Globalization’s extreme concentration of financial wealth is enabling the political power of super-rich individuals to play an unprecedented role in driving policy decisions. Almost all democratic movements today see their proposals paralyzed by, if not already on the defensive against, money corrupting politics. With wealthy donors increasingly influential, by far the biggest force financing today’s attacks against progressive policies are Charles and David Koch.
The Kochs quintupled their combined net worth in recent years, from $10B in 2005 to $50B in 2011, and now have reached over the $100B mark. This number renders the Koch brothers the wealthiest people on the planet, surpassing even the infamous Microsoft magnate, Bill Gates. “Koch Cash” has since become the single biggest source of funding to fight collective bargaining, clean air, voters’ rights, and strong social safety nets, in almost all regulatory arenas. After radicalizing the House of Representatives via their Tea Party’s takeover of one third of available seats during elections in 2010, the Kochs led a $1B blitz in 2012 to replace the President, seat several more Tea Party activists in the Senate, and seize swing states to gerrymander permanent hardliners. And now with both the Citizens United and McCutcheon Supreme Court decisions, the floodgates have been opened for “Koch Cash” and other monied anti-democratic forces.
What is more, the Kochs’ ideological focus on “shrinking government” has become the GOP’s main message, while their “economic freedom” narrative has resonated with many free-market conservatives. In order to counter the network of Koch funded organizations - a complex machine we call the Kochtopus - we engage in constant rigorous research and reach out to leading progressive organizations to bring citizens critical information about the Koch’s spending, agenda, interests, and victims.