By Alexander Hertel-Fernandez and Theda Skocpol, Bill Moyers & Company, March 10, 2016
Democratic reformers need to know exactly what they are up against — now and likely for years to come.
Not long ago, many Americans, including Washington, DC, insiders, had never heard of Charles and David Koch — now known as “the Koch brothers” — and were not aware of their vast political operation. That changed after a slew of investigative reports started to appear in 2010 — most famously Jane Mayer’s “Covert Operations” in The New Yorker that June, one of several pieces that have led to her recent book, Dark Money.
One after another, meaty reports from journalists and public interest groups revealed how the two multibillionaire brothers, industrialists Charles and David Koch, were conducting an all-out offensive against President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats, deploying huge sums of secret money to block Obama initiatives like cap and trade and health reform and setting the stage for electing Republicans in 2010 and 2012. The Kochs were convening twice-yearly conclaves of super-wealthy conservative donors to fund a web of efforts aimed at winning what Charles Koch dubbed “the mother of all wars” against liberalism and its latest champion, President Obama.
Since 2010, Democrats have tried to demonize the humongous political spending orchestrated by Charles and David Koch, even as journalists and some scholars have learned a lot more about their network. By now, the politically active Koch brothers are highly visible, no longer obscure actors in US politics. Charles sits for media interviews and pens op-eds, and journalists and bloggers regularly report on the latest Koch fundraising goals and election maneuvers after attending parts of the network’s meetings.
But even as much more information flows, myths about the Koch network persist. …
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