Koch Brothers, Time to Run with the Big Dogs

Koch Brothers, time to run with the big dogs

Koch Brothers, a mere pup in the money-in-politics game.

The billionaire Koch Brothers, owners of Koch Industries, the second largest privately held company in the United States, have been demonized by the left for their insidious influence upon American politics. Lefties have painted the Kochs as the evil bankrollers of conservative America, with their moneyed tentacles reaching everywhere. With a six-degrees of separation kind of logic, they trace everything back to the Kochs.

Thus, it is fascinating to view the “Heavy Hitters: Top All-Time Donors, 1989-2014” list compiled by Opensecrets.org. It turns out that 13 of the 20 largest donor organizations skew blue and only two red. The evil Koch Industries registered 59th on the list. The American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees contributed $60.4 million over 25 years, the overwhelming majority of it to Democrats. Koch Industries donated $18 million.

Maybe it’s time for the Koch Brothers to step up their game. It’s time to run with the big dogs.

— JAB

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30 responses to “Koch Brothers, Time to Run with the Big Dogs

  1. re: the right wing echo chamber…

    yup:

    Blog: ‘Evil’ Koch brothers just 59th on top political donation list
    http://www.americanthinker.com/…/evil_koch_brothers_just…‎
    American Thinker
    2 days ago – ‘Evil’ Koch brothers just 59th on top political donation list … contributors to political candidates, their evil money financing evil Republicans.”

    sounds surprisingly like what Bacon just said, eh?

    oops.. here’s another with almost identical cut-lines:

    ” ‘Evil’ Koch Brothers Only 59th Largest Political Donor; Largest Dem …
    http://www.tpnn.com/…/evil-koch-brothers-only-59th-largest-political-donor-l…‎
    3 days ago – That the left tries to hide political donations behind groups who do not have … At least the Koch brothers have the balls to make their donations …”

    but here’s the truth:

    ” Koch Brothers Caught Up in California Crackdown on Hidden Political Donors”

    ” Two nonprofit groups connected with the billionaire Koch brothers are part of a $16 million settlement with the state of California for funneling money to political campaigns without properly disclosing their donors.”

    now try as one might.. you cannot find this kind of “news” on the right wing echo chamber sites…!!!!

  2. Double the Koch money, triple it… they spend about the same amount as American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees. No one on the left seems to have a problem with that. No one seems to think that the AFSCME’s massive money — not to mention the “volunteer” manpower supplied to political campaigns — is anything worth remarking upon.

    • how would you know if they are hiding it?

      more important – WHY are they hiding it?

      the entire premise of disclosure of money is for voters to decide
      if they like it or not…

      the Koch boys are violating the spirit and the letter of the law – and the right is defending it…

      shame.

      • You don’t think the big money boys on the left hide their money exactly the same way? Are you kidding me?

        • re: ” You don’t think the big money boys on the left hide their money exactly the same way? Are you kidding me”

          Nope… it’s clear what they give is reported.

          they are not hiding it. That’s why they show up ahead of “59th” place that we all know is a bogus number for the Koch boys – who have pioneered hiding money and then have their buddies in the right wing echo chamber trumpet their 59th place.

          show me ANY evidence at all of the others hiding money.. any….

          and then show me the left wing echo chamber talking about how they are not spending money…

          further.. show me how taking money from stockholders and hiding the donations of it to right wing groups is worse than unions collecting money from workers and spending it – not hidden .

          fess up Jim Bacon.. this is shameful behavior trumpeted as a false virtue!

      • The Koch Brothers decide how they want to spend their money. Union members don’t have the same right for their money. And to a significant extent, neither do employees contributing to their company PAC.

  3. and another:

    I think Bacon should issue a Mea Culpa now and admit the obvious existence of the right wing echo chamber – and it’s shamelessly demonstrated intent to mislead and propagandize .. to spew misinformation.. for the gullible and those who want their biases fed.

    next item please…

  4. If you read the source document from Open Secrets it says the survey does not include politically-oriented non-profits. One is the Heartland Institute in Chicago which the Kochs fund greatly. The Heartland Institute shows up everywhere from bashing climate change scientists to protecting petroleum interests.

    It could be that the unions are to be commended for reporting their contributions without subterfuge although Mr. Bacon does not seem to recognize it.

    • So, let’s look at “politically oriented non-profits.”

      The fact that the Kochs give money to the Heartland Institute is significant only if the Kochs are unique in doing so. Does the left have politically oriented non-profits? Why, I believe they do. Do leftist donors give them money, why, I believe they do. How does the Kochs’ giving in this regard compare to the giving of their left-wing counterparts? If you don’t know, your anecdotal evidence is meaningless.

