Koch Brothers + Tea Party Politicos = Crony Capitalism

David & Charles Kock. $50,000 million.

  What if two of America’s super-rich decided just buy itself a political party? What would that cost? The last presidential race cost only about a billion—2% of the Koch brother’s wealth—for both parties. But why spend so much? If you’re clever and secretive, just fund a fake grass-roots foundation, train some organizers, start party chapters, run some candidates, and let them raise the money. $100 million should should do the trick. That’s pocket change.

If it worked, that would be the ultimate crony capitalism. Just buy a whole political party and uses it gain government favors.

So what influence would they want to have? If they owned a big oil company, they’d want to stop any climate-change laws. If they emitted a lot of air pollution, they’d want to go after the EPA. If they didn’t want to pay taxes they’d want to cut any government spending and cut taxes on the rich. And if they owned a lot of different industries, they’d want their party to be anti-regulation down the line.

And to further such a project, it would be nice to end restrictions on corporate political contributions. But, then you’d need the help of the supreme court. Why not invite a couple of supreme court justices to your secret political meeting and have a chat with them? Sound far fetched?

It if worked it would be a fabulous investment. And most of those in your Tea Party would never need to know.

When the conservative financier Charles Koch sent out invitations for a political retreat in Palm Springs later this month, he highlighted past appearances at the gathering of “notable leaders” like Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas of the Supreme Court. (NYT)

The Koch brother’s combined fortune of $50 billion xlnk.gif is exceeded only by those of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett.

Charles Lewis, the founder of the Center for Public Integrity, a nonpartisan watchdog group, said,

“The Kochs are on a whole different level. There’s no one else who has spent this much money. The sheer dimension of it is what sets them apart. They have a pattern of lawbreaking, political manipulation, and obfuscation. I’ve been in Washington since Watergate, and I’ve never seen anything like it. They are the Standard Oil of our times.”

“The brothers have funded opposition campaigns against so many Obama Administration policies—from health-care reform to the economic-stimulus program—that, in political circles, their ideological network is known as the Kochtopus.” —The New Yorker

“In my mind, without a doubt nobody has had more influence on the anti-Obama campaign than the Koch-funded groups.”  —Taki Oldham, an Australian documentary film maker who spent months following Tea Party activists

From the extremely conservative The WashingtonExaminer:

Americans for Prosperity is led by billionaire Republican donor David Koch, whose endorsement Romney seeks. An Oct. 4 internal Romney campaign memo obtained by The Washington Examiner describes Koch as the “financial engine of the Tea Party”.

The quoted phrase in from a secret internal Romney campaign memo.

“Five years ago, my brothers Charles and I provided the funds to start Americans for Prosperity,”  —David Koch, 2009, at annual AfP gathering

It is the Kochs’ links to a welter of mass mobilisation campaigns opposing Barack Obama that is making the biggest impact. Political monitoring organisations say the Koch-connected Claude R Lambe Charitable Foundation has given $3.1m to Americans for Prosperity.

“[T]his is the mother of all wars over the next 16 months for the life or death of this country.”  —Charles Koch, June 2011, election planning meeting