The Koch Brothers

January 6, 2011

Experience demands that man is the only animal which devours his own kind, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor. -Thomas Jefferson

Unbeknownst to the vast majority of Americans, there are two men who have had a major role in shaping not only Republican policy, but America policy as well. These two men are brothers David and Charles Koch. With a combined wealth exceeded only by that of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett among Americans, these two brothers have an extremely intimate relationship with the influential on Capitol Hill and with the right winged masses. Only a recent investigation by John Mayer of The New Yorker has unveiled the true motives of the Koch Brothers.

David and Charles were born into an extremely wealthy lifestyle, made possible by their father, Fred Koch, who ran Rock Island Oil & Refining, a major multinational corporation dealing with the ever increasing demand of oil all around the world. Their father was extremely politically active and had joined The John Birch Society, the arch-conservative group known for its skeptical view of governance and for spreading fears of a Communist takeover.

This group, sounding eerily familiar to the Right today, suspected President Franklin D. Roosevelt of being a Soviet agent, believed that communists had infiltrated all levels of media, approved the methods that Mussolini used to run his country, and they extremely disagreed with the civil rights movement.

Fred Koch imprinted his political ideology onto his children who would eventually take their father’s view to new heights of belief and power. When their father died, the corporation became to be controlled by the two brothers whom expanded the already significant company to one of the largest in the world. At the same time they began to follow the work of Friedrich von Hayek, the author of “The Road to Serfdom” (1944), which argued that centralized government planning led to totalitarianism. The brothers’ first public step into the political arena came in 1979, when David, then thirty-nine, ran for public office as the Vice President of the Libertarian Party.

The platform of David and his Presidential running mate, Ed Clark called for the elimination of the F.B.I. and the C.I.A., as well as the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Energy. The Libertarian Party wanted to put an end Social Security, minimum-wage laws, gun control, and all personal and corporate income taxes. Despite spending more than a personal $2 million dollars on the campaign, the party lost to Ronald Reagan. After their defeat the brothers realized that, without popular support, a more subtle method was needed to influence the American public.

The Brothers, using the proxy of more than thirty-four political and policy organizations, found they could influence US politics with their substantial monetary resources. The David H. Koch Charitable Foundation spent more than one hundred and twenty million dollars, while Koch Industries has spent more than fifty million dollars on lobbying. Moreover, the company’s political-action committee, KochPAC, itself has donated some eight million dollars to political campaigns, more than eighty per cent of it to Republicans.

In addition, during the past dozen years the Kochs and other family members have personally spent more than two million dollars on political contributions. Among the organizations that they have subsidized are the Institute for Justice, which files lawsuits opposing federal and state regulations; the Institute for Humane Studies, which funds libertarian academics; and the Bill of Rights Institute, which promotes a conservative view on the Constitution.

In 1977, the Kochs provided the funds to launch the Cato Institute, the nation’s first libertarian think tank. The Cato institute describes itself as nonpartisan, but it has consistently pushed for corporate tax cuts, reductions in social services, and laissez-faire economic policies.  As the heads of a major oil company, the brothers have much at stake with climate change policy, and they have proven to be vastly influential in spreading the doubt about the credibility of climate change science.

The brothers, after helping to create several think tanks, concluded that they alone were not enough to effect change. They needed a system to deliver their ideas to the street and to gain public support for them. Their new mechanism turned out to be the organization, Citizen’s for a Sound Economy, which was crucial in the attacks on President Bill Clinton during his administration. During the Obama administration they had funded another grassroots organization, Americans for Prosperity which has been instrumental in swaying politicians against Obama’s agenda.

By recruiting people through religion and conservative talking points, they are able to have them push the agenda that would mostly benefit the rich. The Koch brothers believe in a country that is void of social safety nets, environmental regulation, gun control laws, and many other government programs and regulations. If they are not put under investigation they will continue to push the corporate agenda through G.O.P strategies and pose a threat to America.


If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. -John F. Kennedy

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