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Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

Notable Links Digest – September 30, 2014

MSNBC Ridicules Democrats’ Hypocritical And Ineffective Koch Brothers Strategy
http://freebeacon.com/politics/msnbc-ridicules-democrats-hypocritical-and-ineffective-koch-brothers-strategy/
Washington Free Beacon

“This Koch brothers thing, it’s ridiculous,” Scarborough said. “Especially when they’re getting tons and tons of money on their side.”

Scarborough was alluding to a recent revelation that while Democrats frequently decry big money in politics, they in fact are the main recipients of big donor money.

“It doesn’t even work in Manhattan, where people thank God for David Koch,” Scarborough said. David Koch has donated nearly $300 million to New York City medical and cultural institutions.

“If you go to the hospital for special surgery because you’re mortally injured you will be thanking David Koch,” co-host Mika Brzezinski said.

Morning Joe co-host Willie Geist, equally perplexed, said Reid’s obsession with the Koch brothers has become a national strategy for Democrats but has been ineffective in moving the needle in midterm battleground states.
On The Cover Of The Rolling Stone

ON THE COVER OF THE ROLLING STONE
http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2014/09/on-the-cover-of-the-rolling-stone.php
By JOHN HINDERAKER
Powerline

Rolling Stone has declined badly since the days when it employed P.J. O’Rourke as its foreign correspondent. The magazine falls a little farther with this month’s issue, which features the most uninspired hit piece on Koch Industries yet to appear in print. Timed to reinforce the Democrats’ campaign theme, Tim Dickinson’s article contains no original reporting, but merely regurgitates tired and discredited stories about Koch’s alleged misdeeds over the decades.

Dickinson’s problem isn’t just impenetrable ignorance, however. He contacted Koch Industries with a series of questions, and Koch responded with 3,200 words of history, fact and analysis-99 of which made it into the Rolling Stone article. You can see the information that Koch gave to Dickinson, and that Dickinson ignored, on KochFacts, where the entire email exchange between Dickinson and Koch is reproduced. The inescapable conclusion is that Dickinson knew that his article was a tissue of lies, misrepresentations and misleading statements and omissions, but published it anyway.

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Friday, September 26th, 2014

Setting the Record Straight in Arkansas

You may have seen political ads on TV that misrepresent Koch companies and our presence in Arkansas. The truth is, we’ve expanded and added more employees in the state. Get the facts in this short video:

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Thursday, September 25th, 2014

Response to Rolling Stone Story

When Rolling Stone magazine’s Tim Dickinson reached out to us for a story about “a detailed, longitudinal examination of the rise of Koch Industries to become one of the largest private firms in America,” we were open and honest with him. As our emails with Mr. Dickinson show, however, we told him we were skeptical of his intentions and whether he would write an objective and balanced story about Koch Industries and our 100,000 dedicated employees, including 60,000 in the United States. Instead, we explained, he seemed to be simply “checking a box” and going through the motions of saying he tried to get our perspective. We also expressed our concerns that given his and Rolling Stone’s past distorted and dishonest coverage of Koch, we were doubtful that he would be fair and objective with us.

We noted that his storyline seemed almost identical to many other unbalanced, agenda-driven pieces in the past, such as a widely panned and discredited Bloomberg Markets story. It appeared to us that he was simply regurgitating and cribbing from past pieces hostile to Koch. Mr. Dickinson insisted that he was “attempting to engage in a good-faith discussion” and denied that his reporting was aided by any of the agenda-driven attack groups that have long peddled misinformation about Koch for ulterior political purposes. This despite the fact that Mr. Dickinson has made a career at left-wing outlets like Mother Jones or that topics in this article track almost in lockstep with the prior work of other reporters who share his ideological commitments.

Despite our well-founded reservations, we provided detailed responses to Mr. Dickinson’s questions and requested that he use our responses in full. We asked that if he felt the need to omit any of our responses that he engage us in a discussion, as any ethical journalist would. Judging from the resulting article, it’s clear he wasn’t interested in being fair or honest.

Mr. Dickinson’s blatantly dishonest and misleading article published by Rolling Stone this week has numerous willful omissions, and contains no new or newsworthy information. We provided on-the-record responses to each of his several dozen questions and topics — answers amounting to more than 3,200 words in total — yet Mr. Dickinson quoted just 99 words in his more than 9,000 words. In addition, his article covers many topics that he never raised with us. Given that he used less than five percent of the information we provided, it is likely that he would have ignored further input in any event.

Any pretense at objectivity is belied by Mr. Dickinson’s efforts to hype his article on social media with hyperbole like, “From toxic pollution to toxic assets — everything you need to know about how the Koch brothers got so rich.” The caricatured illustration that accompanies the piece is appropriate, since the article, too, is a subjective distortion of reality.

Here is a link to all the information we provided on the record to Mr. Dickinson – information that he hid from readers. And here are further links that provide previously existing public responses from Koch and material that we provided Mr. Dickinson — nearly all of which was ignored:

•   Mr. Dickinson makes a number of broad negative claims about Koch’s environmental record, but only passing reference to the more than 900 awards for safety, environmental excellence, and community stewardship Koch has received since 2009 alone - information that we provided to Mr. Dickinson. In an article ostensibly about Koch’s relationship with regulators, the fact that EPA has repeatedly praised Koch for a productive and collaborative approach is surely relevant to Rolling Stone readers. In addition, he excised our explanation of the long and continuing path to improve and enhance our environmental, health, and safety performance. He also ignored the discussion about our ongoing efforts to ensure we understand and meet the expectations of the EPA and other regulators, our communities, and our shareholders.

•  While he never raised the issue with us, Mr. Dickinson refers to a University of Massachusetts-Amherst report from a radical group that names Koch as an alleged major “polluter” in the United States. Here again he omits key context to mislead readers. As we detailed here in a statement readily available to Mr. Dickinson, that report included virtually every major manufacturer in the United States today, which combined form the lifeblood of the economy and provide good-paying manufacturing jobs to millions of Americans. Moreover, the emissions cited in the report are legal and regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). EPA itself notes that Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) information alone does not indicate that the use or release of these chemicals poses a risk. EPA has compiled TRI data for facilities with the same U.S.-based parent company. A parent company is defined as the highest-level company, located in the U.S., which owns at least 50 percent of the voting stock of the manufacturer. These parent companies are ranked by EPA based upon the total volume of production-related waste managed by those facilities. Koch Industries, Inc. is the parent company for the Koch companies. Due to the size and nature of our U.S.-based manufacturing presence, Koch has been among the top 10 parent companies for the last three years. More than 100 Koch company sites submit TRI reports—significantly more than the other top-10 parent companies, which have between 1 and 65 sites reporting.

