After the Koch brothers secretly mobilized $100 million from fellow billionaires to unseat President Barack Obama last weekend, Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) wrote an op-ed in Politico today accusing the Obama administration of harassing the co-owners of Koch Industries and Pompeo’s greatest contributors. Calling Charles and David Koch “U.S. citizens, taxpayers, entrepreneurs and employers,” Pompeo claimed that the administration is taking a “Nixonian approach to politics”:
Liberal blogs and publications have published countless slanted pieces on Koch Industries, heavy on innuendo and light on facts. The Obama administration has long been criticized for maintaining a de facto “enemies list” of its perceived political opponents, whether they are respected Supreme Court justices, disfavored reporters or private citizens who just want to keep their own doctors. The Democrats’ obsession with the Kochs as a political target is, indeed, additional evidence of a truly Nixonian approach to politics. That the Obama administration and its allies use private citizens as symbols to be attacked and vilified is unfair and deeply threatening to our civic life and the rule of law.
In fact, the Koch brothers have made themselves very public figures. After Charles Koch founded the Cato Institute in 1977, David Koch ran for vice president on the Libertarian ticket he bankrolled in 1980. In person and through their latest front group, the astroturf organization Americans for Prosperity, the Kochs have “attacked and vilified” the Obama administration to a level that approaches “obsession”:
Charles Koch: Obama Is ‘Greatest Assault On American Freedom.’ In his letter inviting fellow conservative millionaires and billionaires to a secret Palm Springs retreat in January 2011, Charles Koch accused President Obama of “the greatest assault
on American freedom and prosperity in our lifetimes.” [ThinkProgress]
Charles Koch: Obama Is ‘Saddam Hussein.’ At another secret retreat in the fall of 2011, Charles Koch compared President Obama and the 2012 elections to Saddam Hussein and the Iraq War. “We have Saddam Hussein, this is the Mother of All Wars we’ve got in the next 18 months. For the life or death of this country.” [Mother Jones, 9/6/11]
David Koch: ‘Hardcore Socialist’ Obama Is ‘Scary To Me.’ “Obama’s a hardcore socialist,” David Koch told New York Magazine, “and he’s marvelous at pretending to be something other than that, but that is what I believe he truly is, a hardcore socialist. He’s scary to me.” [New York Magazine, 5/5/11]
‘Radical Global Warming Agenda.’ “President Obama is at again,” the Americans for Prosperity Regulation Reality Tour warns, with a “radical global warming agenda” by “unelected bureaucrats regulating our life,” “ignoring the entire democratic process all together.” Supposed threats of “EPA’s power grab” include “Grass Mileage Standards,” “Government Control of your Thermostat,” “Churches would need EPA Permits,” and The tour features “EPA Carbon Cops” who want to punish you if you “opened your refrigerator” or “drove a car.” [RegulationReality.com]
‘We Might As Well Forget Freedom.’ The Americans for Prosperity Hot Air Tour says that “far left environmentalists” are “radicals” with a “radical Global Warming ideology that claims people are the problem” who “want GOVERNMENT to force us to drive less and live in smaller homes while killing jobs that help grow our economy” and “want GOVERNMENT dictating our lives.” [HotAirTour.org]
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Koch Industries is Pompeo’s largest campaign contributor, having contributed $107,500 to his campaign from both individuals and its PAC, nearly three times more than any other single entity.
The brothers’ combined net worth is about $50 billion, making them the fourth richest Americans individually; combined, they are richer than any American except for Bill Gates. Last weekend, the “private citizens” pledged $60 million of that wealth to defeat President Obama at their semi-annual retreat of right-wing millionaires and billionaires.
— Zach Bernstein