Koch Brothers Exposed: Fueling Climate Denial and Privatizing Democracy
by Connor Gibson
Koch Brothers Exposed: Decades of Undermining DemocracyGreenpeaces updated Koch climate denial total is being announced in conjunction with the release of Brave New Foundations latest film: Koch Brothers Exposed. Koch Brothers Exposed examines the pervasive role that Charles and David Kochs money has played in American politics and society, attacking what they see as political inconveniences ranging from pollution controls to public education to voting rights. Brave New Foundation is organizing screenings of Koch Brothers Exposed around the countryjoin the effort by grabbing your own copy of Koch Brothers Exposed, registering your event with Brave New Foundation, and inviting friends, family and community members to your own local premier of Koch Brothers Exposed! The Kochs expensive campaign to attack science mirrors what our country is becoming more and more conscious ofhow rich ideologies in the top 1% can exert substantial and undue influence on our lives, whether through policy, the courtroom, advertising, or tainting our education systems. What the Kochs have worked hard to avoid for decades is public scrutiny, a privilege they no longer have thanks to the hard work of people and organizations dedicated to exposing the Kochs self-serving political manipulations. As influential and perversely organized as the Koch brothers are, it is important to also see the broader picture. Numerous other multi-millionaire families, foundations and corporations operate in similar and often coordinated ways with Charles and David Koch, forming an elite coalition that has been infiltrating our government and eroding our democracy for decades. Greenpeace points to the Lewis Powell Memo as a crucial example of how this 40-year campaign was established and carried out behind the backs of the American people. The recent Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission Supreme Court decision is a major recent development of this coordinated campaign, as have been ongoing attacks on public workers, women, ethnic minorities and students. The Kochs themselves demonstrate this corporate takeover of our democracy in their efforts to influence the politicians, judges, media and educational institutions:
- Koch Industries donates millions to state and federal politicians, spends millions more on lobbying them, and pressures them through campaigns such as Americans for Prosperitys No Climate Tax pledge.
- The Kochs donate millions to influence judicial law through organizations like the Pacific Legal Foundation, and have brought Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas to their secretive and partisan political fundraising and strategy meetings.
- Koch operatives and allies pervade media outlets like the Wall Street Journal, the Examiner newspapers, and the Daily Caller. They donate tens of thousands of dollars to outlets like the American Spectator and the National Review.
- Koch foundations craft multi-million dollar contracts with universities to influence their programs, such as influencing the hiring process in Florida State Universitys economics department. George Mason University, which hosts the Koch founded and financed Mercatus Center and Institute for Humane Studies (IHS), has received over $13.81 million from Koch foundations from 2005-2010 (the most recent IRS tax information), on top of $9.84 million and $7.75 million to Mercatus and IHS respectively in the same period.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
- Host a screening of Koch Brothers Exposed in your community. Pick up your own copy of Koch Brothers Exposed and register a local premier to show people how a small financial elite is able to buy political influence in ways that only benefit the top 1%.
- Join the movement to amend the Constitution to undo the worst aspect of the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling: protecting unlimited and undisclosed corporate spending on elections as free speech. Visit United for the People to support federal legislation that would amend the Constitution, push local and national politicians to support the effort, and work on resolutions demanding an amendment in your home.