Charles Koch: I’m Not Buying Democracy



In light of the Supreme Court’s  ruling on the McCutcheon case that alters donation caps for political candidates, the Koch brothers are that much more in the spotlight. The ruling has brought out a storm of critics who claim it will allow for greater political corruption and ‘buying’ candidates — and oil billionaires Charles and David Koch are being targeted as the type to do so, especially with their new negative ad campaign against North Carolina Senator Kay Hagan.

Republican Senators have come to the floor to defend the Koch brothers’ attempt to buy our democracy. Once again, Republicans are all-in to protect their billionaire friends,” criticized Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on the Senate floor, noting a ten-day delay on a Ukrainian aid package resulting from Republicans protection of the Kochs’ nonprofit from new IRS rules. “I believe in an America where economic opportunity is open to all. But based on their actions and the policies they promote, the Koch brothers seem to believe in an America where the system is rigged to benefit the very wealthy,” he said. Senator Hagan hit back in turn on their ability to “claim any credibility on retirement security” through the “shady … arm of the Koch network” 60 Plus, a Koch organization.

Now, Charles Koch is ready to defend “the fundamental concepts of dignity, respect, equality before the law and personal freedom,” as well as his right to “engage in the political process,” in an opinion piece published in The Wall Street Journal. He hits especially hard on big government and collectivists, claiming that the Obama administration has the “fatal conceit” that “you are incapable of running your own life, but those in power are capable of running it for you.” He claimed that he has spent over fifty years trying to “restore a free society and create greater well-being and opportunity” via education, adding that, “It was only in the past decade that I realized the need to also engage in the political process.”

He offered up a slew of arguments that his businesses were both beneficial to Americans, and to the environment, listing the 60,000 Americans he employs, the 700 awards his employees have received for environment and health and safety excellence. He also addressed the suggestion that the Koch family’s large donations over-influenced the political sphere by way of campaign funding. “Far from trying to rig the system,” he said, “I have spent decades opposing cronyism and all political favors, including mandates, subsidies, and protective tariffs — even when we benefit from them. I believe that cronyism is nothing more than welfare for the rich and powerful, and should be abolished.” As an example, he gave Koch Industries anti-ethanol tax credit stance back in 2011, noting that it increased food and fuel prices.

Back in April of 2011, the Center for Public Integrity noted what it called “hypocritical” actions from the Koch ethanol industry, and hit hard on Russian imports and environmental preservation. “Koch was a pioneer importer of Russian oil to the United States, including a 2002 shipment of Russian crude that Koch sold to the U.S. government to help fill the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Although it opposes a cap-and-trade solution to global warming for the United States, Koch makes money trading emissions credits under a similar program in Europe.” Still, as Charles Koch said himself, he is not unfamiliar with what he calls “character assassination,” something he says he is a “daily target of” by collectivists who seek to “discredit and intimidate opponents.”

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