Thursday, July 05, 2012

Why Would The Koch Brothers Need "A Man In Washington" When They Have A Whole Party In Washington?


Pompeo is owned by Koch Industries but he rents himself out from time to time

The Koch family has always been a very foreign, profoundly anti-American operation. The family background is a fetid sewer and looking at it makes clear the genesis of the current generation as the biggest threat to American democracy since Adolf Hitler-- and for many similar-- if not identical-- reasons. To understand why Charles and David Koch are using their billions to assault American democracy-- even teaming up with Iran (the way their father had teamed up with Stalin) to do so-- you have to look back at the history of this demented, hate-filled family. Their Dutch-born Nazi-oriented grandfather, Harry Koch, took part in a multiyear right-wing propaganda campaign to shoot down New Deal programs. "Grandfather and grandsons employ eerily familiar talking points to bash government pension and welfare programs... In a series of early editorials, Harry Koch scoffed at the idea that land rents should be regulated, and ridiculed the plight of heavily indebted farmers, writing that while they might find indebtedness unpleasant, a much bigger problem was their laziness and inability to take care of the farm equipment they had purchased on credit." His son, Fred, another neo-Nazi-- the father of the current generation of social parasites, Charles, David and William (brother Frederick is just a normal billionaire)-- was one of the founders, and chief financier, of the John Birch Society.

The Koch father was as demented and insane as his sons, only more likely to share his obsessive racism and anti-American rants with the general public than the current crop of neo-respectable Koch Nazis do today. The Koch Father claimed that the Democratic and Republican parties were infiltrated by the Communist Party and he was a big time supporter of European fascists, like his hero Benito Mussolini. He wrote that "The colored man looms large in the Communist plan to take over America," and that "Welfare was a secret plot to attract rural blacks to cities, where they would foment a vicious race war." He may sound a lot like Charles Manson-- but he was far more damaging and dangerous for this country than Manson ever was. And now his criminally-rich sons have bought the Republican Party-- lock, stock and barrel. They own it and dictate its every move.

And that's why Logan Smith's story this week in the Palmetto Public Record, Meet SC Rep. Mick Mulvaney. the Koch brothers' "man in Washington", seemed so... odd. No doubt about it... Mulvaney is a 100% bootlicking zombie for the Koch brothers. But how many Republicans, other than maybe Walter Jones, aren't? Not that a single word of Smith;s story is inaccurate:
According to campaign finance data collected by Palmetto Public Record, the Koch brothers’ political action committee has given a total of $85,000 to South Carolina’s congressional delegation over the last eight election cycles. Over a third of that went to the Palmetto State’s two current senators, Lindsey Graham and Jim DeMint, and all of it went to Republicans.

While SC-5 Rep. Mick Mulvaney is relatively new to the congressional scene, a new report indicates Mulvaney is a champion for the Koch agenda since his election in 2010. In fact, the report suggests Mulvaney’s willingness to do the Koch brothers’ bidding is so flagrant that he may have broken congressional rules.

Campaign finance data from the Center for Responsive Politics show Mulvaney has received $7,000 directly from the Koch brothers, plus much more funneled into the freshman Republican’s 2010 campaign through secretive, outsider groups. According to Republic Report’s Nick Lyell, the Koch brothers’ investment in Mulvaney is paying big dividends in Congress:

In May, the congressman introduced two bills to suspend certain tariffs on chemicals. According to disclosures, both of Mulvaney’s tariff-exemptions only benefit one company: Koch Industries. As the Wall Street Journal and Politico have reported, targeted tariff-reduction bills are nothing more than earmarks, the legislative giveaways banned by Congress.

The House Republican caucus rules make clear that Mulvaney’s legislative gifts to Koch Industries are in violation of the earmark rule. The rules state that “it is the policy of the House Republican Conference that no member shall request a congressional earmark, limited tax benefit or limited tariff benefit, as such terms have been described in the rules of the House.”

While Koch Industries does indeed have a few assets in the Palmetto State, Mulvaney’s legislation wasn’t aimed at benefiting all, most, or even a few South Carolina businesses. Despite all his “small government” attacks against earmarks Mulvaney’s bill was only written to help one company-- Koch Industries.

