People For the American Way

Anatomy of a Koch-a-Thon: Sham Budget Hearings Brought to You by the Koch Brothers

The Koch Brothers: The stealth commanders of a vast right-wing army.

The Koch Brothers’ web of connections to Issa’s sham budget hearings:

  • Contributions to Issa and the Committee
  • Connections to Committee staff
    • One staffer completed an Associate Program with the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation and worked for the conservative think tank the Mercatus Center, which received $9.6M from the Koch Brothers
    • Daniel Epstein, formerly in the Koch general counsel’s office, is now joining the committee as Republican counsel.
    • At least three other committee staffers have ties to the Koch-funded Mercatus Center.
  • Connections to hearing witnesses
    • Mark Mix, President of the National Right To Work Committee and President of the National Right To Work Legal Defense Fund
      • Was a presenter at a Koch Conference in Aspen, Colorado, where he discussed coordinated electoral strategies. His organization, National Right to Work, receives free summer employees from the Koch summer fellows program.
      • Mix attended the 2010 Koch Conference in Aspen, Colorado.
      • Mix presented a session entitled “Mobilizing Citizens for November,” on the topic: “Is there a chance this fall to elect leaders who are strongly committed to liberty and prosperity?” alongside Sean Noble and Tim Phillips of the Koch Funded Americans for Prosperity.
      • Mix is a Speaker for the Leadership Institute, an organization that received over $100,000 from Koch-funded foundations.
    • Andrew Biggs, Assistant Director of the Project on Social Security Choice at the American Enterprise Institute and Desmond Lachman, Resident Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute
      • AEI received $150,000 from the Koch Brothers.
      • The Koch brothers pay summer fellows to work at AEI
      • The President of AEI, Arthur Books, and Fellow Peter Wallison coordinated political strategy with the Koch brothers, and presented on the “threat” of unions at the Koch conference in Aspen.
      • Biggs was a social security analyst at the Cato Institute, another Koch-funded conservative think-tank which received $13.7 million from Koch
  • Connections to Walker

Darrell Issa’s political anti-working family, pro-corporate agenda: Fighting healthcare reform, boosting corporate profits, scrapping worker’s rights.

Scott Walker’s political anti-working family, pro-corporate agenda: Punishing hard-working civil servants, rewarding his friends and political allies.

  • Walker helped drive his state into a deficit with $140 billion in giveaways for his corporate backers — and then he claimed that taking away workers’ rights was the only way to fix the budget. GOP State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald crowed to Fox news that the provisions to take away workers’ rights would weaken unions and help defeat President Obama in the next election
  • Walker pushed legislation to strip state and local government employees of the right to collectively bargain over anything other than wages and then directly defied a judicial order blocking the implementation of his union-busting bill. Walker tried to implement it anyway and had to be ordered a second time to comply with the law.
  • Walker was caught on tape admitting that he had considered planting agitators among peaceful protesters to engage in activities that would make the protesters look bad (a tactic recently used by oppressive governments in Iran and Egypt).
  • Walker appointed Brian Deschane – a 27-year-old with no college degree and little management experience – as head of environmental and regulatory affairs in the Wisconsin Department of Commerce. This was a promotion and 26% raise for Deschane, who had worked for the state government for only two months. His main qualification seemed to be his father, who one of Walker’s top funders and a lobbyist for the Wisconsin Builders Association.
  • In February, the mistress of one of Walker’s Republican Senate allies was hired for a job at the Department of Regulation and Licensing at an almost 40% salary increase over her predecessor. She reportedly received the job over several well qualified and highly recommended applicants, even though she may not have even formally applied for the position.
  • Walker rejected over $800 million in federal funding to build a high-speed passenger rail system in the state, and instead favored a rail-infrastructure improvement project that could be completed by Wisconsin & Southern Railroad Company. This project was allocated $14 million in state funds.
  • The head of the railroad company, William Gardner, is a Scott Walker donor who is pleading guilty to laundering campaign contributions to fund Walker’s campaign. When he was caught last year, Walker was forced to return the illegally contributed money that he had previously accepted. The railroad has already paid a forfeiture of $166,690, the largest ever imposed by state officials. Gardner had previously given Walker an illegal campaign contribution in 2005.