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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

by Lee Fang, Republic Report.

Americans for Prosperity, the grassroots organizing group founded by billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch, spent $125 million in the midterm elections last year. Now, they’re calling in their chips.

At the National Press Club yesterday, AFP president Tim Phillips and several officers with the group laid out their agenda. The group is calling for legalizing crude oil exports, a repeal of the estate tax, approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, blocking any hike in the gas tax, a tax holiday on corporate profits earned overseas, blocking the EPA’s new rules on carbon emissions from coal-burning power plants, and a repeal of the Affordable Care Act, along with a specific focus on the medical device tax.

The announcement was touted by NPR as a “conservative agenda for Congress.” But it’s also a near-mirror image of Koch Industries’ lobbying agenda. Koch Industries — the petrochemical, manufacturing and commodity speculating conglomerate owned by David and Charles — is not only a financier of political campaigns, but leads one of the most active lobbying teams in Washington, a big part of why the company has been such a financial success.

Koch Industries transports both crude oil and coal, making the AFP’s work to legalize crude oil exports and to block the EPA from rules that would diminish the coal market in the U.S. particularly important to Koch Industries’ bottom line. As multiple news outlets have reported, Koch also owns a substantial stake of Canadian tar sands, positioning the company to benefit from approval of the Keystone XL pipeline. Indeed, on EPA and other issues, Koch Industries’ lobbying office in D.C. has instructed its influence peddlers to work many of the same issues as AFP.

And what makes the AFP agenda almost a self-parody is its focus on the estate tax, which it called the “death tax” during the press event yesterday. In reality, this tax only affects the wealthiest 0.15 percent of Americans because only those who stand to inherit from family members with $5.43 million in wealth are impacted. Couple this with AFP’s focus on a corporate overseas tax holiday, again only an issue that impacts wealthy global companies, and AFP’s purported goal of helping regular Americans loses all credibility.

Charles Koch has made headlines in recent weeks over his claim that he will devote significant energy to criminal justice reform. But curiously, no issues relating to such reforms — even though over-prosecution of petty crimes and abuses such as asset forfeiture clearly fall under the umbrella of economic concerns AFP purports to champion — will be addressed by Charles Koch’s marquee advocacy group, AFP. The issues that are part and parcel of Koch’s bottom line, however, appear to take priority.

This article originally appeared on Republic Report.

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  • Gary Miles

    The Left’s infatuation with the Koch Bros is amusing. They #59 on the highest political donor list. George Soros does the same thing and no one says a peep. Hypocrits.

    • dtgraham

      That’s because those lists won’t include a huge amount of money, in this era of post Citizens United dark money and superpacs, although some do give a disclaimer to that fact.

      The lists of top donors don’t apply to or include those who’ve donated to superpacs and also don’t include any donations to dark money groups, meaning those that hide the identities of their donors. AFP is only one of many Koch backed dark money groups.

      The Washington Post though did an extensive analysis of dark money groups and found that, “the political network spearheaded by the Kochs has expanded into a far-reaching operation of unrivaled complexity, built around a maze of groups that cloaks it’s donors, according to an analysis of new tax returns and other documents” [1/05/14]. The Post estimated that the Kochs channelled at least $400 million dollars through their groups active in the 2012 elections. Romney and Obama spent almost a billion between the two of them for comparisons sake.

      In contrast, Tom Steyer raised and matched 50 million through his superpac for the 2014 election cycle and George Soros personally spent 1 million dollars in the 2012 election, and all of his donations were disclosed in publicly accessible records. Soros was very good at forming groups that raised a substantial sum but his personal contribution to those groups was quite modest. There are lists of donors however who wrongly attribute all of the money raised by those groups to Soros personally.

      • Eleanore Whitaker

        Soros also spent $200 million on education. The only donations the Koch bois have made thus far are to red state religious organizations they want to empower to convert all of us to their pathetic religion….GREED

  • Eleanore Whitaker

    There is NO infatuation with the Koch Bros. They own oil interests in the USA and Canada, they own one third of US media …and their other interests grow dangerously close to violating anti-trust laws which some right wingers think is fine and dandy for rich men to own monopolies. George Soros isn’t a multi-billionaire who owns the kinds of multiple interests the Koch boys do.

