Tag Archives: Koch Industries

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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FYI: Rick Perry Is Big Oil’s $11 Million Man

I fear that a Rick Perry presidency will look  like a  George W. Bush presidency exponentially increased to the 10th power.

Think Progress

Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX), even before establishing super PACs to rake in unlimited contributions from Texas billionaires in his presidential run, has been one of the best funded politicians in history. Since his 1998 candidacy to be George W. Bush’s lieutenant governor, Perry has raked in$117,091,642 in campaign contributions, with the oil and gas industry the top contributor. Big oil has fueled Rick Perry’s career, the top industry contributor at $11,189,103, according to the National Institute on Money in State Politics:

Top oil company contributions include $189,188 from Exxon Mobil, $147,895 from Valero Energy, and $116,000 from Koch Industries.

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Rick Scott attends secret Koch brothers meeting in Colorado

Kiss the ring of your masters

Palm Beach Post

Florida Gov. Rick Scott attended a secret, invitation-only meeting outside Vail, Colo., hosted by conservative billionaire GOP donors David and Charles Koch, the governor’s staff confirmed today.

The meeting wasn’t on Scott’s official schedule and his spokesman Lane Wright initially refused to confirm or deny whether the first-term governor would make an appearance, saying he would not “speculate as to what he has done, or will do on his personal time.”

But, after The St. Petersburg Times reported Tuesday Scott did attend the meeting, Wright confirmed that the governor was there but would not say whether Scott was in Colorado on Sunday or Monday.

“I told anybody who asked me,” Scott, in Washington, D.C., told the Times, without revealing too much about what took place.

“It was very interesting,” he told the Times. “They wanted to know basically… what am I doing in Florida.”

Scott, the self-proclaimed “jobs governor,” joined at least three other conservative Republican heads-of-state at the semi-annual meeting.

Continue reading here…

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“Tell Us What To Say” – Tea Party Group Gives GOP Freshmen Medicare Talking Points

So, what sort of power does a group like the Tea Party have over members of the House and Senate?  Could it be Corporate and special interests who are looking for members of both houses in Congress to tow the free market line?  

The wealthiest corporations and special interest groups usually pepper politicians with overwhelming amounts of money in hope of influencing the political process.   

It’s the same way with the Tea Party which is backed by the likes of Koch Industries and other corporate interests.

Huffington Post

FreedomWorks Gives Freshman Republicans Tips For Dealing With Medicare At Town Halls

The conservative group FreedomWorks has a message for freshman Republicans in Congress: Do not shy away from the Medicare fight.

On May 24, the group run by former House Majority Leader Dick Armey convened one of its regular off-the-record meetings with “communicators from limited-government conservative offices in the House and Senate who have a close relationship with the grassroots,” according to an email from FreedomWorks’ Media Coordinator Jackie Bodnar obtained by The Huffington Post. The email was intended for attendees of the breakfast meeting.

The main topics of discussion, according to notes attached to the email that recapped the meeting, were the debt ceiling and Medicare. The special guest that day was Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), who argued, according to the recap, that the “debt ceiling has become a key bargaining chip that can be used to get the BBA [balanced budget amendment] passed.”

Matt Kibbe, president of FreedomWorks, focused on Medicare and gave the congressional offices tips for dealing with the hot topic in their districts (emphasis added):

  • Get out there and talk to people. Hold town halls at senior centers and other areas where the population is especially concerned about their benefits being cut. Take the lessons of ’94 and ’95 and get out there and explain to people that their immediate benefits will not be affected. Explaining the plan will offset confusion and the Democrats’ negative messaging.
  • We need to dispel the myth that if we leave Medicare alone it will stay the same. It won’t. By reforming them we are saving and strengthening these programs for the current and future generations.
  • Don’t bury your head in the sand. Republicans must not shy away from this issue. Expect Democrats to attack, but not fighting back will only makes it worse. BOLD action is needed.
  • Communicate that Democrats do not have a plan of their own. Hold up a blank piece of paper as a powerful image of their do-nothing approach.
  • Stick to your message.

