The Dark History of the Koch Brothers
By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.
In 2010, when Mike Pompeo arrived in Congress in 2010, he was called “the Koch Congressman” because the amount of the Koch Brothers’ industrial conglomerate’s contribution to his election campaign. Now, when he was approved by Congress as Secretary of State, several media outlets considered that the Koch Brothers finally got their own Secretary of State.
When talking to anyone form the US active in any party about some measure or projection of domestic or foreign policy in his or her country, it is inevitable that the influence that “the Koch brothers” have, or may have, on it is mentioned in one way or another.
Following his confirmation as the new Secretary of State, most of the US media have identified Mike Pompeo as “Koch’s Congressman” or “the Koch brothers’ man”. But outside the U.S. borders, brothers David and Charles Koch are not as well known.
Although they are not among the nation’s leading authorities, there are fundamental reasons for this. Together, they make up the third largest fortune in the country (only Bill Gates and Warren Buffet outnumber them). The two brothers have an annual turnover of more than $100 billion. Their industrial conglomerate is the second largest in the country, behind only the Cargill group. In 2010, it was named the 10th most polluting in the United States by the Political Economic Research Institute of Massachusetts.
Their influence on politics can be calculated by the fact that they have injected around $200 million into the most ultraconservative causes in the last decade and this hardly transcends the media.
The Big Brothers, as they are popularly known, deny their direct link to the Tea Party. They seek to remain invisible from their headquarters in Wichita, Kansas, deep in the heart of the United States. From there, the Kochs have extended the oil empire inherited from their father, Fred, by devising ways of influencing American politics without being noticed too much, through a network of small groups and foundations they have created.
Although not proclaimed a success on its own, the Americans for Prosperity Foundation, created by David Koch in 2004, was the real organizer of the Tea Party revolt. One of its phantasmagorical projects, United Patients Now, organized more than 300 “popular” protests against the Obamacare health reform and another 80 to boycott its climate protection laws.
The real forerunner of the Koch Brothers phenomenon was his father, Fred Koch, who half a century ago warned of the risks of “a communist president.” Also a critic of the New Deal of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and denounced “the infiltration of communists” into the Democratic and Republican parties. His children inherited, in addition to their fortune, his libertarian creed.
Charles, 74, was always the most discreet. David Koch, 70, made an unfortunate foray into politics in 1980, competing with Ronald Reagan, whom he saw as a danger. David ran as a vice presidential candidate for the Libertarian Party having been nominated by Ed Clark, its presidential candidate. Among his “libertarian” electoral promises were the suppression of the FBI and the CIA, the elimination of Social Security and Minimum Wages, total deregulation and a drastic reduction in taxes. The government would be reduced to “protecting individual rights”. They got 1% of the vote.
Four years later, as Reagan took over part of his ideology, David Koch officially became a Republican and dragged his brother down the same path.
The youngest of the Kochs suffered a second enlightenment in the 1990s, when he miraculously survived a plane crash. He reinvented himself as a philanthropist for the American Ballet Theater and created the group Citizens for a Sound Economy to continue to defend his multi-million dollar privileges from the shadows.
He then created Americans for Prosperity (AFP), defined as an organization of “grassroots leaders for limited government and the free market.” He could not openly support candidates, but he invested $45 million to support conservative causes in the November 2, 2016 elections.
According to New Yorker journalist Jane Mayer, on the first anniversary of Obama’s presidency, billionaire David Koch stealthily took the lead in the “people’s revolution” by announcing that “When we created Americans for Prosperity (AFP), we had in mind a mass movement, state-by-state, with hundreds of thousands of Americans fighting for the economic freedoms that made this nation the most prosperous in history….
May 15, 2018.