Remember when the Koch brothers tried to buy the economics department at FSU? Well, stand by because they're about to control the entire university.
John Thrasher — conservative state senator, former state Republican Party chairman, and current Rick Scott re-election campaign chair — is likely to be the next president of FSU. Sure, there’s an “open” search with numerous candidates, which the search committee quickly instituted after students and workers expressed outrage over Thrasher’s sudden emergence from an opaque process, run by a lot of his old friends, as an unopposed frontrunner.
In fact, this whole operation could represent a big win for the Koch Brothers. Bense heads the James Madison Institute, a conservative think-tank in Tallahassee bankrolled by Koch interests. JMI helped broker a deal a few years back to buy the Koch Brothers a couple of FSU professors — literally. The Kochs gave FSU $1.5 million to let them pick two economics professors who would sing the praises of their “free enterprise” philosophy to students. Today, Koch’s bagmen give nearly $300,000 a year to Florida State — their largest donation to all but one other university in the country.
The purchase of political influence at Florida State by monied conservatives has been ratcheting up for years. Students get job counseling at a career center named after disgraced CEO Al “Chainsaw” Dunlap — named one of America’s “Top 10 Worst Bosses” by Time magazine — and they register for classes at the Devoe Moore Center, named for a local Tea Party millionaire who also lends his name to another politically outspoken FSU “free-market” think tank.
And of course, there’s the “free enterprise distinguished lecture series,” bankrolled by the CEO of BB&T Bank, who not only gives one of the lectures himself, but funds an FSU program that requires enrollees to read his favorite book – “Atlas Shrugged,” Ayn Rand’s libertarian manifesto.
Imagine if these guys’ best friend in government became president of Florida State University. That’s what they’d get in John Thrasher.
What is it going to take to stop these guys from buying the whole damn nation?