    George Soros also funds numerous colleges and universities with HIS wealth. The Koch Boys big donation was to a southern Bible Thumping college. Wow…all those billions they steal from the rest of us as individual taxpayers with the tax subsidies they get and DO NOT need and that’s the extent of their “charity?”

    When you give to charity, you are giving without expectation of “getting” one dime in return. If you have to “get” in order to give, that’s not charity. That’s a bribe.

    Check your list again. The Koch Bros are in the top 10 of the “World’s” wealthiest men. Soros doesn’t even rank in the top 20.

    • mike

      Now, Now, Eleanore looks like you got the facts wrong again so as to fit your agenda. Soros is 17th as of September 1014 by Forbes. No small player by any means. Nice try at parsing your words.

      Soros had enough money to fund the riots in Fergusion to the tune of 33 million. Riots that forced many innocent businesses to close their doors and their dreams.

      How about the leading philanthropist in US.

      Oh well, the heck with the facts, it’s the agenda, Stupid.

      • Eleanore Whitaker

        Wow 17th…Just think…The richest in the US is Bill Gates who gives much more back…Funny how you don’t bother to mention that a Walton is No. 4 or that No. 5 and 6 are Charles and David Koch…Let me know when Soros makes it to No. 5…till then your pathetic attempt at bashing Soros only proves your own inability to be unbiased when you post…By the way…My info on the Top 10 Wealthiest in the US comes from the same link you provided…Do try again asshat.

        • mike

          Why I should I mention the others when I was responding to your remarks about the Kochs.

          Talk about being biased, now that is funny, You seem to ignore the Philanthropy of the Kochs, who has given more, but you sure talk about Soros. What you ignore is the funding of groups involved in the riots of Ferguson by Soros and show no compassion to those business that lost everything.
          No, you are the asshat of all asshats. Biased and uninformed.

          • Eleanore Whitaker

            Mike…you are losing your own argument. Do you always try to prove a negative? You mention Soros who is No. 17…how many between 4, 5 and 6…all red state billionaires who eat up our tax subsidies like foi gras are also red state big oil, big pharma and big military industrialist billionaires?

            All you have is Soros at No. 17. And asshat you better be able to stand up in a court of law and prove that George Soros and not the Ferguson cops who hauled out the heavy duty military Mraps on Ferguson streets caused that riot. The Ferguson debacle was caused by the same bigoted white cops who, like you, live in mortal terror of being outnumbered by blacks 10 to 1. Time for you to get a brain. Your bias only shows you are a moron with a needle brain.

          • mike

            Why am I not surprised by your post, just more of your socialist/communist nonsensical crap.
            As to the rest of the post, what a massive piece of nothing.
            Keep trying though, I love to read the thoughts of a deranged person.

          • Eleanore Whitaker

            Oh I see…13 CEOs in the US in today’s NY Post (owned by ultra conservative Rupert Murdoch, a billionaire media mogul) say they don’t expect 2015 to be a banner year for business…one day after the president announces an end to corporate socialists loopholes stealing billions from the rest of us?

   need to keep trying..You’re losing and so is your corporate welfare socialists who lap up more in tax subsidies than we can afford to pay.

            Your days of living high on the hog are over pallie. Get over it. Now, let’s see how YOU like having to watch every dime you spend, how YOU like having YOUR wages stagnated to make someone else wealthy, how YOU like paying taxes for a change. Hurt that little hinnie does it? Tough.

          • mike

            And the Democratic party is not the party of the rich. You really are delusional once more. 7 of the 10 riches members of Congress are democrats.
            What a worthless waste of time by you.
            Obama is doing poorly on foreign affairs and is just another big tax and spend.

          • Eleanore Whitaker

            Typical male bully. When you are confronted with truth, you conveniently go deaf. that your great gaping maw is yawning and its open so wide, I hope a bird comes along and shows you his “business.”