Continue reading here…

 

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Plutocracy/ Koch Brothers’ Conservative Propaganda Machine – Front Groups

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Big Brothers: Thought Control at Koch

Is this legal?  Did Citizens United actually pave the way for this to be legal? 

What has happened to American Democracy ?

 Finally, just how corrupt are our Supreme Court Justices?

The Nation

On the eve of the November midterm elections, Koch Industries sent an urgent letter to most of its 50,000 employees advising them on whom to vote for and warning them about the dire consequences to their families, their jobs and their country should they choose to vote otherwise.

The Nation obtained the Koch Industries election packet for Washington State—which included a cover letter from its president and COO, David Robertson; a list of Koch-endorsed state and federal candidates; and an issue of the company newsletter, Discovery, full of alarmist right-wing propaganda.

Legal experts interviewed for this story called the blatant corporate politicking highly unusual, although no longer skirting the edge of legality, thanks to last year’s Citizens United Supreme Court decision, which granted free speech rights to corporations.

“Before Citizens United, federal election law allowed a company like Koch Industries to talk to officers and shareholders about whom to vote for, but not to talk with employees about whom to vote for,” explains Paul M. Secunda, associate professor of law at Marquette University. But according to Secunda, who recently wrote in The Yale Law Journal Online about the effects of Citizens United on political coercion in the workplace, the decision knocked down those regulations. “Now, companies like Koch Industries are free to send out newsletters persuading their employees how to vote. They can even intimidate their employees into voting for their candidates.” Secunda adds, “It’s a very troubling situation.”

The Kochs were major supporters of the Citizens United case; they were also chief sponsors of the Tea Party and major backers of the anti-“Obamacare” campaign. Through their network of libertarian think tanks and policy institutes, they have been major drivers of unionbusting campaigns in Wisconsin, Michigan and elsewhere.

“This sort of election propaganda seems like a new development,” says UCLA law professor Katherine Stone, who specializes in labor law and who reviewed the Koch Industries election packet for The Nation. “Until Citizens United, this sort of political propaganda was probably not permitted. But after the Citizens United decision, I can imagine it’ll be a lot more common, with restrictions on corporations now lifted.”

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Palin Headed To Madison, Wisconsin This Weekend

There will be interesting goings on in Madison Wisconsin this week-end…

TPMDC

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will be headlining a Tea Party rally this weekend, at a venue that has served as the stage for some very high-profile protests of late: The Wisconsin state Capitol building in Madison.

The state Capitol, of course, was the site of massive protests both outside and inside the building, as tens of thousands of people gathered to show (and shout) their opposition to Gov. Scott Walker’s anti-public employee union agenda. But now, as the Wisconsin State Journal reports, Palin will be coming to town to rally the other side.

And check out this nugget from the paper’s report:

Americans for Prosperity is organizing busses to the event. Last year’s gathering featured former Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson and others.

Americans for Prosperity is, of course, a Koch financed group. The Koch name has popped up quite a bit in the Wisconsin protests — most notably after Walker’s 20-minute phone call in late February with blogger Ian Murphy, who was posing as David Koch. During that call, Walker discussed his ideas for tricking the Democrats into coming back by pretending to negotiate, his ambition to bust the public employee unions in the mold of President Reagan firing the air traffic controllers — an event that Walker said had led to the downfall of the Soviet Union — and that he had considered (but ruled out) planting troublemakers in the crowds of protesters.

Palin’s presence could provide useful measure of activist motivation on each side at this point in the saga. Back in February, a pro-Walker Tea Party rally at the Capitol featured an all-star cast that included Andrew Breitbart and Joe “The Plumber” Wurzelbacher.

However, out of the tens of thousands who showed up that day, only a few thousand were on the pro-Walker side — with several times more demonstrators on the other.

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Behind the Story: Koch Industries Lobbying (Video)

Huffington Post

[...]

