The Kochs are a couple of daddy's boys who have been thoroughly molded to follow in the paranoid Bircher footsteps of their late father Fred, and focus on using their wealth to spread the extremist ideology of dear dead Dad. It's a shame they're so emotionally stunted -- imagine the good they might have done with all that money if they were their own men. Most intelligent people eventually figure out that few things are as black and white as extremists like Fred Koch would have us believe.
Anyway, I'll bet Karoli's on their little list, because she's done so much work digging into the Kochtopus connections. And this is only one of the reasons why I think it's crazy to talk about going up against these powerful special interests without superPACs:
The political network helmed by Charles and David Koch has quietly built a secretive operation that conducts surveillance and intelligence gathering on its liberal opponents, viewing it as a key strategic tool in its efforts to reshape American public life.
The operation, which is little-known even within the Koch network, gathers what Koch insiders refer to as “competitive intelligence” that is used to try to thwart liberal groups and activists, and to identify potential threats to the expansive network.
The competitive intelligence team has a staff of 25, including one former CIA analyst, and operates from one of the non-descript Koch network offices clustered near the Courthouse metro stop in suburban Arlington, Va. It has provided network officials with documents detailing confidential voter-mobilization plans by major Democrat-aligned groups. It also sends regular “intelligence briefing” emails tracking the canvassing, phone-banking and voter-registration efforts of labor unions, environmental groups and their allies, according to documents reviewed by POLITICO and interviews with a half-dozen sources with knowledge of the group.
The competitive intelligence team has gathered on-the-ground intelligence from liberal groups’ canvassing events in an effort to assess the technology and techniques of field efforts to boost Democrats, according to the sources. And they say the team utilizes high-tech tactics to track the movements of liberal organizers, including culling geo-data embedded in their social media posts.
Such stealth activities are the kind that campaigns and party operatives often fantasize about but mostly shy away from ― both because of cost and potential political backlash if exposed.
Marc Short, president of Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, the network’s central group, declined to discuss its efforts to track the left, generally, or to comment on the competitive intelligence team, which operates as a unit within his group. But he did not dispute that the effort is a focus for the Koch network as it tries to rebound from the disappointment of the 2012 elections and gears up to spend a jaw-dropping $889 million on policy and political battles headed into November 2016.
“We were caught off guard by what the left was doing in 2012, and we'd be foolish to be caught in that position again,” he told POLITICO.
The increasingly robust Koch network has seized on significant tactical advantages afforded to big-money independent organizations ― but not party committees ― in modern politics. Unlike party committees, which are mostly subject to five-figure donation limits, donor disclosure and all manner of campaign finance laws and party rules, the Koch network of non-profit groups and for-profit companies can accept unlimited cash without disclosing donors and faces few spending restrictions.
The competitive intelligence effort, reported here for the first time, also hints at the audaciousness of the Koch network’s mission. While the Republican Party focuses on winning elections, the Kochs want to realign American politics, government and society around free enterprise philosophies that they hope to spread more broadly.