            7 of the 10 richest are not Democrats and Democrats understand the concept of reciprocity. You take? You owe and you give back. This is what you bullies of the right hate most. You want it and you want it handed to you on silver platters. Sorry if we don’t pander to big baby boys like you.

            And, lest you try and vilify Dems…How many of the GOP tyrants are “connected” at the penis by the Koch Billionaires? Adler? Murdoch? It isn’t wealth…it’s who is whispering in the GOP bulls ears that makes the difference.

          • mike

            Bully!!!!!! Really?? You are so silly.


            Keep trying, you partisan hag and hack.

  • AlfredSonny

    I often wonder if the Super Rich are having several secret Super Bowls for the Highest Bribers, Largest Assets or Best Tax Evaders?

  • Paul F. Swartz

    What about SOROS’ money and his agenda….and STEYR’s,….and we can’t forget the UNIONS. I just wish we could be honest, but I guess when our President lies and deceives and finds it difficult to tell the truth, and denies that he said what he said, even though it’s on video, we can expect TRICKLE DOWN DISHONEST.

    • FireBaron

      Yep, they are there. But at least Soros and company’s legislative agenda isn’t looking at removing collective bargaining protection; minimum wages; allowing “the market” to decide on vacation, retirement and health care benefits; easing worker safety regulations; reducing or eliminating fines for environmental hazards and safety violations; privatizing Social Security and Medicare; elimination of education and housing standards; etc.
      As for Trickle Down Dishonesty, we have been experiencing that since the 1980s. When was the last time you saw a member of “Big Oil” build a refinery in the US, or increase production here? How many US based jobs did Mitt Romney create compared to the number he eliminated or off-shored? Has your paycheck kept track with inflation? Looking at what I earned in the early 80s compared to my cost of living, I was actually putting money away. Today, I have to check my bank balance on a day-to-day basis to make sure I don’t bounce checks in paying my bills.

    • stcroixcarp

      Which union controls over $40 billion dollars? Soros’s wealth is peanuts compared to the Kock boys. You are simply wrong.

      • S.J. Jolly

        Don’t you know? Only the rich should have political power. So working people’s collective political power, via unions, should be outlawed. 😕

  • plc97477

    I can tell you what the koch-sucking brothers want. They want to own the entire world.

    • dtgraham

      You may be on to something plc97477. There was a news item not too long ago concerning the Fraser Institute being caught red handed as having been funded to the tune of $625,500.00 since 2008 by the Koch brothers. The Fraser Institute is a conservative think tank in Canada. That’s quite a large figure by Canadian political standards, and in typical Koch fashion it was kept secret for years.

      When the news broke, the general feeling seemed to be—who the heck are the Koch brothers and why are foreign billionaires funding the Fraser Institute…and to the tune of roughly $100,000.00 per year? The only possible upside to this is I hear that Revenue Canada, embarrassed, is suddenly highly interested in the Fraser Institute reportedly.

  • ExRadioGuy15

    Paul F. Swartz repeats the pathetic GOP Fascist propaganda and the ridiculous “False Equivalency” argument (Koch brothers equal Soros/Steyer), so his “analysis” can be passed off as the ridiculous propaganda it is.
    In case you didn’t know, AFP is part of the Fascist Koch’s sphere of influence, unintentionally and unofficially nicknamed by me as the “Kochtopus”
    (Back in 2012, I wrote, on a Facebook comment thread, that organizations like AFP and ALEC are merely “slimy tentacles of the octopus known as the Koch brothers”. The media picked up on it and gave the moniker, “Kochtopus” to it)

  • ExRadioGuy15

    Let’s evaluate why Swartz’s analysis is false equivalency:

    The combined wealth and influence of George Soros and Tom Steyer come NOWHERE CLOSE to that of the Fascist Kochs; Soros/Steyer don’t have anything like the Kochtopus, either. So, we can dispense with the false equivalency argument right here and now…and forever.