•   The article states that Koch made the difficult decision to convert a Flint Hills Resources refinery in North Pole, Alaska to a terminal, after “the discovery that a toxic solvent had leaked from the facility, fouling the town’s groundwater.” Mr. Dickinson ignored all the information we provide him on this topic. He deceptively omits the undisputed facts that the off-site contamination existed long before Koch bought the refinery in 2004, that the contamination was not disclosed to Koch by the prior owner, and that once discovered, Koch quickly and voluntarily began providing alternative water to the community. He also ignores that Alaskan public officials like Senator Mark Begich and Governor Sean Parnell empathized with Flint Hills’ difficult decision and that Flint Hills has worked to retain as many of the affected employees as possible at other Koch companies.

•   The article falsely claims that Koch’s petroleum coke business at its KCBX North facility in Chicago is endangering the “health of South Side residents,” despite the fact that we provided Mr. Dickinson the Congressional Research Service researchfindings from the city of Chicago that “there are no known illnesses or health effects associated with pet coke dust,” and EPA’s own conclusion that “petroleum coke itself has a low level of toxicity and that there is no evidence of carcinogenicity.” Nor does Mr. Dickinson note that KCBX was honored with the Good Neighbor award from the Southeast Environmental Task Force in 2001 and again in 2005.

•   Mr. Dickinson rehashes regulatory and legal issues from the 1970s and 1980s regarding Nixon Administration price controls and oil lotteries that have long since been settled. In some instances, Mr. Dickinson fails to note the responses we provided him.

•   The article falsely declares that Koch “stole” oil from American Indian lands in the 1970s and 1980s. In fact, no oil was “stolen” and there was no finding of theft of any kind in this case. We detailed this to Mr. Dickinson before publication and provided him with a statement and substantiation explaining the issue. He ignores all of it.

•   In discussing Koch facilities in Minnesota, Mr. Dickinson accuses us of “treating the Mississippi [River] as a sewer” during the 1990s. This is inaccurate and one-sided. In fact, between 1998 and 2001, Koch Petroleum Group entered into a series of agreements with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and EPA to resolve issues at Koch’s Rosemount, Minnesota refinery, taking full responsibility for past discharges from an aviation fuel tank leak, part of which reached a wetland adjacent to the Mississippi River, though not the river itself. We pointed Mr. Dickinson to the fact that our Minnesota refinery is recognized for its exemplary environmental performance, and its cooperative and productive relationships with regulators, environmental groups, and neighbors. His story omits these facts.

•   Mr. Dickinson says Koch was convicted of a “felony count for covering up the fact that it had disconnected a key pollution-control device” at a Corpus Christi facility. In fact, in 1995 an individual Koch employee filed a false report in this case, was terminated for doing so, and Koch voluntarily disclosed the incident to the Texas environmental regulatory agency. We provided Mr. Dickinson with this information in detail, including information demonstrating that someone altered evidence during the grand jury process. The official Texas state government meeting record showed when Koch first learned of the issues in 1995, our employees openly and directly told the state regulator that the refinery was out of compliance and advised they would come back to the regulator when they better understood all the details. In fact, later government records show that our employees did just as they promised. The meeting record that was used by the federal grand jury had that key exculpatory information excised. Ultimately, the 97-count indictment Mr. Dickinson mentions was dismissed after the government’s case cratered when Koch finally had a chance to challenge the evidence in front of the trial judge. As part of a settlement, Koch pled guilty to the incident stemming from the event we voluntarily disclosed back in 1995. The government required the four individuals who were wrongly accused to waive their rights to sue for malicious prosecution as part of this settlement. We gave Mr. Dickinson all this information and provided him copies of the documents, which are in our responses above. He intentionally ignores all of this to repeat the same dishonest and misleading story that many others have written about over the past 13 years.

•   The article shamefully uses the circumstances of a tragic 1997 fatal accident—the only such accident of its kind in the history of Koch Pipeline Company—in a cowardly effort to smear Koch as more concerned with a “10 percent” increase in profit than with human lives. As with so many other issues, Mr. Dickinson omits our point of view, even though we have publicly addressed the accident on multiple occasions since it happened–the only such accident of its kind in the history of Koch Pipeline Company) and have always accepted responsibility for this tragedy.

•   Mr. Dickinson quotes former EPA administrator Carol Browner negatively on Koch, and seems to suggest that Koch’s 2000 Clean Air agreement with the EPA is evidence of misdeeds. In fact, Ms. Browner described that very agreement as “innovative and comprehensive” and praised the “unprecedented cooperation” of Koch in stepping forward ahead of its industry peers. The agency also deemed the agreement as a “major step in fulfilling the promise of the Clean Air Act.”

•   Mr. Dickinson never raised with us many of the issues in Koch’s financial and trading operations that he later addresses in the article, and on other issues he again fails to note the responses we provided. In discussing a legal settlement with Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) over energy trading, for instance, Mr. Dickinson fails to note that CFTC praised Koch for full cooperation with its investigation (and also omits that it was a 50-50 joint venture between Entergy and Koch Trading). This was an industry-wide effort by CFTC, Mr. Dickinson fails to mention, and not focused solely on Entergy-Koch Trading (EKT). And in a lengthy discussion of futures trading issues, Mr. Dickinson appears to rely heavily on an article published by left-wing activists in the spring of 2011, despite the fact that the article and its author, Lee Fang, were thoroughly and utterly debunked at the time by multiple independent sources.

