Everything You Need to Know About the Koch Brothers
Get the Facts on the Koch Brothers and public programs like ObamaCare. The Koch Brothers lead the anti-ObamaCare message and champion free-market and a Conservative Libertarian ideology. The Kochs own the second largest privately owned company in the United States, Koch Industries.
Koch Brother Politics Facts
The Koch Brothers are well known for their support of conservative, libertarian and free-market groups and individuals. The Kochs have helped to fund the Cato Institute, Heritage Foundation, FreedomWorks, and Americans for Prosperity which are some of the most active groups in supporting tea party politics and anti-ObamaCare messages.
Aside from healthcare reform, the Kochs and related groups have spent tens of millions of dollars fighting against environmental regulation, unions, social services, “entitlement programs”, subsidies offered to large corporations (including ethanol subsidies) and just about every other cause that is funded from tax dollars.
Their basic philosophy can be broken down into a strong support for free-market and a reduction in “Big Government”. Their belief, and that of many libertarians, is that the free-market works better without Government intervention and that an emphasis should be placed on individual responsibility
Fun Koch Fact: The Koch backed Heritage foundation first purposed the “individual mandate” that requires all Americans to obtain insurance included in the Affordable Care Act. Why you may ask? It was a alternative to a single payer system at it focused on “individual responsibility” rather than collective responsibility. The ACA instead opts for a more all-for-one “shared responsibility provision” that includes individual, employer, taxpayer, and Government responsibility to fund healthcare.
It should be pointed out that “the Kochs” get a bad reputation, and although it is well deserved on many accounts, to call the Koch brothers “bad” would be a lot like calling ObamaCare “bad”. In other words it would be a simple and woefully inaccurate take on a complex issue.
Libertarian Philosophy Vs. Koch Philosophy
While many Libertarian ideals are well supported by by the left and right, the complete hard-line disregard for the social safety net and environmental regulations tend to draw a lot of criticism. Criticism of Libertarian ideals points out that a purely Libertarian society is no where to be found in history, indicating the idea of a purely Libertarian society may not work so well in practice.
While many would support decreased excessive Government spending, ending the war on drugs, addressing issues associated with the Federal Reserve, reform to military spending, and other Libertarian principals the Kochs support; most Americans would agree that the true answer for our country is to continue to build a uniquely American system of Government which supports the people based on ideas from all political parities, working swiftly to overcome divisive issues, get a handle on our growing debt, and to ensure prosperity and freedom for our citizens.
Although the Kochs tend to help jump-start groups that support Libertarian ideas, many groups they help support, like the Tea Party, champion far right-wing ideas that don’t align with traditional Libertarian viewpoints. The Koch brothers and even some of the most well respected Libertarians like Ron Paul are strongly against abortion, which ironically stands in complete opposition to personal choice when it comes to abortion which traditional Libertarians support. This has led to a lot of confusion as the lines between the far-right, traditional Conservatives, and traditional Libertarians blurs.
Given this information it should be noted that while the Kochs truly support Conservative Libertarianism, not traditional Libertarianism.
Philosopher Ayn Rand argued that the notion of a fetus having a right to life is “vicious nonsense” and stated, “An embryo has no rights… a child cannot acquire any rights until it is born.”
Watch Koch Brothers Exposed
While the following documentary paints a pretty clear picture of who the Koch Brothers are. It’s important to note that Koch Brothers Exposed focuses on the darker side of the implications of the Koch Brothers and their political philosophies.
Above is the old version of Koch Brothers Exposed. Check out the updated 2014 version of Koch Brothers Exposed here.
Koch Brothers History
Here is some information on the Koch Brothers Everyone should know:
“Charles G. Koch and David H. Koch are the sons of the late Fred C. Koch. Their father founded the second-largest privately held company in the United States, Koch Industries. After having bought out two other brothers’ interests, these two brothers remain in control of the family business and fortune left to them by their father. They also control the Koch Family Foundations.
The Koch brothers contribute a large amount of money to conservative, libertarian, and free-market individuals and organizations. They have given more than $196 million to dozens of free-market and advocacy organizations. Tax records indicate that, in 2008, the three main Koch family foundations contributed to 34 political and policy organizations, three of which they founded, and several of which they direct.”
