Saturday, July 09, 2011

Pity the poor Koch Brothers, just a couple of regular guys trying to do the right thing


Big joke. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) says that it inadvertently sent a letter to the Koch Brothers asking for a political contribution. Given the Koch Brothers' long history of financing fake "grassroots movements" and throwing money at every conceivable roadblock to creating a fairer society for more Americans, it does, at first blush, appear to be an obvious mistake.

Having said that, like most corporations in America, the Koch Brothers have probably, over time, financed both Democrats and Republicans if the candidate in question happened to be either on side with a particular corporate interest or deemed "swayable."

It seems too obvious to say, but, because corporations have so much cash to distribute, they throw their money in all directions on the chance that it might somehow have an impact consistent with whatever public policy goal they find useful.

That the Koch Brothers would have ended up on a list of those who had previously donated to individual Democratic candidates, and therefore be a potential target for a DSCC fundraising pitch, seems not only possible, but likely. It's the nature of list management in the world of high volume political fundraising. Lists are the real currency of politics: donors, supporters, opinions leaders, volunteers, sign locations, etc.

In fact, Politico reports that the Kochs did donate almost $200,000 to Democratic organizations in 2010 and $30,000 to the DSCC in the same cycle.

So, the "how dare you" response by the Koch Brothers seems a little strained to me, but predictable.

Clearly, though, if the DSCC had been paying more attention they would have pulled the letter, knowing that it would be a minor public relations bonanza for those on the right with too little else to do with their time. In that sense, it was a mistake.

Blah, blah, blah.

More interesting for me, though, was the final paragraph in the letter sent by a Koch Companies public affairs hack to the DSCC complaining about the request for financial support. It read:

It is troubling that private citizens taking part in the discourse have become the targets of White House and DSCC fundraising missives, and we would certainly encourage you to rethink that approach.

Give me a break. Holding aside that whole bizarre thing about corporate personhood, an entity as large, influential and powerful as the Koch Companies is a behemoth able to act in the public sphere in a way so dramatically different from what a "private citizen" could do as to make the Koch claim ridiculous.

In 2008, Forbes called Koch the 2nd largest privately held company in the United States, stating that it had an annual revenue at that time of $98 billion. Say it to yourself slowly, "an annual revenue of $98 billion."

I guess Koch's political activities would sort of be just like the guy down the street with a photocopier and a pet political issue to flog, except that it would be totally different from that.

It seems that we are supposed to feel sorry for the Koch Brothers because some would want to shine a light on their political activities to get a firmer grasp on how they spend some of that money to makes friends and influence people.

Oh, cut the crap.

Koch Industries is a monster corporation that has and will continue to grease whatever palms it thinks might be useful on whichever side of the aisle.

Nice try at indignation. Not buying.

(Cross-posted at Lippmann's Ghost.)

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2 Comments:

  • What is that old Chinese proverb?
    There is a dozen ways to bribe a corrupt politician, but there are a hundred ways to bribe and honest one.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:14 AM  

  • I'd love to know what their NET profit on that 98 large was ...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:20 PM  

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