•   Despite providing Mr. Dickinson with links to the many mainstream media pieces that mocked, discredited, and criticized a Bloomberg Markets article on a Koch foreign subsidiary’s lawful business in Iran, he fails to include any of that information. Koch directly addressed the rank falsehoods emerging from the story multiple times, a repetition made necessary by political partisans and agenda-driven activists who spread known falsehoods in much the same way Mr. Dickinson does here. If he would have bothered to include our statement or link to our responses or other media coverage, he would have seen key information that impeaches the credibility of Bloomberg Market’s key source for his story – a former European employee who praised the company previously and never raised any issue about trade with Iran before he left. In any event, the fact that last decade a European subsidiary did some limited business in Iran is irrelevant since, as we have explained multiple times, that was permissible under the law at that time. We ultimately made a voluntary decision not to do business in Iran even when U.S. law allowed it. If Mr. Dickinson had any desire to be open and honest with his readers, he might have noted that many companies continued to do business in Iran long after Koch ceased doing so voluntarily, and that some still do business there.

•   Mr. Dickinson’s discussion of the Keystone XL pipeline is inaccurate and contradictory. He implies that Koch stands to gain from approval of the pipeline—a claim refuted here and more than a dozen times since such as here,  herehere, and here. Yet in the next breath Mr. Dickinson admits that the approval of Keystone XL would actually “eat into [Koch] profit margins.” He then offers a third distinct claim, that uncertainty over whether Keystone XL will be approved benefits Koch.

•   Other bizarre internal contradictions emerge throughout the article. For instance, Mr. Dickinson first implies Koch was guilty of patent infringement nearly a century ago, then pages later notes that the patent decision against Koch was thrown out when it was discovered the other party had illegally bribed the judge in the case, and that Koch in fact won at the Supreme Court and successfully countersued for anti-trust violations. Elsewhere in the article, Fred Koch is criticized for being both too soft on Stalinism and too “rabidly anti-Communist.”

Any reasonable reader will conclude that this article is nothing more than a thinly veiled “hit piece.” We believe that Rolling Stone readers would have benefitted from an open and honest discussion of the issues Mr. Dickinson decided to write about. We are confident that if the true facts had been presented, Rolling Stone readers might have learned something about us that was contrary to the misinformation that Rolling Stone and other media have rehashed and regurgitated over the years. Apparently Rolling Stone and Mr. Dickinson do not trust or respect their readers enough to provide them with balanced information and an objective narrative, nor do they want their readers to make up their own minds.

 

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Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

Notable Links Digest – August 27, 2014

Koch Brothers Take On Camo-Wearing Cops
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/08/27/koch-brothers-take-on-camo-wearing-cops.html
By TIM MAK
The Daily Beast

Groups on the left have been among the loudest voices condemning police actions in Ferguson, Missouri, after the fatal shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown this month. But the Koch brothers, boogeymen of national Democrats, have long funded libertarian groups that laid the intellectual groundwork for opposing police militarization, a phenomenon that now has been discussed and denounced much more widely.

The militarization of police in particular is an issue the Koch brothers view as necessary to tackle and which they have spent years fighting, a spokesman said.

“We need to address issues such as overcriminalization, excessive and disproportionate sentencing, inadequate indigent defense that is inconsistent with the Sixth Amendment, and the militarization of police,” Mark Holden, general counsel of Koch Industries Inc., told The Daily Beast. “We have deep respect for the moral dignity of each and every person and because of this, we’ve worked for decades to support those who defend the full range of individual rights.”

Why I stand with the Koch brothers
http://www.startribune.com/opinion/commentaries/272792971.html
By FRITZ CORRIGAN
The Star Tribune

Every day, another media personality or politician criticizes Charles and David Koch. Even our two Minnesota senators — Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar — regularly attack these two brothers, as has their boss, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who called them “un-American.” The Kochs, who have created hundreds of thousands of jobs and donated hundreds of millions to charity, earned such scorn for promoting free-market policies.

I agree with the Kochs. … We share a common vision: a society where opportunity and innovation improve well-being for everyone. We want to protect the American dream for future generations.

We believe that everyone should be free to chart his or her own path to success. They should be free to start and grow a small business into an economic powerhouse. And they should be free to do all of this without politicians and bureaucrats blocking the path.

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Thursday, August 14th, 2014

Charles Koch: How to really turn the economy around

[Originally published in USA Today]

By Charles Koch

Government, business and workers need to address values and incentives.

For years, Washington politicians have said that our economy is turning the corner. They said it in 2011, in 2013 and again last week — every time they report a quarter with 4% economic growth. But each time, the economy has turned sluggish again.

Like most Americans, I am deeply concerned about our weak economic recovery and its effects on millions of families. Opportunity, especially for the young and disadvantaged, is declining. High underemployment has become our new norm.

The effects of underemployment are not just economic, they are also social and psychological. Real work is an important part of how we define ourselves. Meaningful work benefits both us and others. Those who lack real jobs often end up depressed, addicted or aggressive.

Today, opportunities for such work are not what they should be. We need a different approach, focused less on politics and more on basic principles.

Read the full article at USA Today

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Thursday, August 14th, 2014

Notable Links Digest – August 14, 2014

Youth Entrepreneurs’ Good Work Should Not Be Politicized
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kent-matlock/youth-entrepreneurs-good-_b_5605327.html
By Kent Matlock
Huffington Post

I know the Youth Entrepreneurs program very well. My firm has worked with Georgia-Pacific for more than 20 years and with Koch Industries since it purchased GP. GP has funded the Youth Entrepreneurs Georgia program since 2005 (it was known as Youth Entrepreneurs — Atlanta then). My work with Liz Koch, the chair of YEGeorgia, who had a personal hand in establishing the program in Atlanta, was very similar to my work with Mrs. Billye Aaron when she was vice president of UNCF, and Coretta Scott King, throughout the 1980s and 90s. My experience showed them all as strong and smart women fully committed to the outcomes of their causes. In the case of Youth Entrepreneurs, I have personally witnessed the life-changing impact on a youth who attends an inner-city school, and realizes that they have the ability and opportunity to start their own business and to fulfill their dreams. The Youth Entrepreneurs program provides not only that hope, but also equips the participants with the knowledge, confidence, and often resources (e.g., scholarship money or venture capital).

Instead of criticizing the Youth Entrepreneurs program and suggesting some sinister and unfounded plot by Charles Koch, we should be duplicating these programs and making them available to more youth. The question your reporters should be asking is “what are we doing to prepare our youth – all our youth – to reach their full potential?” I suggest that we allow the students who have gone through the Youth Entrepreneurs program to tell their stories, many of which are captured in this video channel, without the “politics” so that we can find common-ground solutions that benefit our youth.