The Koch Brothers are some of, if not the, richest men in America. “They provided the initial funding for the Cato Institute, they are key donors to the Federalist Society, and they also support, or are members of, the Mercatus Center, the Institute for Humane Studies, the Institute for Justice, the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution, the Institute for Energy Research, the Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment, Heritage Foundation, the Manhattan Institute, the George C. Marshall Institute, the Reason Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute, American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), and the Fraser Institute.”
Koch Brothers and ALEC Facts: Watch “The United States of ALEC” Online
One of the most powerful forces in the US, ALEC, is a Koch Brothers backed group that drafts state level legislation. Take a look at how the Koch Brothers are helping to support the corruption of our democracy… Watch this and you’ll understand why they don’t like PBS. Watch “The United States of ALEC” online.
Koch Brothers and The Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare)
While the Koch Brothers themselves have expressed that they do not support the law and have personally funded anti-ObamaCare groups, that in and of itself isn’t the issue. The real issue is the disinformation put out by the groups they fund. Going through a list of every claim they have made, or groups they back have made would take away a lot of time from our main goal (which is presenting the facts on the Affordable Care Act). For now let’s just take a look at two ad campaigns. Here are two examples of ads that use blatant propaganda that has little or no bearing on facts:
The Creepy ObamaCare Ad
This Koch brothers backed ad is by Generation Opportunity, a non-profit group, this ad suggests you opt-out of ObamaCare. What they are really saying is young people should not shop on the health insurance exchange (marketplace) because there are better options.
Unfortunately for them the reality of the situation is that somewhere around 80% of young people’s incomes qualify them for subsidized health insurance on the exchange, over half of Americans get their insurance through work, and the marketplace offers low cost catastrophic plans. We should also mention that because of “ObamaCare” young adults can stay on their parents plan until they are 26…. Of course for the 3-ish percent of uninsured young people who will buy private insurance and won’t get subsidies, buying insurance through a broker or a provider or even paying the fee may be their best bet. Those 3-ish percent have to decide for themselves whether they want to support a system that helps to subsidize those who can’t afford health insurance or if they put their bottom line first. Get the Facts on ObamaCare and young people.
The ObamaCare Ad With a Woman Asking Irrelevant Questions
The Koch backed Americans for Prosperity for ad below is perhaps more offensive than the one above. The issue with this ad is that every point the woman eludes to is irrelevant to the discussion about the Affordable Care Act.
She starts by mentioning her son has a pre-existing condition. As you may know by now ObamaCare includes provisions which makes it illegal to deny coverage or treatment for those with pre-existing conditions and makes it illegal to charge more based on health status. In a world without the Affordable Care Act her son wouldn’t have this protection, yet she is framing the situation as if the ACA will pose him problems. She says, “if we can’t pick our own doctor how do I know my family is going to get the care they need”. The ACA actually gives you more choices when it comes to what doctor you can see. You still are though, and have always, been limited by your plans network. Since this woman can keep her old plan, her choice of doctors will be unaffected (if you like your plan you can keep it under the ACA, however insurers, aka the free market, decided to pull plans anyway). Then she asks what she is getting for her paycheck, the answer to that is answered everywhere on this site, but boils down to unprecedented new benefits, rights and protections of the Affordable Care Act.
The Koch Brothers ObamaCare ad video:
A a doctor filmed this response:
Koch Brothers Facts
Here are Some More Koch Brothers Facts and Resources to Help You Understand the Guys Who are Trying to Divide the Country, Take Power Away From the Federal Government and Destroy Public Programs All in the Name of Profit:
“American’s For Prosperity spent over $10 million during the 2012 campaign cycle on ads attacking ObamaCare and the candidates who supported it. They dropped over $5 million on just one anti-ObamaCare ad spot, falsely describing the health law as “one of the largest tax increases in history,” even though the Affordable Care Act actually represents a massive tax cut for the middle class.” – Kantar Media Group’s CMAG
• Koch Industries, which the brothers own, is one of the top ten polluters in the United States — which perhaps explains why the Kochs have given $60 million to climate denial groups between 1997 and 2010.
• The Kochs are the oil and gas industry’s biggest donors to the congressional committee with oversight of the hazardous Keystone XL oil pipeline. They and their employees gave more than $300,000 to members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee in 2010 alone.
• From 1998-2008, Koch-controlled foundations gave more than $196 million to organizations that favor polices that would financially enrich the two brothers. In addition, Koch Industries spent $50 million on lobbying and some $8 million in PAC contributions.
• The Koch fortune has its origins in engineering contracts with Joseph Stalin’s Soviet Union.
