As per OpenSecrets.com, “Politically active nonprofits – principally 501(c)(4)s and 501(c)(6)s – have become a major force in federal elections over the last three cycles. The term “dark money” is often applied to this category of political spender because these groups do not have to disclose the sources of their funding –
These organizations can receive unlimited corporate, individual, or union contributions that they do not have to make public, and though their political activity is supposed to be limited, the IRS – which has jurisdiction over these groups – by and large has done little to enforce those limits.
The pernicious effect of “Dark Monies” in the fabric of US politics has ballooned following the 2010 US Supreme Court ruling in the case of Citizens United v FEC. The SCOTUS justices held : “Political spending is a form of protected speech under the First Amendment, and the government may not keep corporations or unions from spending money to support or denounce individual candidates in elections.”
Since this 2010 Supreme Court ruling, the groups — like the Karl Rove-linked One Nation and the Koch network’s Americans for Prosperity — no longer were required to report their wealthy individual and corporate donors to the public, prompting the term “dark money.” Koch brothers and other like minded John Birch type conservative and corporate donors had been exerting influence on the US political infrastructure since the 1970s with the start of ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) but with restraints. Now, these ultra conservatives have been now operating on steroids in regards to their influence on GOP lawmakers.
Any news reports regarding the Koch brothers not acting in sync with the republican President Donald Trump and his sycophantic GOP legislators and cronies is ‘fake news.’ The Koch brothers have their man in the White House.
Frankly, the Koch brothers have no where else to go to exert influence over GOP politicians than the Republican Party. While both parties are at odds regarding US trade policies, the need for an increase in legal immigration, and other issues, President Trump has delivered on just about everything else on the brothers’ wish list.
Here’s the rest of the story…
On August 1, 2018, Jane Mayer of the New Yorker penned the following report, “Trump vs. Koch Is a Custody Battle Over Congress”
“Despite the brothers’ record as among the country’s largest and most consistently partisan financial sponsors, the Kochs’ pique at their own party is nothing new. For decades they have complained bitterly about Republican politicians whose fealty to their libertarian agenda has rarely, in their view, been absolute enough. This dissatisfaction with the Grand Old Party was evident as far back as 1980, when Charles Koch, who is now eighty-two, convinced his younger brother David Koch, who is now seventy-eight, to run for Vice-President on the Libertarian ticket, against Ronald Reagan. The Kochs, who at one point were members of the fringe-right John Birch Society, deemed Reagan insufficiently conservative, as they now do Trump. But after Reagan won in a landslide—the Libertarian Party got only one per cent of the popular vote—the Kochs gave up on third-party politics. From that point on, they used their vast family fortune to build a three-pronged political machine comprised of lobbying, campaign donations, and nonprofit pressure groups to pull the Republican Party toward their views. One could argue that their return on investment has been remarkable; the Republican Party has adopted many of their hard-right anti-government, anti-regulation, and anti-tax views, few of which were in vogue when the Kochs entered politics. But no matter how far right the G.O.P. has moved, it’s never been quite far enough for Charles Koch, who declared, in 1978, that “our movement must destroy the prevalent statist paradigm.”
“Neither of the Bush Presidents passed the Kochs’ political-purity test. In fact, it was the Kochs’ disappointment with George W. Bush’s expansion of prescription-drug benefits, among other issues, that inspired them, in 2003, to form their political-fund-raising network with like-minded conservatives. Since then, the group has grown into a private political machine that arguably rivals, and by some estimates overpowers, the Republican Party itself.”
Earlier this year, the network announced that it planned to spend four hundred million dollars in the coming midterm-election cycle, to help preserve the Republican majority in both houses of Congress. But last weekend, somewhat unexpectedly, at a meeting in Colorado Springs, of some five hundred members of this group, all of whom have pledged to contribute at least a hundred thousand dollars annually to the cause, Koch officials attacked Trump, in all but name, as “divisive,” and threatened to start backing Democrats in some midterm races.”