Koch Brothers’ donation will help black students
http://www.myajc.com/news/news/opinion/koch-brothers-donation-will-help-black-students/ngxdn/
By Kent Matlock
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The recent $25 million grant to the United Negro College Fund from Koch Industries and the Charles Koch Foundation has generated comments and opinions, many of which are, at best, politically motivated and, at worst, hate-fueled. Such assertions have hijacked the intelligent dialogue we should be having about what does and doesn’t work in preparing our young people for their futures.

EDITORIAL: Campaign cash and the Kochs
http://www.reviewjournal.com/opinion/editorial-campaign-cash-and-kochs
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL

The nonpartisan, nonprofit Center for Responsive Politics — the nation’s premier tracker of money in U.S. politics and its effect on elections and public policy — has released its lists of top contributors during the 2014 election cycle. The lists allow the public to see which organizations and individuals donate the most money to federal campaigns and committees.

The lists show a pronounced shift. In the 2012 election cycle, seven of the top 20 donors favored conservatives. Of this year’s top 20 organizations, only two favor Republicans. The other 18, with the exception of a lone, “on the fence” trade association, strongly favor liberal policies and Democratic candidates. 

 

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Thursday, July 10th, 2014

Responding to Attack Ads by Partisan Activist Group

The League of Conservation Voters Victory Fund (LCV) is running a false and deceptive television advertisement entitled “Billionaires” in markets in or near the state of New Hampshire.

The LCV is a partisan activist group that does not disclose its donors. It is part of the Democracy Alliance, a group of billionaires and millionaires who support liberal causes and candidates but also doesn’t disclose its members.

The ad attacks Charles Koch and David Koch, and falsely maligns their companies’ business interests. Contrary to the ad’s assertions, Charles Koch and David Koch are opposed to government subsidies of any kind and have been outspoken and consistent in their opposition to subsidies and other instances of the government picking winners and losers.

The ad leads with a pejorative characterization of the Kochs as “out-of-state oil billionaires,” and claims that United States Senate candidate Scott Brown “voted to keep giving billions in special tax-payer funded subsidies to oil companies,” leaving a reasonable viewer with only one (inaccurate) conclusion: that Charles Koch and David Koch are in favor of such alleged taxpayer-funded subsidies. LCV Senior Vice President Daniel J. Weiss repeated this inaccurate and false claim in the press release accompanying the new ad, asserting that “…[t]hey know Scott Brown will continue where he left off by protecting oil industry profits at the expense of taxpayers and public health.”

As Charles Koch explained in an April 2014 Wall Street Journal opinion piece:

“…Far from trying to rig the system, I have spent decades opposing cronyism and all political favors, including mandates, subsidies and protective tariffs—even when we benefit from them. I believe that cronyism is nothing more than welfare for the rich and powerful, and should be abolished.

Koch Industries was the only major producer in the ethanol industry to argue for the demise of the ethanol tax credit in 2011. That government handout (which cost taxpayers billions) needlessly drove up food and fuel prices as well as other costs for consumers—many of whom were poor or otherwise disadvantaged. Now the mandate needs to go, so that consumers and the marketplace are the ones who decide the future of ethanol.”

Citations: See Charles Koch, Op-Ed “I’m Fighting to Restore a Free Society,” The Wall Street Journal (Apr. 2, 2014), available at http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/…0515021286; see also Statement from Koch Industries Regarding Accusations of Lobbying for Surtax on Renewable Energy (May 1, 2014), available at:

http://www.kochfacts.com/kf/statement-from-koch-industries-regarding-accusations-of-lobbying-for-surtax-on-renewable-energy/

http://www.kochfacts.com/kf/consistentlyopposing/

http://www.kochfacts.com/kf/whyspeakout/;http://www.kochfacts.com/kf/an-open-letter-to-congress-regarding-the-budget/

http://www.kochfacts.com/kf/the-new-york-times-ignores-kochs-stated-position-on-proposed-carbon-tax-and-falsely-tries-to-drive-a-wedge-between-koch-and-other-energy-companies/

The LCV advertisement’s claim that Charles Koch and David Koch are in favor of receiving a subsidy at the expense of taxpayers is deceitful and completely false. We welcome an open and honest debate about the important issues facing the country. We are disappointed that the LCV has instead chosen to misrepresent the record and mislead the people of New Hampshire.

We ask the LCV to stop misrepresenting our positions and engage in a principled debate about the issues.

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Monday, June 30th, 2014

Notable Links Digest – June 30, 2014

Inside the vast liberal conspiracy
http://www.politico.com/story/2014/06/inside-the-vast-liberal-conspiracy-108171.html
By Kenneth Vogel
Politico

Picture this: millionaires and billionaires gathering under tight security in fancy hotels with powerful politicians and operatives to plot how their network of secret-money groups can engineer a permanent realignment of American politics.

Only, it’s not the Koch brothers. It’s the liberal Democracy Alliance.

The 21 groups at the core of the Democracy Alliance’s portfolio intend to spend $374 million during the midterm election cycle — including nearly $200 million this year — to boost liberal candidates and causes in 2014 and beyond, according to internal documents obtained by POLITICO.

While growing sums of that cash are being spent vilifying the billionaire conservative industrialists Charles and David Koch over their own network’s political spending, the documents reveal the extent to which the Democracy Alliance network mirrors the Kochs’ — and is obsessed with it.

The existential crisis of the liberal millionaire
http://www.politico.com/story/2014/06/david-brock-liberal-millionaire-existential-crisis-108215.html
By Kenneth Vogel and Tarini Parti
Politico

David Brock has a message for liberal millionaires: Don’t sweat being called hypocrites.

Brock, a former “right-wing hit-man”-turned-top-big-money-Democratic-operative, is part of a behind-the-scenes campaign to convince donors it’s OK to attack the Koch brothers for spending millions of dollars while doing the exact same thing for the left.

Conservatives reject the notion that rich liberals donate more out of their concern for society than do their conservative counterparts like the Kochs. But Brock’s pitch also isn’t sitting well with some major liberal donors and operatives, who worry the anti-Koch strategy could backfire big time. It has not yet been proven effective at motivating key Democratic voting blocs like unmarried women and minorities, and liberal critics also worry it risks undercutting more important issues, smacks of class warfare and opens themselves up to hypocrisy charges.