And that’s how you buy a congressman.

Like I said-- Smith got it all right... 100%. But Mulvaney is hardly unique among Republican legislators when it comes to serving the economic and ideological interests of the Koch brothers over and above the interests of their own constituents. Take, for example, Kansas political hack Mike Pompeo, who actually penned an OpEd in Politico denouncing people who want to look into the Koch brothers' shady dealing and the danger they are posing to democracy and to America. Pompeo's attacks don't stop with the usual target--President Obama-- but go on to savage Congressman Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Congressman Bobby Rush (D-IL) for daring to ask the Koch brothers to send "a representative" of their business for a hearing on the Keystone XL Pipeline.
Charles Koch and David Koch, co-owners of Koch Industries, are U.S. citizens, taxpayers, entrepreneurs and employers. Their businesses employ nearly 50,000 people in the U.S. alone. The company headquarters is in the district I represent, employing 2,600 Kansans. The corporation and its employees are among the most hardworking and generous in our community.

In fact, although Politico let's him get away with not disclosing it in his OpEd, the Koch brothers and their various entities have been especially generous to Congressman Pompeo, even to the point of financing his entire political career. Shamefully, Politico simply IDs him as a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Power, neither mentioning his shady nature of his relationship to the Kochs nor his role on the committee as their shill.

If anyone is the Kochs' man in Washington, it would be Pompeo. Just about two years ago investigative journalist Lee Fang first broke the story wide open about the nature of the relationship between the Kochs and Pompeo. And the relationship isn't normal and isn't conducive to a democracy-- though it sure explains a lot about Pompeo's shameful behavior in Congress.
Over the weekend, the Kansas City Star published a lengthy article explaining how Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS), the Republican gubernatorial candidate in Kansas, has for years maintained a symbiotic relationship with the right-wing oil plutocrats David and Charles Koch and their conglomerate Koch Industries. Alongside Brownback in the Senate, Koch Industries, which is based in Wichita, has counted outgoing Wichita Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-KS) as one of its closest allies in the House of Representatives.

Former Rep. Dan Glickman (D-KS), who was defeated by Tiahrt in 1994, said that Koch Industries funneled resources-- including its employees and funds-- to oppose him. Now, with an open seat in Koch Industries’ backyard, the massive “Kochtopus” network of Koch money and front groups is working to elect a new right-wing Republican to fill the seat: Mike Pompeo. Pompeo isn’t just another Wall Street-friendly, pro-polluter GOP radical (his initial response to the BP oil disaster was to say that he “fervently” hoped the government wouldn’t “overreact”), he is essentially a subsidiary of the Koch brothers’ business empire:

– Pompeo developed much of his wealth from a firm he founded, Thayer Aerospace, which he ran with investment funds from Koch Industries. According to a December 11, 1998 article in the Wichita Business Journal, “[Pompeo's] company’s capital base is drawn in part from Wichita’s Koch Venture Capital, a division of Koch Industries.” Pompeo sold Thayer in 2006.

– Pompeo still relies on Koch for his private wealth. After the sale of Thayer, Pompeo became the President of Sentry International, a business specializing in the manufacture and sale of equipment used in oilfields. Sentry International is a partner to Koch Industries through its Brazilian distributor, GTF Representacoes & Consultoria.

– Pompeo won his Republican primary largely with the support of Koch Industries’ PAC, which gave him one of his largest endorsements in March. Despite the fact that Koch Industries is the recipient of tens of millions in federal contracts, Pompeo boasted about the endorsement: “The employees of the Koch Companies have jobs here in the Wichita because of their own hard work and creativity, not because a federal agency deemed it to be so.”

– With $31,400 in contributions from KOCHPAC, Koch Industries is by far the greatest contributor to Pompeo’s campaign. The second largest contributor, the law firm Bartlit Beck LLP, gave $7,200 to the campaign. As ThinkProgress first uncovered, Koch Industries also works with Democracy Data & Communications, a firm specializing in helping major corporations to activate their employees politically.

