After three years federal funding begins phasing down to no less than 90% by 2020. States would be left with a minimal investment (10%) after 2020 to provide healthcare for hundreds-of-thousands of poor Americans who would be without medical care without the expansion.

Brewer, who is not normally recognized for her compassion, spoke at arally to garner support for her decision and cited her reasons for embracing expansion that include, broadening eligibility for the poor saves taxpayer money, saves lives, and eases the burden on hospitals caring for uninsured patients. She warned that without expansion, 50,000 Arizonans would lose healthcare coverage after January 1 “even if they’re in the middle of their treatment; the human cost of this tragedy can’t be calculated.” Despite the cost to the state of not expanding Medicaid, one might wonder why Brewer had to rally support to avert an incalculable human tragedy, because any Arizona resident with a modicum of morality would embrace a program providing healthcare to 50,000 poor Arizonans.

Continued here…

Romney Donor Says ‘Lower Income’ People ‘Don’t Understand What’s Going On’

The “rich” seem to be thoroughly uninformed about “the rest of us” and that includes Mitt Romney…

Think Progress

Today, Mitt Romney is holding a series of fundraisers in the Hamptons, culminating with a huge event at the home of billionaire David Koch. The LA Times in on the scene and reporter Maeve Reston caught up with a donor on her way into one of the events.

The woman, who wouldn’t reveal her name, said the following:

I don’t think the common person is getting it…my college kid, the baby sitters, the nails ladies —everybody who’s got the right to vote — they don’t understand what’s going on. I just think if you’re lower income — one, you’re not as educated, two, they don’t understand how it works, they don’t understand how the systems work, they don’t understand the impact.

The recommended contribution for the event she was attending was $25,000.

Earlier in the campaign Romney recieved criticism for saying, “I’m not concerned with the very poor.” He later said he misspoke.

Romney’s tax plan would give the richest 0.1% of Americans an average tax cut of $264,000.

THE $71 MILLION PLAN: Kochs, Rove & Casino Billionaire Team Up To Beat Dems

If these guys are looking for a repeat of the cash infused Wisconsin recall election, they need to know they have a much tougher opponent to deal with this time.  True Democracy cannot be purchased…and true Americans would not attempt to do so.

The Huffington Post

Casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson, whose net worth makes him one of the world’s richest men, is on a check-writing spree that will soon bring his total political contributions in this election cycle to at least $71 million, according to sources familiar with his spending. That money is spread across the spectrum of GOP super PACs, which are required to disclose donors, and nonprofits, which are not.

Adelson and his wife, Miriam, along with other family donations, have already reached $36 million, including $10 million to the Romney-backing super PAC Restore Our Future that was reported this week. But two GOP fundraisers familiar with his plans say that Adelson has given or pledged at least $35 million more to three conservative nonprofit groups: the Karl Rove-linked Crossroads GPS, another with ties to billionaires Charles and David Koch and a third with links to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.).

Adelson, 78, is a staunch supporter of the Israeli right and a strong foe of American unions. In recent years, Adelson has been a major financier of GOP-allied groups, but has emerged this year as the consummate super donor in the wake of 2010 court rulings that permitted corporations, unions and individuals to supply unlimited amounts of money, sometimes anonymously, to independent groups that can advocate directly for candidates.

Adelson has told friends that he might give as much as $100 million in donations this year in support of GOP candidates and conservative issues. That target now seems easily within reach and could be surpassed, say the two GOP fundraisers with ties to the casino magnate.

Continue reading here…

Why the Kochs Want to Make Chris Christie President

Alternet

Neither Romney nor Perry has done the one thing that truly excites the Koch brothers and their fellow deep-pocketed Christie fans: take on the public sector unions in a big way.

When Texas Gov. Rick Perry, currently the frontrunner in the Republican presidential nomination contest, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie made a pilgrimage in June to a Colorado gathering of wealthy right-wing donors convened by billionaires Charles and David Koch, one man clearly impressed the brothers much more than the other.

