Insiders are predicting the 2018 election cycle budget to be one of the ‘largest ever’ as the Koch network plans to invest up to $400 million in the upcoming midterm elections.
While many Americans remain fixated on President Trump’s twitter feed controversy, covfefe, or the latest fake news about Russia, the billionaire Koch Brothers have been quietly building greater influence, plotting on obtaining more power, and years of investments into the republican party are now starting to have some returns. Take For example Vice President Mike Pence; who has been a loyal servant of super-PACs from the likes of David Koch who has personally supported Pence campaigns with over $300,000 in contributions since 2012, more than any other single candidate in the Koch network. As of June 2017, 16 of 23 senior level White House officials have ties to the Kochs’ ( Source )
Last week the Koch brothers gathered around 400 of their wealthiest donors at The Broadmoor resort in Colorado Spring. There the brothers led a three-day power retreat where they shared their strategy for 2018, and emphasized the importance of the upcoming midterm elections. Although the meeting was not listed on Pence’s official schedule and several local and state Republican leaders said that they were unaware of the summit or knew little about it, according to several reports, Pence reportedly met for nearly an hour at the Broadmoor Hotel with Charles Koch, three wealthy conservatives, and a white house staffer.
The main event for donors — all of whom gave at least $100,000 to attend — included a daring message for 2018. “We are more optimistic now about what we can accomplish than we’ve ever been,” Charles Koch reportedly told donors Saturday on the grounds of the sprawling resort.
The brothers recently called the 2017 legislative sessions “the network’s most successful ever.” Highlighting recent conservative victories in Colorado; cutting state spending, charter schools, and defeating a major tax hike. Koch network leaders credited the investment at the state level for their successes.” Koch network leaders credited the investment at the state level for their successes — one that rivals, if not exceeds, the investment made by the Republican Party at the national and state levels.”. www.denverpost.com
The Koch network plans to spend even more in in the next 2 years, “between $300 to $400 million for this cycle and we believe we are headed to the high end of that range,” said Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity, the Koch brothers primary political action committee. “What we’re urging Republicans in the House and the Senate to do is to be bold, to go big,” Phillips said, “It gives the opportunity for us to point to some real accomplishments when we get to 2018.”
With both major political parties in the US rebuilding from the 2016 presidential elections the atmosphere that lead to Donald Trump’s wild card victory could also see the republican party gaining control of eight Senate seats — and a filibuster-proof majority — in 2018?
Although history is not on the GOP’s side, swings of at least eight Senate seats have occurred in four of the last 17 midterm elections. Since 2008, Democrats have lost nearly 1,000 legislative seats and a dozen governors’ mansions around the country. If the Koch’s wind up in position to steer the Republican party and have the majority of house and Senate then they will control of the legislative branch of the United States government, and the next few years could see the focus of the legislators truly reflecting the values and aspiration of the Koch network.
The framers of the U.S. Constitution saw checks and balances as essential for the security of liberty; “It is by balancing each of these powers… tyranny can alone be checked and restrained, and any degree of freedom preserved in the constitution” Said John Adams. Checks and balances are an important part of how the United States government operates. The idea is to prevent tyranny by allowing one part of the government to check the others. In this system each branch serves as a check on the possible abuses of power or unwise actions by the others. Congress, by initiating amendments, can reverse decisions of the Supreme Court, the presidential may veto legislation, which can later be overridden by a two-thirds vote. The president appoints the members of the Supreme Court but only with the consent of the Senate and approval of congress.
With wealth, today’s technology, and perseverance the Koch brothers have been able to get operatives or people otherwise loyal to their agenda inside all three branches of the US government. A corporate takeover, and that was not unforeseen by the framers, there has been a calculated erosion of the original laws and limitations that were once placed on how much money could be spent to back political candidates, and by who. The Founders recognized the dangers of what they called the “aristocracy of corporations” what Thomas Jefferson called “the selfish spirit of commerce that knows no country, and feels no passion or principle but that of gain.” The Founders were well aware of the power that corporations, especially the banks, possessed and they feared that this power could and would be used to control the functions of government; how right they were.