• The Kochs are suing to take over the Cato Institute, which has accused the Kochs of attempting to destroy the group’s identity as an independent, libertarian think and align it more closely with a partisan agenda.
• A Huffington Post source who was at a three-day retreat of conservative billionaires said the Koch brothers pledged to donate $60 million to defeat President Obama in 2012 and produce pledges of $40 million more from others at the retreat.
• Since 2000, the Kochs have collected almost $100 million in government contracts, mostly from the Department of Defense.
• Koch Industries has an annual production capacity of 2.2 billion pounds of the carcinogen formaldehyde. The company has worked to keep it from being classified as a carcinogen even though David Koch is a prostate cancer survivor.
• The Koch brothers’ combined fortune of roughly $50 billion is exceeded only by that of Bill Gates in the United States.
• The Senate Select Committee on Indian Affairs accused Koch Oil of scheming to steal $31 million of crude oil from Native Americans. Although the company claimed it was accidental, a former executive in this operation said Charles Koch had known about it and had responded to the overages by saying, “I want my fair share, and that’s all of it.”
• The Koch PAC is the largest oil and gas contributor — donating more than even ExxonMobil — spending over $1 million in each of the last two cycles. This cycle, it has spent almost $750,000. Koch Industries sends 90 percent of these contributions to Republicans.
• It’s the fourth-largest lobbyist in the oil and gas industry, spending$2,300,000 so far in 2012 and over $8 million in 2011.
• Koch Industries emits over 300 million tons of greenhouse gases a year, based on the assumption that Koch emits the same amount of greenhouse pollution per billion dollars in revenue as Exxon and Chevron.
• Flint Hills Resources, a Koch subsidiary, processes 300 million barrels of oil a year. This company is responsible for up to five percent of the U.S. 7-gigaton carbon footprint.
• Koch says itself that the company is on par with big banks and is among the world’s top five oil speculators.
• Koch is a major player in driving up gas prices through speculation, hurting American consumers. ThinkProgress reported that in 2008, Koch leased four supertankers to hold oil in the Gulf, leading to a gas price increase anywhere from 20 to 40 cents a gallon at the time.
• According to Inside Climate News, Koch industries “has touched virtually every aspect of the tar sands industry since the company established a toehold in Canada more than 50 years ago.” It is active in mining Canada’s tar sands and exporting to the U.S., and is active in Canadian politics, with half a million dollars in donations between 2007-2010.
• As reporters consider these factors, Koch has been widely reported as a Big Oil corporation by media outlets like Politico, Forbes, NPR, and Politifact.
• According to the CBO, ObamaCare would reduce federal deficits by $127 billion over the 2012–2021 period.
• When Republicans threatened to repeal health reform, the CBO determined that a repeal would increase the deficit by $147 billion.
• Just last month, the CBO found that the insurance coverage provisions of ObamaCare will actually cost $50 billion less that it had originally projected.
Charles Koch, one of the Big Oil barons who is dedicating at least $40 million of his own money—and helped collect $100 million in pledges—to defeat President Obama. Not only did the Koch family foundations contribute nearly $30 million to “set up” and sustain the Mercatus Center, Charles Koch is currently a member of its Board of Directors. The founder of the Mercatus Center, Richard Fink, actually headed the Koch Industries’ lobbying operation in Washington, D.C., and is currently the president of the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation.
Koch Brothers Resources
Want to learn more about the Koch Brothers. Aside from the other links on the page are some good resources:
Koch Brothers Versus Rick Scott: Rick Scott Stands up for Florida’s Health Insurance Exchange
This now old, but neat little story helps to illustrate the power the Kochs hold over the Republican party. While this page aims to focus on facts, this is part of a bigger issue of how our nations wealthiest are able to have (perhaps) unfairly large impacts on our political system.
Back when the State’s were deciding whether or not they would run an exchange (marketplace) Rick Scott surprisingly stood up and declared Florida would both embrace Medicaid expansion and run a state based marketplace. After some blow back, in part by the Americans for Prosperity, Florida has decided not to run an exchange or expand Medicaid.
Refusing to expand Medicaid meant hundreds of thousands of Florida’s working poor would go without healthcare, while not setting up a marketplace put a bigger burden on Federal tax payers.
The Koch Brothers backed group ‘Americans for Prosperity’ (AFP), a political advocacy group called “one of the most powerful conservative organizations in electoral politics”, has been on the attack against ObamaCare since it’s conception.
