Rachel Maddow not only rebuts the claim the Koch brothers had nothing to do with drug testing in Florida -- an allegation they demanded she retract on the air -- but also reminds them that they have the right to spend as much as they want on politics and she has the right to report it.
Since I spend a lot of time tracking their never-ending labyrinth of nonprofits, trade associations, service connectors and corporations linking them all together, I applaud her doggedness at trying to untangle enough of it on the air for viewers to understand just how vast the right wing conspiracy actually is.
Rachel's retort was sparked by Politico's in-awe article of the upcoming annual meeting of billionaires and donors in Palm Springs:
The shift is best illustrated in the expansion of three pieces of the Koch political network expected to be showcased or represented at the three-day meeting in Palm Springs, whose evolving roles were described to POLITICO by several sources.
Center for Shared Services: a nonprofit recruiter and administrative support team for other Koch-backed groups, which provides assistance with everything from scouting office space to accounting to furniture and security.
- Freedom Partners: a nonprofit hub that doled out $236 million in 2012 to an array of conservative nonprofits that is now expanding its own operation so that it can fulfill many of the functions of past grantees.
- Aegis Strategic: a political consulting firm started last year by Koch-allied operatives who will recruit, train and support candidates who espouse free-market philosophies like those beloved by the Kochs, and will also work with nonprofit groups in the Koch network, like Freedom Partners, with which it has a contract to provide policy analysis.
This is classic Koch behavior. Control is the name of the game. In their business dealings, they own their own hedge fund firm, their own accounting firm, and more. Their non-profits have been moving toward a more centralized structure where key organizations (usually disguised as LLCs or trade organizations) revolve around a funding hub, a services hub and a policy hub. It takes some work to link one to the next to the next with this structure, because it's rare to see direct funding.
Policy Network affiliates and ALEC almost always receive their donations via Donors' Trust, the Koch-controlled donor-advised fund. That places a layer of deniability between the source and the recipient. They like it like that.
Despite all the millions they poured into 2012, their success rate was dismal. Part of the reason was flawed candidates, but part of the reason was also flawed policy ideas. These billionaires reckon that if they just keep pushing and pushing and pushing the same bad policy, we'll all throw our hands in the air and surrender.
Hardly. It's our country too, and we have a right to participate in it even if we're not invited to the Billionaire Boys Club meeting in Palm Springs. So you go right ahead, billionaires, and plot your takeover of the government. We'll be right behind you shining the light on it.