Corporations were not always considered to have the same rights as people as they do now, originally state legislators maintained tight control of the corporate chartering process. Charters were only granted for activities that benefited the public.Enabling shareholders to profit was seen as a justifiable means to that end. Early legislators granted very few corporate charters, and only after long debate. The citizens we able to strongly influence corporations by detailing operating conditions not just in charters but also in state constitutions and state laws. Incorporated businesses were prohibited from taking any action that legislators did not specifically allow. States also limited corporate charters to a set number of years. Unless a legislature renewed an expiring charter, the corporation was dissolved and its assets were divided among shareholders. Citizen authority clauses limited capitalization, debts, land holdings, and sometimes, even profits. Some of the conditions were:
- Corporate charters (licenses to exist) were granted for a limited time and could be revoked promptly for violating laws.
- Corporations could engage only in activities necessary to fulfill their chartered purpose.
- Corporations could not own stock in other corporations nor own any property that was not essential to fulfilling their chartered purpose.
- Corporations were often terminated if they exceeded their authority or caused public harm.
- Owners and managers were responsible for criminal acts committed on the job.
- Corporations could not make any political or charitable contributions nor spend money to influence law-making.
We need Micro-donations to succeed. If you enjoy our work please consider subscribing to our rewards program, The possibly of a corporate takeover was taken serious by the founding fathers, and they took many precautions in an attempt to prevent corporations from becoming too powerful. It’s a long story, but essentially, the US Supreme Court in a series of rulings that began in 1976 and continues to today, removed many of the campaign contribution limits and other reforms. The most significant court decision of all time by most accounts is “Citizens United v. the Federal Election Commission” Known simply as Citizens United; this is the case where on January 21, 2010, the supreme court ruled that under the free-speech of the first amendment nonprofits could donate any amount to political campaigns, allowing entities to anonymously fund political campaigns. Justice John Paul Stevens who voted against the decision denounced the controversial Citizens United decision “The rule announced today —- that Congress must treat corporations exactly like human speakers in the political realm —- represents a radical change in the law. The court’s decision is at war with the views of generations of Americans” Five months after writing that, Stevens, a republican who had been appointed to the Court in 1975 by President Ford, retired from the bench at the age of 90. Since then, of course literally hundreds of millions of “dark money” has been streaming into the US political process.
The Koch brothers have gone to great lengths over the years to conceal the nature of their vast political operations.The Kochs and their media empire are flooding the airwaves with advertisements to push their oligarchy agenda. The “dark money” epithet refers to the fact that the Koch network is made up almost entirely of 501(c)3 and 501(c)4 nonprofit organizations that can accept unlimited funds and do not have to disclose their donors. So when most people see ads funded by groups such as AFP, they don’t realize that a shadowy gang of wealthy donors and corporate behemoths with billions of dollars to stand to gain or lose from the policy decisions behind them.
The Koch network has multiple tools at their disposal to manipulate the electoral process, but the current method contains three primary components; Intelligence, Media, and Education. The Koch machine maintains its own intelligence apparatus, a secretive operation that conducts surveillance and intelligence gathering for the network. The operation, which is little-known even within the Koch network, gathers what Koch insiders refer to as “competitive intelligence”. Their i360 data collection service which maintains a database of over 250 million adults, including 190 million people who are registered to vote.With a staff of 25, including one former CIA analyst in non-descript Koch network offices clustered near the Courthouse metro in Arlington, Va.
The system provides network officials with documents detailing confidential voter-mobilization plans by left-aligned groups. It also tracks emails, canvassing, phone-banking and voter-registration efforts of labor unions, environmental groups and maintains a database of opponents used to try to thwart liberal groups and activists, and to identify potential threats to the expansive network.It’s basically a mini-CIA complete with a supercomputer and a competitive intelligence team, that has gathered on-the-ground intelligence from liberal groups’ canvassing events in an effort to assess the technology and techniques of field efforts to boost Democrats, according to sources. The team utilizes high-tech tactics to track the movements of liberal organizers, including culling geo-data embedded in their social media. According to Koch associates the network views the i360 as a key strategic tool in their efforts to reshape American public life.