Since 2009 AFP have called ObamaCare, “a government takeover of the United States health care system.” Instead of targeting ObamaCare as a whole, AFP and other Koch Brothers backed groups, aim to take it down one piece at a time using big money and shady tactics. Here was one tactic that worked, we are still to find out what impact it will have:
TACTIC: Force states that accept Koch Brothers money to reject setting up a state run health insurance exchange or expand Medicaid.
REASONING: When the NFIB (who received $50,0000 of indirect Koch money via Free Enterprise America) took ObamaCare to the supreme court they won a giant victory, State’s can now opt-out of expanding Medicaid. If State’s choose to both opt-out of Medicaid Expansion (which many did) and opt-out of setting up exchanges (which many did) it will, in short, help to break the program. Going into detail on this would be too time consuming. Check out our Repeal ObamaCare page to get a better idea of how efforts to break the system work.
FACT: The exchanges are online marketplaces where low to middle income individuals and employers can shop for affordable quality health insurance. Insurance companies compete on the exchanges and drive down the cost of insurance premiums.
The following Governors Follow the Koch Brother’s Lead:
Mike Pence (IN), John Kasich (OH), Robert Bentley (AL), Bobby Jindal (LA), Sam Brownback (KS), Rick Perry (TX), Nikki Haley (SC), Nathan Deal (GA), Robert McDonnell (VA) and Jay Nixon (MO)
… Are toeing the line, regardless of the impact on their constituents.
So when Rick Scott of Florida stood up against the giants, AFP was meet with anger and disbelief,
“AFP IS EXTREMELY DISAPPOINTED IN LEADERS IN FLORIDA SUGGESTING THAT THE SUNSHINE STATE SHOULD CREATE A HEALTH INSURANCE EXCHANGE. AN EXCHANGE WILL INCREASE INSURANCE PREMIUMS ON CONSUMERS AND TAXES ON HARDWORKING FAMILIES. FLORIDA’S BEST INTENTIONS WILL BE MASKED BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT’S ONEROUS REQUIREMENTS.” – Americans for Prosperity
The Affordable Care Act isn’t the only public program on their agenda. The Koch Brothers and the groups they back like ALEC, AFP and the Heritage Foundation stand against Federal Government, Social Security, Unions, PBS, NPR, EPA, and most public programs that cost them money or get in there way.
The Koch Brothers backed groups like AFP have spent scary amounts of money to defeat ObamaCare and to place politicians in office who will pass their legislation and toe their line. Instead of leading to some sort of reform or better plan for healthcare it has simply led to a Government shutdown on October 1st, 2013. The shutdown hurt a lot of hard working Americans pointing toward obstructionism perhaps not being the best tactic for Government reform.
Koch Brothers in Their Own Words
The Kochs know that they are in the lime-light when it comes to politics (which could potentially be avoided by laying of the millions of dollars in attack campaigns to disrupt the political process). They have openly addressed most of the allegations against them. In 2013 they were blamed for supporting the Government shutdown. While that accusation has some real merit (it is tea party House Republicans who spew the same disinformation about the program that the Kochs fund who are at the forefront of attaching ObamaCare to the budget) this was their official response and does shed some light into their personal views.
A Positive Word About the Kochs
The ideas of personal freedom and lower taxes are not inherently wrong, in fact it is a pretty popular and even intrinsic view of most Americans. The Kochs do lots of amazing things and deserve credit where credit is due (this includes funding the arts, building hospitals, etc see Koch foundations). It should also be pointed out that some of their think tanks employee some of the smartest folks around and their tactics are some of the most on-point of any player in the political realm (sometimes… the above ads which cost millions vs our site which cost $9.99 + plus time to reach countless more people with a much less mind melting message.)
Unfortunately the sheer amount of disinformation they have spread leaves little room to discuss their many accomplishments as successful capitalists and philanthropists. Anyone who would like to contribute to this page in regards to facts that are for, or against, the Koch agenda please use the contribute button on the left hand side of the page. We will continue to present clear unbiased facts on health care reform and related matters in order to educate the public. Remember you always have kochfacts.com and bravenewfilms.org if you are interested in weighing some opposing viewpoints.
What You Can Do
to Protect Public Programs from the Koch Brothers
Right now the Koch Brothers are being talked about more than ever. Don’t let talking points fool you. Share what you have learned with others and keeping spreading the truth.
The Koch Brothers and ObamaCare: Hands off Our Healthcare