Do you suspect that the Tea Party movement isn’t quite the spontaneous, grass-roots popular uprising its followers would have you believe? Then this is the read for you:
This week’s issue of the New Yorker has a comprehensive expose on the secretive right-wing political activism of the billionaire Koch brothers, whose Wichita-based energy company has made them some of the very wealthiest men in the country.
Their father, Fred Koch, founded the company and was one of the original members of the John Birch Society, His two sons who now control Koch Industries have not fallen far from the tree. Although little-known, the Kochs are some of the largest donors to right-wing causes and think tanks, some of which they founded, like the Cato Institute.
As an aside for fans of “What’s the Matter with Kansas?” – former U.S. Congressman Dan Glickman suspects that the Kochs helped defeat him in 1994, after he came out in favor of a “BTU tax.”
From the New Yorker story:
The anti-government fervor infusing the 2010 elections represents a political triumph for the Kochs. By giving money to “educate,” fund, and organize Tea Party protesters, they have helped turn their private agenda into a mass movement. Bruce Bartlett, a conservative economist and a historian, who once worked at the National Center for Policy Analysis, a Dallas-based think tank that the Kochs fund, said, “The problem with the whole libertarian movement is that it’s been all chiefs and no Indians. There haven’t been any actual people, like voters, who give a crap about it. So the problem for the Kochs has been trying to create a movement.” With the emergence of the Tea Party, he said, “everyone suddenly sees that for the first time there are Indians out there—people who can provide real ideological power.” The Kochs, he said, are “trying to shape and control and channel the populist uprising into their own policies.”
A Republican campaign consultant who has done research on behalf of Charles and David Koch said of the Tea Party, “The Koch brothers gave the money that founded it. It’s like they put the seeds in the ground. Then the rainstorm comes, and the frogs come out of the mud—and they’re our candidates!”
The Kochs and their political operatives declined requests for interviews. Instead, a prominent New York public-relations executive who is close with the Kochs put forward two friends: George Pataki, the former governor of New York, and Mortimer Zuckerman, the publisher and real-estate magnate. Pataki, a Republican who received campaign donations from David Koch, called him “a patriot who cares deeply about his country.” Zuckerman praised David’s “gentle decency” and the “range of his public interests.”
The Republican campaign consultant said of the family’s political activities, “To call them under the radar is an understatement. They are underground!” Another former Koch adviser said, “They’re smart. This right-wing, redneck stuff works for them. They see this as a way to get things done without getting dirty themselves.” Rob Stein, a Democratic political strategist who has studied the conservative movement’s finances, said that the Kochs are “at the epicenter of the anti-Obama movement. But it’s not just about Obama. They would have done the same to Hillary Clinton. They did the same with Bill Clinton. They are out to destroy progressivism.”
Read the entire explosive article here.