Morning Joe
http://www.msnbc.com/morning-joe/watch/fundraisers-take-on-the-koch-brothers-288660547940
MSNBC

JOE SCARBOROUGH: You guys at Politico have been writing stories about this, about democrats ringing their hands and also this group that has gotten together. I have short term memory loss so I don’t remember exactly the name of the group.

JIM VANDEHEI: Democracy Alliance.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: But you said they’re going to raise gazillions of dollars and their goal is to out-Koch the Koch brothers.

JIM VANDEHEI: Well, it’s funny we were talking about this with Hillary Clinton where democrats have this tortured relationship with money, we have all these multimillionaire, billionaires who they want to put money into politics and they’re tortured about it. Should we do it by saying the Koch brothers are criminals. Inherently what they’re saying is hypocritical. You can’t say that’s awful but when we do it, boy, it’s great. The truth is, the way that campaign finance laws are, if you care about politics, you should spend gobs of money. The campaign finance rules work in your favor. you can have a huge effect —

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Barack Obama became the first billion dollar candidate. He knows how to raise and spend money.

EUGENE ROBINSON: Exactly. Both major parties will race enormous sums of money. Where do you get it? You get it from people that have enormous sums of money. It would be hypocritical.

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Friday, June 13th, 2014

Notable Links Digest – June 13, 2014

Tom Finneran: I’ll Have a Koch
http://m.golocalworcester.com/politics/tom-finneran-ill-have-a-koch
By Tom Finneran
GoLocalWorcester.com

As an American citizen I’m under no obligation to give support to any candidate at all. I might find them all repellent. Yet if I learn of a candidate who seems sensible and grounded, a candidate whose principles align with mine, I’m free to help that candidate get elected. As are you. As are the Koch brothers.

These evil brothers have been in the news lately for some actions that are incredibly generous and entirely benign. Within the past week or so they have announced a twenty-five million dollar gift to the United Negro College Fund. You know the UNCF, the organization whose slogan is that “a mind is a terrible thing to waste”. UNCF does some amazing things with students who aspire to succeed against pretty dramatic odds. I suspect that the Koch donation will put some mighty big wings on those students’ dreams. Three cheers.

Regular viewers of NOVA, the renowned PBS program are aware that the program has received magnificent support from David Koch for quite some time. It’s a great program and I suspect that PBS is deeply appreciative of Mr. Koch’s continuing generosity. Three more cheers.

Locally, the David Koch Institute for Cancer Research at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts has been the beneficiary of major grants from Koch family foundations for cutting-edge medical research as well as for an on-site day care center for the children of the young and brilliant scientists who work there. Three more cheers….

Ironically, here in America in the 21st century, the land of the free and the home of the brave, the Koch brothers are attacked mercilessly for their embrace of free markets. America’s strength of course comes from capitalism, which for whatever its faults and limitations, remains the best economic system in the history of the world. Those troublesome brothers believe in and exercise the First Amendment freedoms of speech and association. They participate in politics as alert and knowledgeable citizens. What’s not to like about them? John Adams would have loved them.

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Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

Notable Links Digest – June 3, 2014

Congress Abetted the IRS Targeting of Conservatives
http://online.wsj.com/articles/bradley-a-smith-and-david-keating
By Bradley A. Smith and David Keating
The Wall Street Journal

On Monday the Center for Competitive Politics filed a complaint with the Senate Select Committee on Ethics against nine U.S. senators: for interfering with IRS tax proceedings; for misusing official resources for campaign purposes; and for improper conduct that reflects poorly upon the Senate. Attempting to use the IRS to advance a partisan, electoral agenda is a fundamental assault on good government. We believe these elected officials have staged such an assault.

The complaint documents how the senators improperly interfered with IRS adjudications to further their party’s electoral prospects. They pressured the IRS to undertake income-tax investigations of specific organizations, to find that specific organizations were in violation of the law, to reach predetermined results pertaining to pending applications by individual organizations for nonprofit status, and to adopt specific regulatory interpretations and policies to further their campaign goals.

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Friday, May 16th, 2014

Notable Links Digest – May 16, 2014

From black to green: U.S. billionaire’s ‘Road to Damascus’

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/05/13/us-usa-steyer-coal-insight-idUSBREA4C06B20140513
By Richard Valdmanis, Fergus Jensen, and Sonali Paul
Reuters

Steyer, 56, stepped down as co-managing partner of Farallon in 2012 to devote himself to full-time activism because, as he later wrote, he “no longer felt comfortable being at a firm that was invested in every single sector of the global economy, including tar sands and oil.”

But he has provided few details of the extent of those fossil fuel investments or how he profited from them. He said in July 2013 that when he had left Farallon, which manages much of his estimated $1.6 billion wealth, he had instructed the fund to divest his holdings in fossil fuels. Neither he nor Farallon has said whether that process has been completed. Farallon declined to comment.

Censure Harry Reid For Neo-McCarthyite Vilification Of The Koch Brothers
http://finance.townhall.com/columnists/ralphbenko/2014/05/13/censure
By Ralph Benko
Town Hall

Leader Reid has cast himself as the point man in a campaign by the left to vilify Charles and David Koch. As recently inventoried by The Washington Free Beacon, and as noted by The Washington Post, Reid has vilified the Koch name, at last count, 134 times.

This is not a random act by Reid.

The new thought police hides behind ‘tolerance’
http://www.kansascity.com/2014/05/10/5013885/the-new-thought-police-hides-behind.html
By Jonah Goldberg
Tribune Content Agency

In Washington, Democrats increasingly resort to charges of racism or sexism whenever they hear ideas they don’t like. Democratic House leaders Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Steny Hoyer have dubbed critics of Obamacare “simply un-American.” Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid insists the libertarian Koch brothers are “un-American.” President Barack Obama himself has a knack for suggesting that he cares about America while his opponents don’t. He also likes to suggest the time for debate is over on the issues where he’s made up his mind.

Krauthammer’s Take: Harry Reid Makes Inaccurate ‘Pronouncements,’ Doesn’t Smile, And Hurts People
http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/377596/krauthammers
National Review Online

[Krauthammer] refuted just a few of Reid’s frequent claims: the Koch brothers are the richest people on earth – “not true.” The Koch brothers are the major cause of global warming – “semi-insane.”

