The Koch brothers — the financial backers for Americans for Prosperity, the conservative group dedicated to making Barack Obama a one-term president and rolling back union rights across the country — rarely give interviews. So this lengthy discussion with the Palm Beach Post is noteworthy, especially since David Koch bluntly asserts that he and his brother are helping Governor Scott Walker fend off a broadly popular recall effort in Wisconsin:
Asked about his efforts to sway public opinion, Koch acknowledges his group is hard at work in places such as Wisconsin, where Gov. Scott Walker is facing off with public unions and grappling with a likely recall vote.
“We’re helping him, as we should. We’ve gotten pretty good at this over the years,” he says. “We’ve spent a lot of money in Wisconsin. We’re going to spend more.”
By “we” he says he means Americans for Prosperity, which is spending about $700,000 on an “It’s working” television ad buy in the state. It credits Walker’s public pension and union overhaul with giving school districts the first surpluses they’ve seen in years. The unions and the left see things differently.
A year ago, a blogger posing as David Koch famously prank-called Walker and goaded the governor to say it would be “outstanding” if Koch would fly him to “Cali” as a reward for crushing the public unions. The Koch brothers’ conglomerate, Koch Industries, holds regular political meetings in Rancho Mirage, Calif., and the events have attracted the likes of U.S. Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.
At the time of the prank call, Koch told The New York Times, he didn’t even know the Wisconsin governor’s name. He knows it now.
“What Scott Walker is doing with the public unions in Wisconsin is critically important. He’s an impressive guy and he’s very courageous,” Koch says after a benefit dinner of salmon and white wine. “If the unions win the recall, there will be no stopping union power.”