      As for the unions reporting their contributions “without subterfuge”… you’ve got to be joking. You don’t think they’ve donated money to “educational” groups comparable to the Heartland Institute?

      • re: ” You don’t think they’ve donated money to “educational” groups comparable to the Heartland Institute?”

        DO you consider Tea Party political groups who have C3 401C IRS status as “educational” groups like the right wing does?

        😉

  5. “How does the Kochs’ giving in this regard compare to the giving of their left-wing counterparts? If you don’t know, your anecdotal evidence is meaningless.”

    How the hell am I supposed to do a comparison if neither side reports donations? All I am saying is that your argument based on this one opensecrets report is weak.

    There’s nothing “anecdotal” about it.

    • re: ” … argument based on this one opensecrets report is weak.”

      worse than weak because we already KNOW that the Koch Brothers have an extensive underground network that they funnel money into which effectively hides where it goes – AND they’ve run afoul of the law in California by funneling the money to “non-profits” engaged in politics.

      The entire thrust of the Koch Bros and organization like ALEC is to evade being visible to voters… to not be held accountable for their behaviors.

      if voters knew where the Koch money was being spent – they may vote differently – and the Koch bros know this so they fund political speech anonymously – in direct violation of the spirit and the rule of law.

      so we have this double whammy where the SCOTUS says that corporations are people in terms of funding political organizations – then we have the Koch boys setting up front organizations that take money and submerge it so that no one knows what it gets spent on.

      this is purported to be the way that “Democracy” …”works” by the folks on the right who espouse such concern for the Constitution.

      This is precisely why Europe outlaws this kind of subversion of Democracy… there is no other way to characterize it. It’s intent is to influence elections without being held accountable for their role.

      to defend this kind of behavior and to not advocate for laws to stop it – is regrettable.

      In my mind, it’s akin to a direct attack on Democracy itself.

      we should all be opposed to it – period – no matter who is doing it – and least of all the Koch boys.

      Where is that blog post – condemning the fact that someone can dump millions and millions of dollars into politics and show up – 59th as donors and then have the right wing echo chamber shamelessly exploit that lie?

      • “In my mind, it’s akin to a direct attack on Democracy itself.”

        So, what do you call it when George Soros funnels money through the back door to all sorts of left-leaning organizations whose aims you agree with?

        • re: ” So, what do you call it when George Soros funnels money through the back door to all sorts of left-leaning organizations whose aims you agree with?”

          the same exact thing if there is clear evidence like there is in this case.

          the problem is that in this case, we KNOW that the money is being funneled secretly but the right wing has no shame because they just go right ahead and trumpet the lie…that they know is a lie.

          who is claiming that Soros is 59th in donating and knows that he is secretly funneling that money?

          I’m not saying he does not – only that there appears to be little evidence that he does this and no one is claiming he is not a major donor.

          the Koch Brothers are well known to be 1. big donors and 2. hiding it and 3. – their supporters – claiming the opposite…

          that’s 3 strikes

  6. The Ford Foundation gives money to political causes, including $85 M to global warming. http://philanthropy.com/article/Ford-Commits-85-Million-to/123711/ Why the difference? This is not reported as a political contribution? Why not?

    • re: ” The Ford Foundation gives money to political causes, including $85 M to global warming. http://philanthropy.com/article/Ford-Commits-85-Million-to/123711/ Why the difference? This is not reported as a political contribution? Why not?”

      is the money directly spent to influence elections?

      TMT – I’m starting to wonder about you guy.

      do you not SEE these distinctions or do you think they don’t matter
      or what?

      using your criteria .. anyone who donates to any advocacy group is presumed to be making a political donation…even if they do not get involved in elections… just support their advocacy.

      the whole idea of the definition of a non-profit C3 501c group is rejected?

  7. Donating to global warming is clearly political. Did Ford give any money to scientists questioning global warming? There are some. Did Ford say, we think the world could use more research on human impact on climate versus other impacts on climate? Had they funded any questioner, all hell would have broken loose.

    And would the Ford Foundation oppose more federal spending on global warming? Not likely. Why are nonprofits supporting any advocacy period?

    Become a 501(c)(4) and then advocate to their hearts content.

    • giving money to any advocacy group even if they not spend it on elections – is “political” ?

      because you disagree with the mission of the group?

      do you think any/all advocacy groups are “political” ?

      normally TMT – “political” means a group that collects money to spend on the elections… not other things …

      that’s how they qualify for C3 501 c status – by NOT spending money on elections.

      • Tax-exempt entities don’t pay taxes. I do. Businesses do. Any private foundation should have a limit on its life so that its founder can avoid paying taxes only for a limited number of years. Better yet, limit the amount a person can give without paying estate taxes whether the bequest goes to heirs, charity or a private foundation. The nonprofit arena has too many big players.