Krauthammer said Reid’s wild statements are similar to Joe Biden’s, but noted that Biden is likable so his oddities are called ”Bidenisms” and he gets a pass, whereas Reid is mean and trying to hurt people.

Ellison’s Must Read of the Day
http://freebeacon.com/blog/ellisons-must-read-of-the-day-pelosi-reid-koch/
By Ellison Barber
Washington Free Beacon

If I lived in Vermont and saw that the Koch brothers were the focus of my senator—so much so that he felt the need to send me a letter about it, I’d be quite agitated.

Not long ago Republicans were routinely criticized for being the “party of no”—common wisdom, amongst political analysts, was that in the long term this perception was a hindrance for the party—it was better to be for something than against something. I thought then, and think now, that this is accurate and it’s not a notion that’s unique or confined to one party.

Reid And Pelosi Go To The Movies
http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2014/05/reid-and-pelosi-go-to-the-movies.php
By John Hunderaker
Powerline

Just when you think the Democrats’ Koch addiction can’t get any crazier, they surprise you. As it happens, we know all about “Koch Brothers Exposed,” which Robert Greenwald released in segments in 2011 and then combined into a single internet video. Greenwald is a failed Hollywood director whose most famous film, “Xanadu,” was one of the biggest flops ever. He is now reduced to making far-left propaganda videos, financed by a secret group of rich leftists.

 

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Friday, May 2nd, 2014

Notable Links Digest – May 2, 2014

Koch Responds to Debate Invitation 
http://www.kansas.com/2014/05/02/3435699/koch-brothers-decline-personal.html
By Roy Wenzl
The Wichita Eagle

A group supporting the political views of retired billionaire investor Tom Steyer bought a full page color advertisement Friday in The Wichita Eagle — the Koch brothers’ hometown newspaper — inviting the brothers to a public debate on climate change.

The brothers, Charles and David, don’t plan to take him up on it.

“We are not experts on climate change,” wrote Koch Corporate spokeswoman Melissa Cohlmia, in an email Friday afternoon. “We do believe there should be free and open debate on the climate issue and it should be based on sound science and intellectual honesty.

“The debate should take place among the scientific community, examining all points of view and void of politics, personal attacks and partisan agendas.”

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Thursday, May 1st, 2014

Statement from Koch Industries Regarding Accusations of Lobbying for Surtax on Renewable Energy

Recently, the Los Angeles Times, MSNBC, the New York Times and the Environmental Defense Fund all have accused Koch of being in favor of, and lobbying for, the imposition of a surtax on renewable energy—in particular solar power in several states.   These reports are false.  Koch has not advocated nor lobbied on behalf of any legislation that would impose yet another tax or burden upon consumers, ratepayers or other users of electric power, regardless of the source of energy. Indeed, “PunditFact” rated Rachel Maddow’s claims as “mostly false”.

Koch has consistently opposed subsidies and government mandates, and consistently advocated for reducing taxes for all.

Koch believes that all forms of energy—whether oil, gas, wind, solar or biofuels—should be allowed to succeed or fail on their own in the free market, without the assistance (or hindrance) of government subsidies or mandates.

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Thursday, May 1st, 2014

Notable Links Digest – May 1, 2014

Dark Money Dilemma
http://freebeacon.com/politics/dark-money-dilemma/
By Daniel Wiser
Washington Free Beacon

Ravel was later forced to admit that the Koch brothers were not involved in the ballot initiatives. “The Koch brothers have never been implicated themselves as having been direct donors,” she said.

When asked about the case after the hearing, Ravel denied being forced to “walk [her previous comments] back.”

Liberal billionaire Tom Steyer refuses to disclose donors, then claims to be more transparent than the Kochs
http://washingtonexaminer.com/liberal-billionaire-tom-steyer
By Joel Gehrke
Washington Examiner

Liberal billionaire Tom Steyer, who founded a super PAC devoted to advancing climate change policies in the United States, refused to disclose his donors moments before claiming to be more transparent than libertarian billionaires Charles and David Koch.

“I definitely can’t give you the names of people unless they release it, which we haven’t,” Steyer, founder of NextGen Climate Action, said on CSPAN’s “Newsmakers” program. “We’ve gotten a handful of people to give pretty significant amounts of money. We have also gone out more broadly.”

Harry Reid and the Left’s Big Money Hypocrisy
http://pjmedia.com/tatler/2014/05/01/harry-reid-and-the-lefts-big-money-hypocrisy/
By Jerry Rogers
PJ Media

Yet, when asked to comment on the distinction between the Democracy Alliance donors and the Koch brothers, Reid’s office had nothing to say. To be fair, it is certain to have been an uncomfortable question since in all likelihood, Reid was among the attendees at the big money affair. It would deny credulity that a Democrat Senate Majority leader trying to hang onto that post would take a pass on the opportunity to hobnob with that many Democrats with so many digits in their bank accounts and a eager willingness to spend it.

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Friday, April 25th, 2014

Notable Links Digest – April 25, 2014

Tom Steyer’s Glass House
http://online.wsj.com/news/article
By Kimberly Strassel
Wall Street Journal

The psychiatric world defines “projection” as the act of denying unpleasant qualities in yourself, while attributing them to others. Consider liberal billionaire Tom Steyer’s riff this week about the libertarian billionaire Koch brothers.

Mr. Steyer took exception in a C-SPAN interview to comparisons between his big-dollar funding of Democrats with the Koch brothers’ big-dollar funding of Republicans. The Kochs’ priorities “line up perfectly with their pocketbooks—and that’s not true for us,” said Mr. Steyer, who is fighting against the Keystone XL pipeline. Moreover, he insisted, his politicking is “completely open,” whereas the Kochs have “not been huge embracers of transparency.”

Why is Mr. Steyer so touchy about motives and transparency? The media tend to give liberal spending a pass, since they assume its motives and aims are pure. Mr. Steyer’s problem—and he knows it—is that his own purity remains hugely suspect, even among his allies.