– Pompeo has leaned on Americans for Prosperity (AFP), the right-wing Tea Party group founded and financed by David Koch. On August 28, 2009, Pompeo spoke at a large Tea Party rally organized by AFP, and AFP has used its extensive Kansas-based staff to mobilize dozens of other right-wing events in and around the 4th Congressional District. In addition to the rallies and Tea Party events, AFP has touted Pompeo for signing onto its pledge to ignore climate change. The Kansas chapter of AFP was previously run by Alan Cobb, who once served as a chief lobbyist for Koch Industries. Cobb is now coordinating state efforts nationwide for AFP.

– According to his campaign biography, Pompeo’s only substantive political experience appears to be his stint as a trustee of the Flint Hills Center for Public Policy, a Koch-organized front formerly known as the Kansas Policy Institute. The Flint Hills Center for Public Policy is staffed primarily with Koch-funded operatives and economists, like Art Hall. Until recently, George Pearson-- a libertarian activist who began working for the Koch brothers in the early seventies-- chaired the board of the Center. In an interview with the Wichita Eagle, Pompeo said he supports Social Security privatization and explained that his ideas for health reform came from Koch’s Flint Hills Center.

The Koch brothers have historically leaned on their home state Republican members of Congress for lobbying assistance. For instance, Business Week reported on how Koch Industries used then-Sen. Bob Dole (R-KS) to try to suppress an investigation into Koch Industries’ massive theft of oil from Indian reservations. In another case, Koch Industries faced a $55 million civil suit for causing more than 300 oil spills over a five-year period. Again, Dole, a major recipient of Koch money and support, sponsored a bill that would allow Koch to easily defend itself from the oil spill charges. Investigative reporter Robert Parry found that David Koch “also helped Dole achieve majority leader status through his checkbook, contributed mightily to a Dole foundation and even turned his Gatsbyish estate in Southampton, New York, into the site for celebrating Dole’s 72nd birthday in July 1995, raising $150,000 for his campaign.”

Recently, Koch Industries has lobbied aggressively against clean energy jobs legislation and against H.R. 4213, a law closing tax loopholes for companies that ship jobs overseas.

While much attention has been paid to Koch’s role in funding the organizers of the Tea Party movement and its supporting institutions, it should be noted that the right-wing conglomerate is also sponsoring its own candidate for election this November.

And I'm sure it surprises no one to discover that the Koch candidate Pompeo won the seat in 2010 with 59% of the votes, a percentage point higher than McCain's win over Obama in 2008. This year Pompeo has no primary opponent and neither of the two Democrats seeking to take him on, Robert Tillman and Esau Freeman, is given any chance whatsoever. But the Kochs have given the $10,000 maximum contribution to their boy Pompeo, the same amount they gave Speaker John Boehner and $4,000 more than they gave Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor.

Last cycle Koch Industries contributed $912,000 to Republicans running for the House (and $87,500 to conservative Democrats who serve their interests, like Blue Dogs John Barrow, Collin Peterson, Henry Cuellar, Jim Matheson and Tim Holden, as well as sleazy New Dems like Ron Kind and Dan Maffei). So far this year-- and it's still early-- Koch Industries has given GOP House candidates $769,000. But because almost all of their pet Blue Dogs were defeated in 2010, only $21,000 has gone to Democrats so far-- Barrow and Peterson again, of course (who are both Koch devotees), and the retiring Blue Dogs Dan Boren and Mike Ross. But big bucks for oil industry shills like Justin Amash (R-MI), Bachmann (R-MN), Joe Barton (R-TX), Ann Marie Buerkle (R-NY)-- looks like they switched horses and have abandoned their old pal Maffei-- Mike Coffman (R-CO), Charlie Deny (R-PA), Sean Duffy (R-WI), Michael Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Scott Garrett (R-NJ), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Frank Guinta (R-NH), Darrell Issa (R-CA), Mike Kelly (R-PA), Steven King (R-IA), Dan Lungren (R-CA), Patrick McHenry (R-NC), David McKinley (R-WV), John Mica (R-FL), Joe Pitts (R-PA), Tom Reed (R-PA), Mike Rogers (R-MI), Paul Ryan (R-WI), Aaron Schock (R-IL), John Schimkus (R-IL), Cliff Stearns (R-FL), Fred Upton (R-MI)... and Mulvaney... cheap date-- just $2,000 this year.

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