I could fill up an entire hard drive with evidence of Charles Koch's political influence, much less one blog post. But to him, it's not really influence because he's not getting everything he wants as fast as he wants it.
Never mind that Kansas now runs on the Law According to Koch. Never mind that he owns half the Senate and well over half of the United States House of Representatives. Never mind all that, because it's just not happening fast enough.
Anti-government activists and petrochemical billionaires Charles and David Koch and their network of political organizations spent an estimated $300 million to push conservative candidates and causes in 2014 — and plan to spend almost $900 million to do the same thing in the 2016 cycle. But in an interview published Tuesday, Charles Koch dismissed claims that he has much political power as “ludicrous,” asking, “if I had all this power, why aren’t [the many things I would change] getting changed?”
His statement suggests that he lacks political power — but he and his brother have built and bankrolled a network of political organizations that rival the size of any political party.
The elder Koch made the argument in an exclusive interview with Washington Post national reporter Matea Gold, one of a small number of journalists invited to cover select portions of the brothers’ Freedom Partners conference for wealthy conservative donors and Republican presidential hopefuls this past weekend at the St. Regis Monarch Beach luxury resort in California.
Asked what he says to those “who believe you have too much influence,” Charles Koch told Gold, “wow, believe me, if I had too much, a lot of things would change. Just like the very things we’ve been talking about — this trend toward a two-tiered society and the trajectory we’re on that’s taking us there and criminal justice.”
But while Koch is correct that he does not personally control the entire government apparatus, he significantly understates his relative influence in the political system. In the 2012 elections — themost expensive in the nation’s history — the Democratic National Committee (about $319 million) and the Republican National Committee (about $404 million) combined to spend less than the Koch network’s promised 2016 budget. President Obama’s entire re-election campaign spent less than $684 million.
It's disingenous of him to downplay the rather significant change he's wrought in states like Kansas and Wisconsin, where the middle class is dwindling to nothing in the span of a few years. The damage he's done to progress concerning climate change is downright evil, and the corruption he's wrought on the government is immeasurable. And still, it's not enough for him.
Don't be fooled by his whole criminal justice push either. That stems from his own brushes with the law and the realization that he can leverage that issue with minorities while whitewashing his evil ways politically. After all, he can lay claim to "bipartisanship" with regard to that one single issue, despite the fact that he's planning the smackdown on everyone who isn't a billionaire in every other arena.
I am so disgusted with the fluff pieces that have come out this week following that conference last weekend. If getting press access was about whitewashing the Kochs' destructive influence on this country, they succeeded. If only our 4th estate behaved like one when it comes to billionaires, eh?