How The Koch Brothers Are Manipulating The 2016 Election

How The Koch Brothers Are Secretly Manipulating The 2016 Election (VIDEO)

There will not be a clash of dangerous, right-wing billionaires this year. Some may have reasonably expected David and Charles Koch to confront Donald Trump in the Republican primaries. The Koch brothers typically fuel stuffy, fiscally conservative candidates who rely on Koch donations for their political life. Several candidates in the race could have been a natural fit for the billionaires, but Scott Walker flamed out with remarkable speed, and Marco Rubio is flailing. Donald Trump clearly is not in thrall to the Koch brothers, and Koch allies have been seeking to undermine the bigoted casino magnate. But the Kochs have decided not to waste money attacking Trump in the primaries. No, the Koch brothers are intent on manipulating the 2016 election in more subtle ways.

The Koch brothers have pledged to spend between $700 and $900 million on the 2016 election. This is greater than all of the Republican party’s expenditures. Yet, we haven’t heard much in the mainstream media about what they are doing. Unlike their high-profile support for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan in 2012, they are manipulating things on the local and state level and seeking to fly under the radar.

The Koch Brothers are manipulating America and the 2016 election more subtly than in the past.

The Koch brothers have successfully dominated the Republican party’s approach to writing budgets. A recently published study revealed that the vast majority of budgets proposed by Republicans, in over a decade, were influenced by the Koch brothers.

When we add up the numbers, three-quarters (76%) of all of the budgets of GOP-conservative organizations newly created since 2002 turn out to be controlled by Koch organizations. Remarkably, more than four-fifths (82%) of the new budget money attributed to extra-party collective funders belongs to the Koch-affiliated consortia launched after 2002.

This is mind-blowing. These days, the GOP essentially does not write a budget unless an organization owned by the two billionaire industrialists tells them what it should contain.

In Alaska, an op-ed calling for reduced regulations for “budding entrepreneurs” caught the attention of an observant journalist who smelled something fishy. Sure enough, the exact same op-ed has been printed in local publications across the country, with only the names of places replaced. Koch Industries has been manipulating local and statewide perceptions of industry regulations by flooding media with fill-in-the-blank op-eds. The op-eds appeared in 35 states. Since getting caught, the Koch brothers have tried to be more sly about it. A recent effort targeted carbon regulations with generic op-eds in seven states over a week-and-a-half in February.

The Koch brothers are deeply invested in the energy industry, and aggressively confront any threats to their colossal profits. In Florida, they are manipulating the budding solar power industry. Koch-backed groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), have essentially enshrined energy monopolies into law. There are punitive fines for homeowners who seek to outfit their roof with solar panels. The Kochs have pushed to make it outright illegal to get energy from any source other than traditional energy companies. They have sought to kill any green energy initiatives that require the state to get a small percentage of its energy from renewable sources. This is anti-competitive, denying consumers a choice. It also props up an obsolete energy economy and poses a threat to the climate.

The Koch brothers’ political organizations have begun to support an effort to rip federally protected land away from stewardship by the US government. They have begun backing radicals like the Bundy militia, recently arrested for occupying federal land in Oregon, as well as politicians who push bills to cede US land to state governments. The Koch brothers likely believe that manipulating state governments would be easier and that they could buy off protected land for exploration and drilling. Far right politicians supporting the Bundys don’t have any particular principled stake in a militia’s confrontation with the Bureau of Land Management. They are seeking campaign funding from the billionaires’ PACs.

The Koch brothers have also been tactically supporting candidates who provide them with a lot of value, rather than a high-profile endorsement of a national campaign. Alabama Republican Senator Richard Shelby has faced a tough primary fight. In office, Shelby has crusaded against Dodd-Frank, the Great Recession-era legislation designed to protect average Americans from Wall Street gambling. Koch groups, including one that supposedly supports senior citizens, have backed his campaign to the tune of over $400,000.

In Nevada, a Koch group masquerading as a veterans’ advocacy group, is spending $700,000 on the race to replace the retiring Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid. Republican House Representative Joe Heck is running for the seat. Throughout his career, he has relied heavily on Koch money. His political positions are a 90% match with Koch positions.

With roughly three-quarters of a billion Koch dollars being spent this year, these initiatives are likely only the tip of the iceberg. Luckily, there’s an excellent way to get a full sense of the big picture of Koch influence in America. Brave New Films and director Robert Greenwald produced a documentary that dramatically lays out the threat that the Koch brothers pose to American democracy.

Koch Brothers EXPOSED describes how the Kochs are trying to destroy the minimum wage, how they fund politicians, policies, and even put the words into the mouths of the politicians they buy off, and much more.

Click here to watch the FREE full documentary, Koch Brothers EXPOSED.

Watch the trailer for Koch Brothers EXPOSED:

[brid video=”29647″ player=”5260″ title=”Koch Brothers EXPOSED 2014 OFFICIAL TRAILER WATCH THE FULL FILM FREE”]

Featured image via Brave New Films video screengrab.

 

Marc Belisle is the Reverb Press World Affairs Editor. He is a writer, activist and teacher. He has a Master’s degree in International Conflict Analysis from the Brussels School of International Studies. READ MORE BY MARC.

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Marc Belisle is the Reverb Press World Affairs Editor. He is a writer, activist and teacher. He has a Master’s degree in International Conflict Analysis from the Brussels School of International Studies. READ MORE BY MARC.

ReverbPress Mobile Apps ReverbPress iOS App ReverbPress Android App ReverbPress App