Event Primer: Rubio’s Address to the LIBRE Initiative Forum

On Saturday, Marco Rubio is speaking at a forum sponsored by the Kochs’ LIBRE Initiative. Both the LIBRE Initiative and Marco Rubio have an extensive history of pushing extreme measures that are out of line with the priorities of working families.

The LIBRE Initiative

LIBRE backs anti-immigrant Republicans while claiming to support immigration reform. For example:

  • The group attacked Rep. Pete Gallego (D-TX), a supporter of comprehensive immigration reform whose opponent had indicated that he would oppose reform.
  • LIBRE supported Andy Tobin (R-AZ), who not only opposed comprehensive reform, but also voted for Arizona’s draconian anti-immigrant bill S.B. 1070 and hyped unfounded fears that Central American children fleeing to the southern border could be carrying Ebola.

LIBRE promotes conservative policy priorities at odds with the priorities of Latino working families.

  • On immigration, LIBRE has called DACA “pandering” and “dangerous" and opposes the President’s recent actions, DACA+ and DAPA.
  • LIBRE opposes increasing the minimum wage and rallies against clean energy development.
  • Much of LIBRE’s efforts go toward attacking the Affordable Care Act.
  • LIBRE's executive director said he supports voter ID laws, which make it harder for Latinos to vote.

LIBRE is a Koch front group designed to push a far-right agenda.

  • At least half of LIBRE’s revenue in the 2011 and 2012 fiscal years came from two other Koch front groups.
  • Although LIBRE is organized as a trust, with executive director Daniel Garza as trustee, a Koch-connected group has the power to fire him at any time.

For an in-depth analysis of the LIBRE Initiative’s funding and tactics, see People For the American Way’s report on the LIBRE Initiative. The report is also available in Spanish here.

Marco Rubio

Presidential candidate Marco Rubio was first elected to the Senate with strong Tea Party support. When he’s not missing votes, he has stood out as one of the most extreme senators. The far-right Heritage Action for America ranks Rubio as the senator who is the 5th most aligned with their priorities. Key pieces of Rubio’s record:

On Immigration

  • Rubio initially backed comprehensive immigration reform, but balked when the far Right started speaking out against him. He now believes his work on the legislation was a mistake.
  • Rubio said he “would love to defund the immigration order” from President Obama that protects DREAMers and families from deportation.
  • Rubio promised that if he were elected president, he would not support citizenship or even legal status for undocumented immigrants during either of his possible terms as president.

On Economic Issues

  • Rubio said, “I don’t think a minimum wage law works.”
  • Rubio’s tax plan gives extensive, undeserved tax breaks to corporations and the wealthiest Americans.
  • Rubio has voted multiple times against making college more affordable, including voting for an amendment that would’ve “stripped out money for Pell Grants and historically black colleges and $2 billion [from] community colleges.”

On Social Issues

  • Rubio warned that marriage equality represents “a real and present danger” to America.
  • Rubio believes abortion should be illegal even in cases of rape and incest.
  • Rubio supports cutting Social Security and ending Medicare in the form that seniors have relied on for decades.