        • that may be an argument but it’s not related to spending money on elections.

          there are thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of groups who take money for their core missions but they do not spend a dime on elections.

          just because a group exists that advocates something you disagree with does ot make them “political” in the sense that they are using money to participate in elections.

          would you take away tax exempt status from any group whose goals you or anyone else personally disagrees with ?

          you’d tax all these philanthropic organizations?

          I’m just trying to understand your thinking here.

  8. just to clarify:

    Federal 501(c)(3) Requirements

    To qualify for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status, an organization must meet the following requirements set by Congress:

    The organization must be organized and operated exclusively for religious, educational, scientific, or other charitable purposes.

    Net earnings may not inure to the benefit of any private individual or shareholder.

    No substantial part of its activity may be attempting to influence legislation.

    The organization may not intervene in political campaigns.

    The organization’s purposes and activities may not be illegal or violate fundamental public policy.

  9. Secrecy is important to the Kochs because if it was known that most of the warming denying “journalists” and “think tanks” were bankrolled by carbon industries they would lose credibility. The Kochs are to global warming as the tobacco companies were to cancer.

  10. The whole idea behind VPAP and Va’s tepid campaign laws relies on disclosure.

    the idea that any money is fine – as long as people know where it came from and then they can decide.

    but what the Koch Bros have shown is that the whole fundamental basis for the Va law – is bogus and totally ineffective.

    it’s almost as if VPAP is providing false assurances of disclosure – not through any fault of theirs but because Va has chosen to allow folks who want to hide money – to hide it.

    You can bet that Koch money is in Va politics but in terms of how much and who is getting it – forget it.

    ” Report: Quarter of ‘dark money’ spent in 2012 linked to Koch brothers”

    ” The Koch brothers poured $301 million into politically-active groups in 2012, according to a report from the Center for Responsive Politics.

    And of the $170 million in political spending reported by those groups to the Federal Election Commission, CRP estimates about $86 million came from Koch-linked organizations.

    That $86 million totals more than a quarter of all “dark money” spending, from groups that do not have to directly disclose their donors, in 2012.

    And the Kochs’ electoral reach was wide in 2012. The second-most politically active nonprofit, in terms of dollars spent, was Americans for Prosperity, the Kochs’ primary nonprofit.

    That group received more than a third of its contributions from three other Koch-linked dark money groups: The Center to Protect Patient Rights, Freedom Partners, and TC4 Trust.

    The report outlines the myriad ways in which contributions are funneled through various groups down to local-level political action committees that engage in elections, ballot initiatives and other political activities.”

    http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/fundraising/191867-report-quarter-of-dark-money-spent-in-2012-linked-to-koch

    • “The Koch brothers poured $301 million into politically-active groups in 2012, according to a report from the Center for Responsive Politics.”

      I wonder where the C.R.P. gets its funding to attack the Koch Brothers.

      Maybe the Koch Brothers should fund an organization to dig into the C.R.P.

      • reporting facts is an “attack”?

        so VPAP is now a “leftist” group because they report money in politics?

        good Lord Jim..

        yes.. in the world of righties, apparently!

        how did the right get so screwed up on basic logic?

  11. The Dark Money Machine – 274 million in anonymous donations in 2012

    http://goo.gl/jyPwEg

  12. re: ” I wonder where the C.R.P. gets its funding to attack the Koch Brothers.”

    here we have the right wing echo machine saying this:

    ” Thus, it is fascinating to view the “Heavy Hitters: Top All-Time Donors, 1989-2014” list compiled by Opensecrets.org. It turns out that 13 of the 20 largest donor organizations skew blue and only two red. The evil Koch Industries registered 59th on the list. The American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees contributed $60.4 million over 25 years, the overwhelming majority of it to Democrats. Koch Industries donated $18 million.”

    do they know that Opensecrets.org is the CFP?

    ” The Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) is a non-profit, nonpartisan research group based in Washington, D.C. that tracks the effects of money and lobbying on elections and public policy. It maintains a public online database of its information.

    Their database OpenSecrets.org[2] allows users to track federal campaign contributions and lobbying, by lobbying firms, individual lobbyists, industry, federal agency, and bills.”

    so when CFP provides info the right LIKES they trumpet it verbatim across the web as “proof” that others outspend the Koch Brothers but when they report other facts that show the total money the Koch Boys spent – they then become a bunch of lying leftists funded by nefarious lefty groups?

    come on Jim… make up your mind guy… are VPAP and CRP/OpenSecrets lying leftist groups ? truly?

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