  • Tony Torres

    We should ALL pay attention to the Kochs’ agenda,it is so self-serving I can make you gag. If we let the Koch brothers get more control than they already have the rest of us a screwed. It is to bad that most voters are either oblivious,dumb or just don’t care what happens to our country while these people gut it. There is something to stop this take over, just pay attention and vote their bought politicians out of office. I see no other solution.

    • S.J. Jolly

      When the Koch brothers, or their Tea Party stooges, talk about freedom and opportunity, it is their own freedom and opportunity — to do whatever they want to do — they are talking about.

  • Paul F. Swartz

    show me the facts, and I said UNIONS plural. Look at the effect they have had dictating—not letting workers choose–who to support…How many millions did Steyer spent in the past election? And to use Fascism as an argument then, seems to me, you’re speaking of Obama and his pen as an autocratic emperor or dictator (which he said over 20 some times he did not have the power as President, and he was supposedly a constitutional professor) instead of following the constitution You know, it’s only in a America that the top percentage who pay 86% of all INCOME TAX could be accused for not paying their “fair share” by about 50% of the people who do not pay any INCOME TAX at all; and we’ve seen the greatest disparity during Obama’s term between the wealthy and the poor. One thing for sure, the Koch brothers, Soros and Steyer never got where they did without risk, investment, nor could they get there with their hands out for so called entitlements. They worked! And isn’t it interesting that one can call the Koch brothers “fascists” but Obama and the administration refuses to call terrorists “Islamic extremists”. Name calling never advances one’s argument but shows lack of respect and knowledge.

    • S.J. Jolly

      Warren Buffet, for one, pays a lot of taxes, sure. But, as he recently said, he pays a smaller proportion of his income than his secretary does.
      Those who do not pay any income taxes do so because their incomes are below their personal deduction and exemption, they have huge medical expenses, have many dependents, or get their income from tax free municipal bonds! And, they still pay sales and property taxes.

      • Paul F. Swartz

        S.J. JOLLY….I said INCOME TAX! You must not be able to read. Where do benefits and gov’t handouts come from (food stamps, rent subsidies, child credits, ACA credits, etc) >>>>INCOME TAX, NOT SALES OR PROPERTY TAX. If you check out Buffet’s statement, I believe you will find that it has been debunked and he pays other taxes too besides income tax.

        • S.J. Jolly

          I didn’t explicitly say “income tax”, no. I overestimated your reading comprehension. As well as your manners.

          • Paul F. Swartz

            But he has taken the risks that creates businesses and jobs. I favor everyone having an investment in their government. Everyone needs to know where the money comes from besides “Obama’s stash!” Do a fact check yourself, and don’t make judgments about manners. We have a president who has already increased the DEBT AS MUCH AS ALL HIS PREDECESSORS, AND THAT BECDOMES A TREMENDOUS BURDEN ON FUTURE GENERATIONS WHO WILL BE FORECED TO SHOULDER THE DEBT!

          • S.J. Jolly

            Considering the state the economy was in when Obama took office, do you propose that he should have adopted balanced, pay as you go, budgets? While it would have been emotionally satisfying to see the bunch of big bankers responsible for the crash standing in the Unemployment Comp line, there would have been maybe a hundred million other Americans also in that line — and no Federal funding for it.

  • Daniel Jones

    The agenda of Americans Fucked Perennially is not a mirror image of the Koch agenda; it *is* the Koch agenda.
    Government, bought and paid for.

  • Elliot J. Stamler

    Unlike knee-jerk liberals, which most NM readers are, and unlike knee-jerk conservatives which ALL Fox readers/viewers are, as a moderate (which is what most people are) I judge each issue on its own merits. I find myself thus in agreement with 3 of AFB’s positions and disagreement with 4. Of the 4 I disagree with, I think the AFB goes much too far in 2 cases but has some merit.

  • S.J. Jolly

    What do David and Charles Koch want? To move up from multi-billionaires to trillionaires. To become the 21st century version of the Robber Barons of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, too big and powerful to be taxed or regulated. And never mind how many millions of people they have to step on to do it.

    • dpaano

      They want to run this country…..that’s what they ultimately want.