That Time When Koch Brother’s Dark Money Skewed California and Arizona Politics
Recently, the extent of the Koch Brothers political influence was further revealed to include an “anti-solar blitz” in Arizona and two energy based ballot measures in California.
Writing about the Arizona debacle, Mother Jones’ reporter, Andy Kroll reported that:
“In recent months, sunny Arizona has been the scene of a shady dark money-fueled battle pitting Arizona’s largest electricity utility against the burgeoning solar power industry. Over the weekend, the fight took an interesting turn: The utility, the Arizona Public Service Company (APS), outed itself as a funder of two secretive nonprofits fueling the anti-solar fight—and revealed that it had funneled its anti-solar money through a political operative associated with the Koch brothers and their donor network.
“The 60 Plus Association, a Virginia-based nonprofit, has received money from the Koch brothers’ donor network. The other nonprofit fighting net metering is Prosper, which was started by former Arizona State House Speaker Kirk Adams. Although the ads run by 60 Plus and Prosper championed the cause of APS, the utility denied that it was funding the groups’ anti-solar ads, saying it was a coincidence the groups had joined the net metering fight.”
In California the investigation into the source of $11 million that was funneled into two ballet measures revealed a lot of Koch cash. Huffington Post’s Peter Stone reports:
“The latest round of subpoenas represents a major development in the investigation and comes on top of several subpoenas previously sent to the California PAC that spent the $11 million and three nonprofit groups that are not required to reveal their donors, including one with ties to the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch.”
“In a further twist, AJS had channeled the funds to a group called the Center to Protect Patient Rights, which is run by Sean Noble, a well-known Koch operative. The center then handed the $11 million over to Americans for Responsible Leadership. (Despite their under-the-radar spending drive, the groups failed to block the ballot measure hiking taxes, or to pass the one curbing union spending.)”
Peter Stone recently reported further information about the Arizona debacle:
“Noble’s entree to the Kochs’ fundraising kingdom came via Randy Kendrick, a conservative philanthropist and a regular attendee at the Kochs’ confabs. Kendrick, a fellow Arizonan, proved to be instrumental in building and financing Noble’s outfit. She helped introduce Noble to the Koch donor world and has kicked in previously unreported seven-figure checks to the center, multiple GOP consultants familiar with the group told The Huffington Post.
The center’s growth has been staggering. Kendrick’s largess is part of an estimated $200 million that’s flowed to Noble’s group since 2009. By 2010, ahead of that year’s midterm congressional elections, Noble’s center had evolved into a giant conduit through which donors secretly funneled over $55 million to some 20 other conservative groups, which, in turn, ran ads to help Republicans and attack Obamacare.”
“The center’s clout grew even more in advance of last year’s presidential election. The largest chunk of the center’s funding to date has come from one group, Freedom Partners, another Koch-linked money machine to promote small-government ideas, which contributed $115 million to the center in the year prior to the 2012 elections, according to Internal Revenue Service records.”
These new reports continue to shed more light on the large influence of the Kochs in national and state elections.
Our new report, Billionaires’ Carbon Bomb: The Koch Brothers and the Keystone XL Pipeline, highlights how much money they could possibly pull in should the pipeline be built. They would undoubtedly spend that money and large amounts of their profits to keep influencing elections at all levels of our democracy.