by Pam Martens and Russ Martens, Wall St On Parade:
Since 2010 we have been investigating and reporting on activities of the billionaire Koch brothers’ political funding network to subvert democracy in the United States.
In 2011 we broke the news that Charles Koch had entertained sitting U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas at Koch’s private club in California. Thomas would later rule in favor of the Citizens United decision which opened the spigots to unlimited corporate money in U.S. political campaigns. In the same article we reported that while the Citizens United case was pending before the U.S. Supreme Court, Virginia Thomas, the wife of the Justice, created a nonprofit Tea Party advocacy group, Liberty Central, Inc., with a former lawyer for the Charles G. Koch Foundation, Sarah Field, acting as her General Counsel and a former Koch lobbyist, Matt Schlapp, serving on her board at inception. The nonprofit received over $500,000 from anonymous sources in a short period of time.
In 2010 we broke the news that a nonprofit with Koch footprints all over it had secretly funded a $17 million campaign to keep fear of Muslims alive in the weeks prior to the 2008 presidential election by pumping out 28 million DVDs of a race-baiting movie that was distributed through more than 100 newspapers and a direct mail campaign to swing-voter states.
As our “Related Articles” listed below indicate, we have been a thorn in the side of the Koch network for the past eight years. During the presidential campaign of 2016 we started to receive loud, threatening, pounding knocks on our front door, despite the fact that we had a doorbell. There was a very prominent sign at the entrance to our community making it clear that solicitations were not allowed, thus, we didn’t answer the door. When we would later leave the house, we would find a brochure from Americans for Prosperity stuck in the side of the door. (See our report The Koch Empire and Americans for Prosperity to understand the insidious relationship or watch this video to see David Koch stand at the podium of an Americans for Prosperity convention.)
An article today at Bloomberg/BusinessWeek reminded us of those threatening knocks on our door. Reporter John McCormick writes that Americans for Prosperity team members are using “the i360 voter database the Koch network built” which allows them to tap on their smartphone and “pull up a detailed map of each neighborhood, showing addresses, names, and ages of voters.” The group is using that sophisticated technology in a door-to-door campaign to turn out Republican voters in the midterms.
While cable news has been reporting 24/7 on the Special Counsel probe into Russia’s attempts to subvert democracy in the U.S., reporting on massive infiltration into the Trump administration by Koch-related individuals has been left to more courageous voices.
In November of last year, the nonprofit watchdog group, Public Citizen, issued a detailed report which found that 44 Trump administration officials have close ties to the Koch brothers. One Koch-related name that repeatedly turned up on the list was Freedom Partners (a/k/a Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce). In 2013, Politico described Freedom Partners as the Koch brothers “secret bank.”