Those evil Koch brothers 5
http://nypost.com/2014/04/18/those-evil-koch-brothers-5/
Editorial
New York Post

Here’s our question: What’s the difference between the Koch brothers using their money to advance their political views and Bloomberg’s use of his money to advance his? Isn’t Bloomberg trying to “buy” the Congress he wants by funding his Everytown for Gun Safety initiative?

The truth is, there is no difference.

As the Supreme Court continues to remind us, it’s called free speech. And we fail to see why either the Koch brothers or Mike Bloomberg should be condemned for exercising their First Amendment rights.

The Non-Koch Good Billionaire
http://www.nationalreview.com/article/376138/non-koch-good-billionaire-tom-rogan
By Tom Rogan
National Review

This is liberal hypocrisy at its insufferable worst. In the “courage pledge” that Steyer sent out Thursday, he presents himself as a visionary who stands up for “children” (a weapon-word he uses three times), and he claims that the Koch brothers’ “only interest is seizing complete control of Congress.” In one short letter, we get sentimental demagoguery (“working families” vs. “powerful forces”) alongside a heaping dose of moral superiority. And Steyer extends his focus far beyond the issue of Keystone: He lambasts conservatives for rejecting minimum-wage hikes, Obamacare, and union empowerment. If there’s any irony in the fact that a retired billionaire wishes to restrain an energy revolution that would create many thousands of jobs, Steyer seems oblivious.

 

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Thursday, April 10th, 2014
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Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Notable Links Digest – April 10, 2014

[UPDATED]

Documenting Harry Reid’s Koch-fueled meltdown
http://redalertpolitics.com/2014/04/10/harry-reids-koch-brothers-meltdown/
By Melissa Quinn
Red Alert Politics

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has been in a Koch-fueled rage, seizing moments left and right (mostly from the left) to bash Charles and David Koch. But the senator’s preoccupation with the mega-donating business titans may have gotten him into some trouble, as one taxpayer-funded post to his website could have landed Reid in some ethically dirty water.

Harry Reid’s official website attack on Koch brothers may have violated Senate rules
http://washingtonexaminer.com/harry-reids-official-website-attack-on-koch-brothers-may-have-violated-senate-rules/article/2547023
By Richard Pollock
Washington Examiner

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid may have broken Senate ethics and Internet rules by using his official website to attack libertarian campaign donors Charles and David Koch, a possible violation of the chamber’s prohibition on “partisan” material on members’ publicly funded webpages.

The post, titled “The Facts About the Koch Brothers,” was moved from the Nevada Democrat’s homepage to a less prominent position on the site Wednesday following inquiries by the Washington Examiner.

Dem senator defends the Koch brothers
http://www.politico.com/story/2014/04/dem-senator-defends-the-koch-bros-105570.html
By Lucy McCalmont
Politico

Sen. Joe Manchin on Thursday strongly defended the Koch brothers from attacks by fellow Democrats, saying the wealthy and politically active businessmen are taxpaying Americans who are creating jobs.
“People want jobs. You don’t beat up people. I mean, I don’t agree with their politics or philosophically, but, you know, they’re Americans, they’re doing— paying their taxes,” Manchin said on Fox News’s “Fox & Friends.”

Koch Industries aide on Joe Manchin: ‘About time’
http://www.politico.com/story/2014/04/koch-industries-aide-joe-manchin-harry-reid-105574.html
By Lucy McCalmont
Politico

A spokesman for Koch Industries said “it’s about time” somebody spoke out against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s attacks on the Koch brothers, saying such jabs are expected on the trail, but the Senate floor should not be the venue.

“I get politics and I think the American public expects that in election years, when you’re out on campaign trail, politics will be invoked,” Steve Lombardo said in an interview, regarding the Democratic senator’s recent hits against the Koch brothers.

“But to be doing it on the floor of the United States Senate repeatedly? It’s about time somebody questioned that,” he said.

Harry Reid Probably Violated Senate Rules to Smear Kochs
http://freebeacon.com/blog/harry-reid-probably-violated-senate-rules-to-smear-kochs/
By Andrew Stiles
Free Beacon

Koch addiction can drive people to engage in all sorts of unseemly behavior. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.), for example, seems to have violated Senate ethics rules in his feverish quest to smear the Koch brothers.

Manchin to Reid: Lay off the Koch brothers
http://hotair.com/archives/2014/04/10/manchin-to-reid-lay-off-the-koch-brothers/
By Ed Morrissey
Hot Air

So far, Reid hasn’t taken Manchin’s advice. In fact, the Senate Majority Leader went on the Senate floor to announce that the upper chamber might be able to take its recess later today, and oh by the way did you know Koch money stinks?

National Journal’s Ron Fournier warns that Senate Democrats will pay a high price for Reid’s “lies” and demagoguery — and so will the media, if they don’t do a better job of pointing those out. “Shame on us” if that happens, says Fournier.

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Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

Hinderaker: The Washington Post Corrects, Disingenuously

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2014/04/the-washington-post-corrects-disingenuously.php
By John Hinderaker
Powerline Blog

Yet so lame was the Post’s original attempt to link Koch to the pipeline that the reporters dare not even mention any of the more significant points. Instead they avert their eyes from the real issue–Koch Industries has nothing to do with Keystone!–and admit that they were wrong about the least important fact in their entire story. That led to this grudging correction in today’s Post:

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this piece said Koch Industries was the largest lease holder in Canada’s oil sands. On a net acreage basis the company is the largest American and foreign holder of leases in the region, but it might narrowly trail two Canadian companies overall.

Substitute “does” for “might” and you have a true statement, but one that fails to address what the controversy is all about: the Post’s article was published for the sole purpose of suggesting that Koch is the main force behind the Keystone Pipeline, and that suggestion is 100% false. Far from being the driving force, Koch has no interest in the pipeline at all. An honest correction would admit that the March 20 article never should have been published.

Still unanswered is the question why it was published. Why did the Washington Post print an article on Keystone that was entirely false and that had no apparent news value, based, as it was, on a six-month-old report by a goofy left-wing organization that hardly anyone has heard of? Why was the Post’s story–published, as the authors acknowledge, for political reasons–almost immediately seized on by Congressional Democrats to justify an attack on Koch Industries? Did the Washington Post act in cooperation with Congressional Democrats? That is a very serious question, to which I do not know the answer. But the facts that we do know are damning.