“Trump took little time to fire back, tweeting, “I don’t need their money or bad ideas,” that he has “beaten them at every turn,” and that the Kochs “have become a total joke in real Republican circles.” Trump, of course, was never the Koch network’s preferred candidate. In 2016, he was, in fact, the only Republican Presidential candidate whom the Kochs declared they could not support.”
“Yet Trump has done more to further the Kochs’ agenda than any previous Administration. Despite claiming to represent the country’s “forgotten men,” he has surrounded himself with Koch apparatchiks and allies. Several of his Cabinet members’ allegiance to the Kochs long predates their allegiance to Trump, including Vice-President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. The Administration has fulfilled many of the Kochs’ wildest dreams, ranging from environmental revanchism to extraordinarily regressive tax cuts. The Kochs have also lavished praise on Trump’s conservative judicial picks. As Trump himself observed in a tweet this week, he’s made Charles and David Koch, whose fortunes are estimated at more than fifty-three billion dollars each, far wealthier.”
“On the surface, the cause of the rift is their opposition to Trump’s protectionist trade and immigration policies, which clash with their free-market preferences—and Koch Industries’ bottom line. The policy fight runs deep, reflecting a larger rift in the Republican Party on these issues. Exacerbating tensions, Trump and Charles Koch are both headstrong billionaires who’re accustomed to buying, and then getting, their ways. Both were sent to military schools by their parents, after having disciplinary problems at home, and both have high regard for themselves as self-made men, despite both inheriting vast fortunes from their fathers.”
“Beyond this, both appear to think that the Republican Party in particular, and American politics in general, should be theirs to dominate. Yet, if you parse last weekend’s complaint from Charles Koch carefully, what you see is that his ire wasn’t so much directed at Trump, whom he didn’t name, as at the Republicans in Congress for having fallen in line with the President instead of with him. According to the Washington Post, Koch said that he “regrets” backing some of the Republicans he helped elect, because they had strayed from the Koch network’s agenda. As a result, he reportedly said, at the closed-door meeting in Colorado, “We’re going to be more strict on holding someone accountable if they say they’re going to be for the principles that we espouse, and then they aren’t.”
“The conservative activist Erick Erickson told the Post that “the Kochs are rather appalled at what they’re seeing from Republicans who they helped elect in 2010, 2014 and 2016—and who promised to be fiscally responsible and support free markets.”
“Charles Koch’s real beef is (with) the Republicans in Congress whose campaigns he lavishly funded. Unforgivably, they have violated the age-old definition of an honest politician, one who, once bought, stays bought.”
On September 6, 2018, Thomas B. Edsall of the NY Times penned the following analysis, “Trump and the Koch Brothers Are Working in Concert”
“They disagree about trade, tariffs and immigration, but don’t be fooled. Neither side can get what it really wants without help from the other.”
“President Trump and the Koch brothers have made it clear that they don’t like each other. Politically speaking, they are in fundamental disagreement over trade, tariffs and immigration.”
“Nonetheless, there is a functional Trump-Koch alliance, and the Republican Party has capitalized handsomely on it. Trump’s racially freighted, anti-immigrant rhetoric has been essential to persuading white voters to agree to Republicans’ long-sought tax and regulatory policies. These policies are inimical or irrelevant to the interests of low- and moderate-income Americans. They have been promulgated by the Trump administration, but many of them have been meticulously prepared and packaged by the Kochs’ massive political network.”
“A 2014 Washington Post story described the Koch political empire as a “labyrinth of tax-exempt groups and limited-liability companies” designed to “mask the sources of the money.” Much of this money continues to go to voter mobilization and television ads and financing the construction and maintenance of some of the most sophisticated and detailed voter lists anywhere.”
“The Koch network — which in many respects has eclipsed the official Republican Party — has nurtured the careers of a host of politicians from Mike Pence to Scott Walker to Mike Pompeo.”
Link to article: Trump and the Koch Brothers Are Working in Concert