Introducing Christie, who delivered the keynote address to the Koch Industries gathering, David Koch gushed. “With his enormous success in reforming New Jersey, some day we might see him on a larger stage where, God knows, he is desperately needed,” said Koch, according to secretly recorded audio files of the event obtained by Brad Friedman of the Brad Blog.

Yet Christie, foe of teachers and their unions, had made it plain months before in no uncertain terms: he was not running for president. “[S]hort of suicide, I don’t really know what I’d have to do to convince you people that I’m not running,” Christie told a group of reporters in February. “I’m not running.”

His protestations aside, a new push for a Christie candidacy by a handful of high-flying Republican political donors — including Koch, the moneybags behind the Tea Party aligned group, Americans for Prosperity, and countless other right-wing organizations and efforts — has the political world aflutter at the prospect of the pugilistic former prosecutor on the debate stand. Republican luminaries including Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol have suggested Christie enter the presidential contest, and even Karl Rove has publicly mused on that possibility. Further stoking the speculation, Christie last night delivered at the Reagan Library a speech that sounded for all of the world like the rationale for a Christie presidential candidacy.

Edit: This article is long, but well worth the read.  Continue here…

During Secret Retreat With Billionaires, Koch Lobbyist Admits Tea Party Group ‘Designed’ To Elect Republicans In 2010

Rachel Maddow dissected the Koch brothers’ relationship to the Tea Party over a year ago…so this is nothing new.  It’s simply inadvertently out in the open.

Think Progress

This morning, blogger Brad Friedman, writing in Mother Jones and BradBlog, revealed a set of audio tapes from the last major donor meeting convened by the billionaire Koch brothers. There are a number of startling revelations from the scoop — but the opening remarks from Kevin Gentry, a Koch Industries executive at the firm’s DC lobbying office, blow the cover off the many Tea Party efforts underwritten by the billionaires in the Koch network of donors.

Gentry, who doubles as the official responsible for doling out Koch charitable grants, admits privately what ThinkProgress and others have noted for years: Americans for Prosperity, the front group founded by David Koch, orchestrates Tea Party events simply to elect more Republicans. Gentry said he met with Fred Young, a Wisconsin owner of engine manufacturing plants, at an Americans for Prosperity (AFP) event “designed to help in the Congressional races” during one of their “get out the vote tours”:

KEVIN GENTRY: I’m going to turn it over to a dear friend, Fred Young, for the purposes of an introduction. Fred is a long-time fighter, freedom fighter, in this movement, from Racine, Wisconsin. Former owner of Young Radiator. As part of our efforts last year, in 2010, I was on the road for [TN?] in Wisconsin, here at one of Americans for Prosperity’s last minute kind of get out the vote tours. And I went to an event in Racine, Wisconsin, and met up with Fred. It was sort of a Tea Party AFP event designed to help in the Congressional races. And Fred was kind enough to lend me a sweatshirt because I wasn’t actually prepared for Racine, Wisconsin in November. So Fred, let’s take it away, please.

Too many in the media ignored the Koch network’s transparently partisan agenda last year. A few outlets, like the Washington Post, took the group to task for spending $45 million in attack ads against Democrats using an unaccountable, secret money wing of Americans for Prosperity. However, most failed to report on the millions more spent on four different bus tours designed to promote Republicans. These rallies, which required great resources in terms of staff and logistics, were never reported to the Federal Elections Committee as campaign spending, thus evading the few watchdog groups and reporters interested in serious election coverage.

As ThinkProgress revealed last year, in documents outlining the June, 2010 donor meeting, billionaires like Paul Singer, Ken Griffin, Rich DeVos, and John Childs are regular attendees of these events, which solicit multi-million donations for an elaborate array of right-wing front groups, from Tea Party organizers like Americans for Prosperity to stealth advertising campaigns like “Public Notice.” Unfortunately, many still report on Tea Party groups like Americans for Prosperity as bonafide grassroots organizations.

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