A Koch Industries representative penned an open letter on Wednesday, aiming to “set the record straight” after Senator Reid said that the government shutdown was “satisfying the Koch brothers.”
The comments came during a Tuesday floor speech, in which Reid cited a New York Times article that shed light on a “well-financed, broad-based assault” on the Affordable Care Act that was months in planning and involved an alliance of powerful GOP groups.
Reid said that “according to the news article, a former Attorney General of the United States, Ed Meese, and the Koch Brothers” are behind “raising and spending hundred of millions of dollars to get us where we are right now.”
According to the New York Times, an organization called Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce — linked to the billionaire Koch brothers, Charles and David – contributed over $200 million last year to nonprofit organizations involved in the effort to defund Obamacare by tying it to the continuing resolution.
The Koch-financed Americans for Prosperity also spent $5.5 million on television ads targeting health care reform. Another $5 million was given to Generation Opportunity, the organization behind the now infamous Internet ad that showed a rather creepy, speculum-gripping Uncle Sam suddenly popping up between a woman’s legs during a gynecological exam.
The Senate Majority Leader added to his speech with a tweet saying that “by shutting down the government, Republicans are satisfying the Koch Brothers while millions of people are suffering.”
The Koch brothers are not ready to acknowledge their role in this latest governing crisis, however. The letter only admitted that “Koch believes that Obamacare will increase deficits, lead to an overall lowering of the standard of health care in America, and raise taxes.” But it maintained that Koch never took a “position” on tying the continuing resolution to defunding the health law, and they never “lobbied on legislative provisions defunding Obamacare.”
Koch may not have been behind the “legislative provisions,” but the Koch brothers certainly poured millions of dollars into the effort on which their company never took a “position.”
The letter did not stop short of advising Congress on what it “should” be doing.
“We believe that Congress should, at a minimum, keep to sequester-level spending guidelines, and develop a plan for more significant and widespread spending reductions in the future,” it read, adding, “Congress should focus on these efforts: balancing the budget, tightening and cutting government spending, curbing cronyism, and eliminating market-distorting subsidies and mandates.”
Koch Industries may claim that it had nothing to do with orchestrating the government shutdown — but if nothing else, its representative is happy to use all of the same talking points used by Republican lawmakers when trying to justify that very effort.
Photo: Truthout.org via Flickr