October 20, 2015

James Carville went on a tear on Andrea Mitchell's show Tuesday, slamming Trey Gowdy and the media for kowtowing to the Koch Brothers.

"Why don't you see if this is true, that Trey Gowdy is a creation of the Koch Brothers and the whole climate denial industry," Carville snarled.

He went on to bring Rupert Murdoch into the mix. "And this committee was nothing but a creation of Rupert Murdoch and the Koch Brothers. You know Fox ran over 1,000 segments in 20 months after this thing."

And then he basically called Gowdy a bought-and-paid-for Kochhead, saying "[Gowdy] got into Congress because the Koch Brothers put him there."

Finally, he challenged the media to factcheck him on his claim.

He's partly right and partly wrong. I've written extensively about the ultra-conservative Groundswell group which involves some people who aren't directly related to the Koch Brothers. There are some indirect relationships, but they were -- and I suspect still are -- the primary drivers behind getting a select committee with the intent to go after Hillary Clinton.

A review of Open Secrets data for Gowdy's war chest definitely shows that the Kochs were donors, but the "Every Republican is Crucial" PAC was also a large donor. That PAC was funded by the usual Republican power donors: Adelson, Goldman Sachs, Wall Street, and Altria Group.

Trey Gowdy's reason for challenging Bob Inglis does center on climate denial. Inglis didn't go hard enough right for the oil billionaires, which include the Kochs but aren't limited to them. Gowdy was put up as a challenger to Inglis and he won.

I think it's easy to make the Kochs the boogeymen for everything, just as Richard Mellon Scaife was the primary villain during the Clinton administration. They certainly deserve a lot of the credit for the destruction of our democracy, but there are many, many more who stand behind them. They're just as willing to pony up a few bucks from their billions in order to protect their interests. It's what oligarchs do.

Carville is correct in his assessment that this committee is about doing maximum damage to Hillary Clinton. It always has been, just as the radical activists in the Groundswell group planned. They cautioned one another not to appear to be attacking her because in 2013, that would have appeared impolitic. But they were also not shy about claiming they were fighting a "30-front war" that involved everything from voter ID to defeating immigration reform to fomenting veterans' discontent to taking a bite out of Clinton's hide every chance they got.

Let's give credit where it's due. It was partly the Kochs, and it was likely each and every one of those 158 families who are willing to buy our democracy to cement their oligarchy.

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