Charles and David Koch, the owners of the country’s second-largest private corporation, are libertarians of long standing, who contend that government regulations, taxes and subsidies stifle individual initiative and hamper American competitiveness. In recent years, the Kochs have played an increasingly public role as financial angels for conservative causes, politicians and foundations.

What’s not so well-known is the activity of Koch Industries in the trenches in Washington, where a Center for Public Integrity examination of lobbying disclosure files and federal regulatory records reveals a lobbying steamroller for the company’s interests, at times in conflict with its public pose.

The money that Koch (pronounced “coke”) has spent on lobbying in Washington has soared in recent years, from $857,000 in 2004 to $20 million in 2008. The Kochs then spent another $20.5 million over the next two years to influence federal policy, as the company’s lobbyists and officials sought to mold, gut or kill more than 100 prospective bills or regulations.       Continue reading here…

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REPORT: Everything You Need To Know About The Koch Brothers

More info on the diabolical Koch brothers…

Think Progress

Today, the Center for American Progress Action Fund released a report shedding light on the vast Koch network and how it operates. The report shows that Charles and David Koch have used the considerable wealth (they are worth a combined $44 billion) to push policies that put their profits ahead of the interests of most Americans.

The report finds:

  • Grassroots organizing for big business. The Koch brothers use their considerable wealth to bankroll the right wing, including the Tea Party. This serves the purpose of furthering not only their right-wing ideology but also their bottom line. Koch Industries has a lot to gain from gutting government oversight and electing candidates who oppose government regulation, especially in the oil-and-gas industry.
  • $85 million to 85 think tanks. Identification of at least $85 million the Koch brothers have given to at least 85 right-wing think tanks and advocacy groups over the past decade and a half.
  • State organizing. The Koch brothers are active at the state level, spending $5.2 million on candidates and ballot measures in 34 states since 2003. They donated directly to 13 governors that won election last year.
  • Over 70% of the GOP Freshman. The Kochs donated directly to 62 of the 87 members of the House GOP freshman class.
  • 2012. The Kochs are not going away. In fact, they have already pledged to raise $88 million for the 2012 election and have started scheduling events for potential Republican presidential candidates.

Read the full report here.

This report is intended to be a guide to help progressives map out the vast network of influence the Koch brothers have built over the last decades. By exposing the Koch brothers’ agenda and shedding light on how they operate, progressives can force a public debate that will show that the Koch brothers are outside the mainstream of most Americans and that they are putting their self-interest and right wing agenda ahead of middle-class families

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2,000 Protesters March On Koch Industries’ D.C. Office

Think Progress

Though they don’t want you to know about it, the billionaire Koch brothers are bankrolling a massive campaign to roll back progressive achievements, and today, labor, civil rights, and climate activists turned out at dozens of rallies across the country to demonstrate against the Koch’s secretive influence in American politics and to stand up for labor and civil rights.

In Washington, D.C. today an estimated 2,000 protesters marched on Koch Industries’ Washington D.C. offices and attempted to give Charles and David Koch an invitation to come out and speak with the protesters. Not surprisingly, the building’s doors were locked and no one was allowed inside. However, a representative from the real estate company which managed the building told an handful of organizers who attempted to deliver the invitation, “I’d be here with you guys if I wasn’t working right now.” Noting that he works for the building, not Koch, he said, “I don’t want to be here.”

The events were scheduled for today because it marks the 43rd anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Memphis, TN. King traveled to Memphis to support a strike by the city’s sanitation workers, and was an ardent supporter of workers’ rights. Dr. Earl D. Trent Jr., the senior pastor at the Florida Avenue Baptist Church in Washington, told ThinkProgress that if King “were alive today, he would be right here at the forefront, no doubt.” “And that’s why we have to carry this out.”

Last Thursday, tea party activists rallied on Capitol Hill to pressure Republican lawmakers to cut government spending. Crowd estimates ranged from “dozens” to “fewer than 200,” yet the event attracted dozens of reporters and significant media interest, producing hundreds of stories in local and national press. At today’s rally, which was ten times bigger than the tea party one, ThinkProgress spotted three reporters — none from mainstream publications.

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