The Taint of Kochs on McDonnell’s Reform Commission

Is there a Koch connection to Gov. Robert F. McDonnell’s 31-member commission on government streamlining?
The Kochs are brothers David H. and Charles who run Wichita-based Koch Industries, a petroleum-based conglomerate that is the second-largest privately held company in the United States. They are hard-right political activists with a libertarian, anti-Obama
bent, who, according to a recent New Yorker profile, “believe in drastically lower personal and corporate taxes, minimal social services for the needy, and much less oversight of industry — especially environmental regulation.”
Among the Kochs’ many donations are millions of dollars for the Arlington-based Mercatus Center, a “market-oriented” think tank tied to George Mason University. One Democratic strategist has described Mercatus as “ground zero for deregulation policy in Washington.”
Maurice McTigue, a former New Zealand politician and a vice president at Mercatus is on McDonnell’s commission. McTigue, who was known as a government streamliner in New Zealand, has advised states such as Louisiana on cutting state functions.
A spokeswoman for Mercatus says that, except for McTigue, there is no direct tie between the McDonnell commission and the think tank. A source close to the commission reports that McTigue sits in on meetings of subcommittees other than his own. Also, correspondence from a McDonnell staffer that was supplied to me by a source suggests that Mercatus is playing a bigger role by helping the commission “flesh out potential recommendations and ideas.”
The governor’s goal is to cut back on state spending, privatize as many entities as seem appropriate, end redundancies and make state government more transparent. These may seem like worthy goals to some. But one wonders if it really means having the state throttle the poor and sick and let companies have their way with the state’s rivers, lakes and air, along with the Chesapeake Bay. Will consumers be protected from predatory firms? Or would that be off-limits for state regulators?
Other questions have been raised about the makeup of McDonnell’s commission. It is being chaired by Fred Malek, a former Army Green Beret and Nixon administration staffer who was involved in President Richard Nixon’s efforts to identify Jews at the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Malek has said he did so reluctantly and later apologized.
Besides Malek, the rest of the McDonnell commission is very lopsided — to the right. Among its members:
  • Alexandra Liddy Bourne, executive director of American Energy Freedom Center, a Northern Virginia outfit that also employs former Republican Gov. George Allen. The conservative energy lobby pushes for oil drilling off of Virginia’s coast and runs through the usual laundry list of opposition to global warming legislation.
  • Commission member Geoff Segal is a vice president of Macquarie Capital, an Australian firm that is very big into privatized road projects — another McDonnell favorite.
  • “Special advisor” is Mike Thompson, chairman and president of the Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy, a right-wing, libertarian outfit that unfortunately took over the old Bacon’s Rebellion e-zine and turned it into an e-rag for Northern Virginia-based lobbyists pushing privatization and limited government.It isn’t exactly the place to turn to to see a wide spectrum of opinion.
The Kochs however, are much bigger fish and, according to the New Yorker, they have pumped millions to stymie Barack Obama whom they consider a socialist. The conservative movement has had more than its share of Southwestern or Midwestern oil billionaires, such as the Hunt brothers of Texas, who have the deep pockets for their favorite political charities. These are the kinds of people who attacked John F. Kennedy because he was a Catholic and backed Curtis Lemay, the neo-fascist retired Air Force general, for office. The New Yorker says the Kochs are covertly funding the Tea Party movement, which is a curiosity given the Tea Party’s supposed populism.
But money, especially oil money, talks.
Peter Galuszka

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10 responses to “The Taint of Kochs on McDonnell’s Reform Commission”

  1. What are the Kochs going to do when they find out that McDonnell is doing this:

    " Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell to unveil plan for a bar and restaurant tax

    Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) will unveil a proposal Wednesday to impose a 4 percent tax on restaurants and bars as he tries to make up for $260 million the state could lose in taxes and profit if Virginia privatizes its liquor system, according to several sources familiar with the plan."

    here we were being harangued by Bacon and Groveton about how McDonnell was going to show us how to do small govt and now.. this….

    geeze guys… when you add this to him deferring payments to the pension fund and then claiming a surplus …

    this guy is making Warner/Kaine look like fumble-butts.

    Hey Peter.. you're on the WRONG WAVE LENGTH here…

    Everybody and their dog knows that it's George Soros that we should be suspicious of…..

