Before 1980, David Koch was just like any other millionaire. The businessman controlled an expanding corporate empire and had more money than he knew what to do with. Still, all of the wealth and power wasn’t enough: David wanted to get into politics. In the 1980 election, Koch ran for vice president on the Libertarian ticket. The Libertarian’s extreme and absurd platform proposed the abolition of dozens of crucial government programs that protected American citizens, including Medicare and Medicaid, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Social Security. Koch even advocated for abolishing all taxes and public schools.
Although it was Ronald Reagan who won the 1980 presidential election, at least it wasn’t David Koch who moved into the White House.
Unfortunately for Americans, however, the Koch family was not finished messing around in politics – not by a long shot. If they couldn’t control the White House from the inside, they’d do the next best thing: Buy Congress one senator at a time. Along with his older brother, Charles, David Koch began pumping millions of dollars of the family fortune into U.S. elections in an all-out effort to fill every level of the U.S. government with far-right, anti-government conservatives.
Fast forward to 2016, and, just as the Koch family business has grown, so too has the Koch brothers’ ability to influence American politics. In fact, it’s reached a magnitude of terrifying proportions: for the upcoming presidential election, the political network led by Charles and David Koch has pledged to spend $889 Million in campaign donations.
That’s comparable to the money that both the Democratic Party and Republican Party – combined – plan to spend on this year’s election. The unprecedented amount shows how the Kochs believe they can personally buy their desired election result. The fact that 2 people can control an election is a gross contradiction to democracy and the fundamental principles America was built on. Americans should be horrified and outraged that a man who once tried to eliminate public schools, welfare, and the EPA is now trying to buy his choice of president.
Secretly Pulling the Strings
In January of 2015, the nation’s wealthiest corporate executives and industry leaders crammed into a luxury resort in Palm Springs, California. The weekend-long conference was organized by the Koch brothers, and the attendees represented the top conservative donors in the country. On the docket were seminars, strategy sessions, and networking events, all of which focused on the overall goal: winning the 2016 presidential election.
The highlights of the weekend were speeches by presidential candidates Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) as well as the announcement that the Koch political network would spend close to $1 Billion on the 2016 election. The network is a sprawling web of politically active nonprofit groups that cooperate to achieve corporation-friendly political objectives. At the center of the network is Freedom Partners, an Arlington County-based trade organization that Politco described as “the Koch brothers’ secret bank.”
Because the organizations in the Koch political network are considered nonprofits, they don’t need to disclose where their funding comes from. This bypassing of campaign finance laws has earned the group criticism for lacking transparency. The nonprofit status also allows the groups to horde tremendous amounts of money while evading taxes.
Because of the 2010 Citizens United decision which said that there was no limit to the amount corporations or unions could spend promoting or denouncing a political candidate, outside spending has skyrocketed in U.S. elections. So now the Koch political network can spend as much as if not more than the political parties themselves without revealing where the money comes from.
The Palm Springs get-together represents how the American political system is being hijacked by a small group of unimaginably rich individuals, namely the Koch brothers. This group is hell-bent on deregulation, corporate tax-cuts, and derailing the federal government. The Koch brothers only care about their business’s bottom line and not about what is best for America or hard-working Americans. The Kochs are further determined to make and keep as much money as possible – and they’re willing to essentially hire GOP politicians to make that happen.
A Family Fortune Founded on Helping the Nazis
Today, Koch Industries is listed by Forbes as the second-largest company in America. Annual revenues for the conglomerate, whose brand names include Brawny paper towels, Dixie cups, Georgia-Pacific lumber, and Stationmaster carpets, are estimated around $100 Billion. Charles and David Koch are tied for 5th place on the Forbes list of wealthiest Americans.
But where does all the wealth come from? As one is apt to guess, this ungodly sum of money didn’t accrue out of thoughtful and generous negotiation and great magnanimity for one’s fellow man. In reality? The Koch family fortune has its origins in business deals with dictators Joseph Stalin and Adolph Hitler.
Fred Koch, the father of Charles and David, made big bucks building state-of-the-art oil refineries in the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany during the 1930s. Fred Koch even met with Hitler, who personally approved some of the oil refinery projects. The refinery built by Fred Koch provided the Nazis with the high-octane oil they needed for their war planes, which they were previously unable to refine.
That’s right, if one digs deep enough into the history, they’ll find that the Koch family aided the Nazi war effort – and that they got paid handsomely for it, too.
The Koch patriarch greatly admired America’s enemies in the Second World War, at one point even saying, “the only sound countries in the world are Germany, Italy, and Japan.” Fred Koch implemented Nazi-like strictness in the upbringing of his children, which, as author Jane Meyer suggests in her new book Dark Money, produced a lasting, irrational urge within his sons to fight all forms of authority, including the federal government.
A Covert Force Affecting America
The efforts of the Koch brothers have in effect become a tractor beam, one that pulls all of America’s politics to the right. Besides gaming elections, the Koch’s have worked hard so that their opinions alter the U.S. government. From sabotaging every initiative started by President Obama – especially Obamacare – to funding dozens of bogus “scientific” reports denying climate change, the brothers make sure they affect every hot issue of the day.
Koch Industries is even behind the diabolical Furthering Asbestos Claims Transparency (FACT) Act, a bill that would make it very difficult for American men and women suffering and dying from the horrifying diseases caused by asbestos exposure to receive compensation. The bill would also leave asbestos victims open to the risk of identity theft and cybercrime.
Since 2010, Koch Industries has given the 19 House Judiciary Committee members who voted to pass the FACT Act $241,500. The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a powerful lobbying force that has made it a priority to pass the FACT Act, also receives enormous funding from the Koch brothers. It should come as no surprise that the Koch brothers want to pass the FACT Act. Georgia Pacific, a Koch Industries subsidiary, has already paid $1 Billion in asbestos-related liability, and the FACT Act would help the Koch-owned company avoid paying more. The Koch’s have gotten rich from poisoning workers and the public with asbestos, and now they’re trying to get away with it.
The Koch family will poison Americans with asbestos, support America’s tyrannical, genocidal enemies, destroy the environment, and promote lower wages for workers, all so that they can add more billions to their incredible wealth.
Until Citizens United is repealed or other campaign finance reform is passed, the Koch brothers will continue to abuse America’s democratic ways in an effort to increase their profits. Americans who want the Kochs to have less control over our country should know that the GOP is controlled by the sprawling Koch political network, and that many Republican candidates are virtual puppets of the greedy Corporate America. By supporting the Republican Party, voters are supporting an America where citizens lose and the Kochs only get richer and more powerful.