The Kochs and Congress as Citizens United marks three years

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New rights for private money let two carbon billionaires buy blocking power
Now under his hand due to Citizens United, Americans for Prosperity’s (AFP) President, Tim Phillips, called off Koch-funded Congressmen from the debt ceiling debate
As America marks the three-year anniversary of the US Supreme Court’s decision on Citizens United, a front page article in yesterday’s Financial Times revealed the full impact of Charles and David Kochs’ influence over American democracy.  The Kochs’ “hardliner” activist group, Americans’ for Prosperity (AFP), is now “urging Republicans to show restraint during debt ceiling negotiations,” signaling that Koch-funded elected officials will no longer block a deal to increase the debt.
By allowing an agreement that thereby avoids a crash of the US economy, the Kochs’ stark display of blocking power in the US Congress is a stunning statement on the role of private money in policymaking today.  Such control of Congress was not possible three years ago, but Citizens United changed that.
Supreme Court Justices Scalia and Thomas embody the legal expression of the Kochs’ “economic freedom” agenda.
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IFG’s original concerns about the Kochs came from our work to prevent a global climate catastrophe, but now we see that their undue influence cuts across the entire American political landscape. Never before in American history have so few individuals exerted so much influence over so many Members of Congress, especially two billionaire ideologues bent on advancing an extremist agenda they call “economic freedom.”
Koch cash—super-powered by the Citizens United decision—has basically bought the Kochs the rights to make the rules. Or at least to block any rules they don’t like.  We wonder if they will be so flexible when it comes to regulating carbon, the very basis of Kochs’ combined networth ($80.2B), which now exceeds that of the world’s wealthiest man, Carlos Slim ($71.8B).
David Koch, AFP Board Chair, praised AFP field organizers for their state-by-state turn out of Tea Party activists.
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While we intensify our work to protect the climate, and to expand sustainable economic frameworks worldwide, IFG is also joining broader efforts to deepen American democracy, such as the new Democracy Initiative and also this weekend’s national day of action on Citizens United, with Money Out-Voters In.
As the single largest source of private money polluting democracy today, the Kochs are attracting attention from a growing group of activists who see solutions in dealing directly with their real sources of power.  That includes reducing the rights of private money in policymaking by a new constitutional amendment and publicly funded elections.
IFG’s efforts in 2013 to follow the flow of these funds are more urgent than ever, and any support you can send to continue our efforts will be very much welcomed.
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