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Stand up to the Koch brothers’ political machine

Robert Reich, professor of public policy | June 27, 2014

A number of billionaires are flooding our democracy with their money, drowning out the voices of the rest of us. But Charles and David Koch are in a class by themselves. They’re using their fortune – they’re the fifth and sixth richest people in the world — to create their own political machine designed to protect and advance their financial interests. The Koch machine includes:

1. Political front groups pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into elections at every level of our democracy, while disguising the sources of the money.

2. Giant advertising campaigns to convince Americans climate change is a myth, the Affordable Care Act will harm them, unions are bad, and wealthy people deserve tax cuts.

3. A network of think tanks designed to come up with findings the Kochs want. For example, over $23 million for studies arguing we should abolish the minimum wage or keep it where it is forever.

4. A campaign to suppress the votes of minorities. In the last presidential election, funding white “poll-watchers” where minorities vote, leading to complaints of voter intimidation. And peddling a Voter ID bill to state legislators across the country, designed to make it harder for many to vote.

5. A nationwide effort to bust unions.  Funding anti-union campaigns in states like Wisconsin, and pushing an anti-union law that’s been used in dozens of states to undermine workers’ collective bargaining rights.

And 6. A long-term strategy to unravel America’s campaign finance laws, even organizing secret meetings with sympathetic Supreme Court justices.

The Koch political machine would be troubling in any circumstance. But it’s especially dangerous in present-day America, where wealth is more concentrated than it’s been in over a century and the Supreme Court has opened the floodgates to big money.

The problem isn’t that the Kochs are so rich, or their political views are so regressive. The problem is they’re using their exorbitant wealth to impose those views on the rest of us, undermining our democracy.

More than 200,000 of you have already signed my MoveOn petition denouncing the Koch brothers for undermining our democracy.

The Kochs won’t care what we say, but when a half a million of us stand up to them, politicians will have to think twice before taking their money. When a million of us stand up to them, their money will be a political liability.

Standing up to bullies is the hallmark of a civilized society. Please join our petition — and stand up for our democracy. The link to the petition is at the end of the video.

Or go to

Our democracy is not for sale.

Cross-posted from Robert Reich’s blog

Comments to “Stand up to the Koch brothers’ political machine

  1. I live in California and Michael Bloomberg spent $2 mil on Los ANgeles politics in the last year and a half. He has an island, he goes there on weekend, he is a leftcon, turned from RINO to Democrat leftist.

    George Soros destroyed the British Pound, and he contributes 2 times as much as the Koch brothers who I looked contributed equally to both sides, so Mr. R is being pressured by leftcons at his career palaces to fight one problem and ignore all the others.

    LOs Angeles has not seen economic growth since 1993 ( so Robert R is to blame, in part because of his work with Clintons was a failure) and all migrants have gotten 99% of all Los Angeles jobs since 2006 A.D.

    America is a failure, it starts at the Public Institutions.

    Obama took his economic advisors form Berkeley, From Stanford, From Harvard and nothing good has come of it.

    Look at your self in the Mirror, do you like what you see?

  2. Does the same principles not apply to George Soros and the Left? I think the Koch brothers have donated billions to hospitals around the country, they actually do a lot of good with their money.

  3. If the right to make a fortune is so holy why is the Koch inheritance which theoretically is denied to the vast majority of us gives the brothers privileges also denied to all who struggle for economic success?

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