November 23, 2015

Charles Koch's public relations tour isn't just about rehabilitating the family name. He's out there pretending he gives a damn about the little guy while selling policies that screw that same guy.

This video was a Sunday interview with Maria Bartiromo, where Koch pretended he's just cares so much about all of the little people and their Social Security and Medicare benefits. It's a snake oil sales pitch, and his minions tried to double down on it in the New York Times op-ed section today. The Times initially neglected to note that the authors were officials of Freedom Partners, the funding vehicle through which the Kochs fuel their machine, though they do have a footnote there now.

As Salon reports, all that noise about the criminal justice system has very little to do with justice for all and everything to do with justice for billionaires.

As the GOP-controlled Congress drafts a major criminal justice reform package to unshackle millions of poor and people of color from a predatory legal system, House Republicans are ensuring that corporate America also will get what it wants: tougher legal hurdles for prosecutors to go after white-collar crimes.

An early draft of one bill in the House Judiciary Committee’s package of reforms would raise the legal threshold needed to prove a person committed a white-collar offense. In most instances today, a person cannot claim he didn’t know what he was doing was illegal. But the House’s proposal would require government to “prove that the defendant knew, or had reason to believe, the conduct was unlawful.”

“The House language violates the basic precept that ‘ignorance of the law is no defense,’” Robert Weissman, the president of Public Citizen, told the Huffington Post. “There is absolutely no reason for the otherwise laudable criminal justice reform bill to contain any measure to weaken already feeble standards for corporate criminal prosecution.”

With Donald Trump out there doing his impression of Adolf Hitler, Koch is in a position to paint himself as the compassionate billionaire who just really, really cares about everyone. But let's not forget that Trump's campaign manager is a former Americans for Prosperity official, and most of his campaign staff also emerged from AFP's ranks. Americans for Prosperity is the outreach arm of the Kochtopus, receiving well over $20 million from the Koch coffers last year.

Don't be fooled by the kindly old man act. Charles Koch is one of the most destructive actors in our politics, and he has been for quite some time. Joe Scarborough may be in love with him, but clear-eyed people know better.

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