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Friday, April 4th, 2014

Notable Links Digest – April 4, 2014

[UPDATED]

Democrats try to make the Koch brothers the new face of the GOP
http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/kathleen-parker-democrats-try-to-make-the-koch-brothers-the-new-face-of-the-gop/2014/04/04/3aab84da-bc28-11e3-96ae-f2c36d2b1245_story.html
By Kathleen Parker
The Washington Post

What’s next? A Senate committee investigating such un-American activities as advocating free-market principles or pursuing capitalist endeavors?

Of course, I’m kidding. That could never happen here, except it sort of already has. When Reid called the Kochs un-American, a powerful government official fired a shot across the bow of two private citizens who have acted within the law while contributing wealth to the economy through employment.

Yes, it was bad when right-wingers called Obama un-American, but Obama is the most powerful man in the world and the rabble is just that. Reid owes the Kochs — and the American people — an apology.

Charles Koch Fights Back
Not with character assassination, but an economic formula for liberty.
http://www.nationalreview.com/article/375108/charles-koch-fights-back-larry-kudlow
By Larry Kudlow
National Review

Charles Koch’s op-ed reveals a consistency of thought. He writes, “I have spent decades opposing cronyism and all political favors, including mandates, subsidies and protective tariffs — even when we benefit from them. I believe that cronyism is nothing more than welfare for the rich and powerful, and should be abolished.”

Koch concludes that the current batch of administration policies “destroys value, raises costs, hinders innovation and relegates millions of citizens to a life of poverty, dependency and hopelessness.”

This is strong stuff. And spot on.

So with the economy only crawling toward recovery, the solution is not character assassination or more government collectivism. Mr. Charles Koch has it exactly right: We need more liberty and freedom to restore American values and economic prosperity. Politicians and regulators can’t do it. Only hard-working and innovative people can.

So let’s let them do it.

Reid Attacks Koch for Offenses Committed by Reid Donors
Senate Dem leader received tens of thousands of dollars from companies that did business in Iran
http://freebeacon.com/politics/reid-attacks-koch-for-offenses-committed-by-reid-donors/
By Lachlan Markay
Free Beacon

A page on Reid’s Senate website is devoted entirely to attacking the Kochs. It initially cited former White House economist Austan Goolsbee, who falsely claimed in 2010 that Koch Industries does not pay any corporate taxes. .. That claim remains on the website, with its text crossed out. … According to the Washington Examiner, Reid has accepted more than half a million dollars in contributions since 2009 from employees and political action committees of companies under investigation for violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

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Friday, April 4th, 2014

Morning Joe on Harry Reid Attacks: “Embarrassing,” “lying,” “pure McCarthyism”

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: charles koch responded to the criticism in a recent “wall street journal” op ed where he described the attacks as character assassination. senator reid didn’t seem the least bit bothered.

SEN. HARRY REID: most people here familiar with the koch brothers, i’m had to make them a little more infamous or famous, and i’m glad i’ve done that. these two men are shadow billionaires spending millions of dollars to rig their political system. and who does it help? them. by every indication, our republican colleagues are falling all over themselves to help advance their self-described radical philosophy. all ready, we’ve had one senator run to the senate floor and read word-for-word the op-ed piece on the floor.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: it’s embarrassing. it really is embarrassing. jim vandehei — i mean, my opinion is, and i’ve said it clearly, that harry reid is — what he’s doing is beneath the dignity of the office he’s holding. he’s lying about these people. he’s calling them un-american, it’s mccarthyism. he’s lying about them. he’s putting lies on his website that the white house itself discredited four years ago. harry reid still has on his website today that the koch brothers may not pay corporate taxes. now, that was a lie debunked four years ago. and he is still pushing that lie today. and then you’ve got the steyer brothers who are giving, what, $100 million this next year, and when you guys went to one of the steyer brothers and compared them to the koch brothers, they said, well, we take that as a compliment, because, yes, we’re going to do the same thing. on the left. i mean, what –

JIM VANDEHEI: well, the question is, why?

JOE SCARBOROUGH: why do democrats think they can connect with middle america by engaging in mccarthy tactics, calling somebody un-american, lying — lying about them not paying inging corporate taxes, and i want to make this about harry reid. we remember he lied during the presidential campaign and said mitt romney hadn’t paid taxes in ten years. and i’m just — are there no democrats that are backing off of this man? in the united states senate? why?

JIM VANDEHEI: number — why is harry reid doing this? because he has every single political incentive to do it. the koch brothers are basically as big as a party, and he knows if he vilifies them, if he can do anything to discourage that type of activity, he could help his party. more importantly, it’s basically a siren. it’s, like, come on, guys, on the left, women on the left, you have to pony up that kind of money to go after the koch brothers. he’s trying to rally his party, because they’re worried about the election consequences of this. they know that the koch brothers are spending so much money in places like north carolina and some of these obscure races nobody is even paying attention to, it’s having an appreciable effect on the outcome of the races. they are extremely effective in what they’re doing.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: let me ask you about off the record. any democrats concerned about the quote have any democrats been “un-american” comments, which is, again, pure mccarthyism. we had chuck schumer on, and he did not want to embrace that term. but he ended — but off the record, are some of them concerned about this — these mccarthy –

JIM VANDEHEI: yeah, off the record, they do what they always do about harry reid, he takes it a notch too far, but they like him, because he’s sort of dirty harry. he’s the one who says in sharp terms what they all wish they could say, but they would never say in public. yes, they wish he wouldn’t cross that line and make it a distraction when you use terms like un-american. they wish to keep it more focused, but they love the idea he’s the within taking the lead, taking the fight to the koch brothers, because the koch brothers in north carolina alone are outspending everybody. they are the candidate. they are the campaign. and when they make a difference, of course harry reid will get onto the floor and lambaste them. i do think there is a huge danger, they’re making this whole campaign about one man, and, yes, they spend a lot of money. the one thing that’s true is he is orchestrating a large campaign of complex organizations to pump money through 10, 15 different places yes. to affect politics. guess what? it’s legal. also guess what? lots of groups on the left are doing it, they’re just doing it bigger and better than anybody on the left right now. a couple of years ago, the left was doing it substantially better which is why the koch brothers stepped in and are doing what conservatives could not happier that they are doing.

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