  2. Anonymous Avatar

    OK Mr. Gooze.

    Good information that is not available from the MainStream Media but…

    What to do about it?

    As meetings and subcommittee meetings open to the public?

    Is there a published schedule?

    What actions are available?


  3. James A. Bacon Avatar
    James A. Bacon

    I love it, Peter, you don't just believe in guilt by association, but guilt by association by association. How many degrees of separation are there between the Kochs and Keven Bacon, er, I mean Bob McDonnell? Let's see.

    Bad people attacked John F. Kennedy for being Catholic. (First degree.) The Hunt Brothers are similar to those bad people. (Second degree.) The Kochs are Southwestern/ Midwester billionaires like the Hunts. (Third degree.) The Kochs give money to the Mercatus Center. (One degree.) Maurice McTigue is a member of the Mercatus Center. (Fourth degree.) McTigue serves on McDonnell's government reform commission. (Fifth degree). Bingo, Bob McDonnell is only six degrees away from people who attacked JFK for being Catholic!

    Congratulations, you win the prize!

    Now, how about this? Adolf Hitler knew Neville Chamberlain. Neville Chamberlain knew FDR. FDR knew LBJ. LBJ knew Chuck Robb. Chuck Robb knows Stewart Bryan. Stewart Bryan knows Peter Galuszka! Peter, you fascist pig!

  4. Gooze Views Avatar
    Gooze Views

    Contact the commission through the Guv's website. And of course, there's always the ballot box. However, I see my role as that of a reporter and analyst. I am not an activist. You seem to be pushing me in that direction and I'm sorry but I won't go there.

    Larry: You nailed me, buddy. On ABC, McDonnell obviously hasn't thought this through. After eight months in office, it is still amateur hour. I hear this froma number of state workers.


  5. Robert F. McDonnell's 31-member commission on government streamlining?


    You need 31 people to tell you how to streamline? This can't have a good ending.

  6. Gooze Views Avatar
    Gooze Views

    Follow the money.
    Peter Galuszka

  7. " You need 31 people to tell you how to streamline? "

    hey man.. do you want small government or not?

    such a critic you are…

  8. Anonymous Avatar

    Geeze, about 5 years late to the party Gooze.

    You left out the Koch connection to Americans for Prosperity, George Allen's American Energy Freedom Center, the leadership of the RPV, and the push for offshore oil (actually gas) drilling.

  9. Anonymous Avatar

    Mr. Gooze:

    As Anon 7:32 PM (Really Anon 8:32 PM hiding behind an hour-off-alias) points out, every ‘story’ is ‘old.’ The only way to make a contribution is analysis PLUS solutions.

    And the solutions cannot be ‘stop being a liberal,’ stop being a conservative’ or ‘my property personal rights are more important than any community responsibility or cumulative impact.’


  10. The answer cannot be

    ‘my property personal rights are more important than any community responsibility or cumulative impact.’



    The community has its own property rights and its own responsibilities: they do not trump individual rights or responsibilities, but instead spring from them and support them.

    If it has a legitimate higher or more valuable purpose for someone's property than the present owner, then the community can buy those rights at a fair price.

    There is NOTHING that is inconistent between supporting strong property rights and supporting valuable community goals.

    The only thing that is inconsistent is claiming valuable community goals and not being willing to pay what they cost.

    The only thing that is inconsistent is claoiming valuable "communitgy " goals and then stealing from some members of the community to achieve them.

    Otherwise, I agree that the answer is not "Stop being a liberal" or "Stop being a conservative."

    I suggest that one answer is more like "Stop talking nonsense". If that ever happens it will pretty much undefine being either liberal or conservative.

    I don't expect to see it because liberals and conservatives have much to gain by distorting the truth. So do community activists of various flavors.

    The only one who does not stand to gain is the individual protecting the property rights he already has. Protecting those rights does not get him anything new or additional – if he wants that kind of gain he still has to go buy or make something. All he can hope for is not to lose against superior and more organized forces.

    So, if you want to follow the money to find who is being dishonest, the individual protecting what rights and liberty he has left is pretty much the last place to look, except for a few rare and extremely wealthy individuals.

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