Another key element of the Koch brothers’ strategy is influencing the media. Through media, they have advanced their political and ideological goals and attacked those who stand in their way. The Koch brothers and their network have paid conservative media figures to promote their message, bankrolled front groups that run aggressive anti-environmental media campaigns, and even created their own right-wing “news” outlets. Meanwhile, they’ve garnered some favorable mainstream media coverage by tightly controlling reporter access to their summits and other events, while attacking and otherwise intimidating journalists who dare to shine a light on their activities.
It’s no secret the Koch brothers were not fond of Donald Trump and have made it clear, Mark Holden, spokesman for the Koch Network told Politico before the 2016 election, that the brothers would only support a candidate who “did not engage in personal attacks and mudslinging.”
That being said, Koch allies have been helping shape the Trump administration for some time. The Checks and Balance project recently found that 70% of White House Senior Level Officials Have Koch Ties.From transition team staffers to his Cabinet, Trump has brought numerous Koch lieutenants and allies into his inner circle.These transition team members include Trump mega-donors who are also part of the Koch political network, such as Rebekah Mercer, and employees of Koch-funded think tanks like the Heritage Foundation and the Institute for Energy Research.
It’s very likely that Trump is eager to work with Charles and David Koch, who represent exactly what Trump values most—wealth and power—which is also reflected in his cabinet of billionaire executives. And though the Kochs may object to Trump’s some of Trumps viewpoints, they stand to increase their $88 billion through Trump’s planned environmental deregulation, privatization, corporate tax cuts and other policies favoring the wealthy.
President Trump never much enjoyed backing from Koch ’s sprawling, secretive, political enterprise, which has emerged as a libertarian-leaning power center, sometimes overshadowing the traditional Republican Party apparatus with its high-dollar donors and vast operations. Koch’s group did not endorse the GOP presidential nominee.But the network has always had close ties with Pence.
From the moment Trump picked his vice presidential running mate, Koch favorite Mike Pence, the brothers’ influence on Trump World has grown ever stronger.
The Kochs must have popped champagne when Trump announced that Mike Pence, the conservative governor of Indiana, would be his running mate. Pence is adored by the Kochs and their vast political donor network; Ken Vogel and Maggie Haberman described him in Politico as “among the best … messengers for this new Koch brand in a field of prospective [presidential] candidates who fit some portions of the brothers’ political bent but not others.” Pence has addressed a gathering of Americans for Prosperity, the Kochs’ most well-known political group that spends millions on elections each cycle opposing liberal policies and helping elect conservative Republicans. Mike Pence is The Koch brothers’ darling. He began traveling in similar lanes to the Koch brothers early in his career. In 1991, Pence became president of the Indiana Policy Review Foundation, which is part of the State Policy Network.A center for Media and Democracy report explains, SPN affiliates “push an extreme right-wing agenda that aims to privatize education, block healthcare reform, restrict workers’ rights, roll back environmental protections, and create a tax system that benefits most those at the very top level of income.” The IPRF was a small group back when Pence was president, but in the years since it has amassed an enormous budget thanks in large part to the largess of the Koch network of donors. David Koch gave Pence’s two gubernatorial campaigns $300,000. Americans for Prosperity ran ads supporting Pence, and the Republican Governors Association, to which Koch and Koch Industries have donated a combined $10.8 million since 2003, spent $4.2 million in 2012 and 2016 backing Pence. Pence, who may be an even more powerful vice president than Dick Cheney, will be in prime position to advocate for the issues about which the Kochs care most, including corporate tax cuts, which he instituted in Indiana, and opposition to bailouts and market regulation. According to Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., Pence will be in charge of both domestic and foreign policy. And he’ll preside over the U.S. Senate, over which Republicans have a narrow majority.
This is very concerning for the foreseeable future in America, the Koch network though sometimes inline with liberty, and often opposed to the AIPAC agenda, pose great threat to the environment and to the economic reality that many Americans face. Using these immense tools of media,education,and politics the Koch brothers may be able to seemingly soon seize an incredible amount of power in the Untied-State political establishment.