“I like to give on a scale where I can see impact…” – David Koch
Earlier this year, a number of Republicans flew to California to make fundraising pitches to more than four hundred wealthy conservative donors attending a private conference hosted by the Koch brothers.
It’s worth taking a moment to ask the question, who are the Koch brothers, and what do they want?
The Koch brothers are the second-wealthiest family in America worth $82 billion. For the Koch brothers, $82 billion in wealth apparently is not good enough. Owning the second-largest private company in America is apparently not good enough. It doesn’t appear that they will be satisfied until they are able to control the entire political process.
This issue isn’t personal for me. I don’t know the Koch brothers, but I do know this. They have advocated for destroying the federal programs that are critical to the financial and personal health of middle class Americans.
Now, most Americans know that the Koch brothers are the primary source of funding for the Tea Party, and that’s fine. They know that they favor the outright repeal of the Affordable Care Act, and that’s their opinion. It’s wrong, but that’s fine as well.
But it is not widely known that David Koch once ran for Vice President of the United States of America on the Libertarian Party ticket because he believed Ronald Reagan was much too liberal. And he ran on a platform that included the following:
- “We favor the repeal of the fraudulent, virtually bankrupt and increasingly oppressive Social Security system.”
- “We favor the abolition of Medicare and Medicaid programs.”
- “We support repeal of all laws which impede the ability of any person to find employment, such as minimum wage laws…”
- “We support the eventual repeal of all taxation.”
In 1980, David Koch’s presidential ticket received one percent of the vote from the American people. And rightly so. His views were so extreme they were rejected completely out of hand by the American people.
But fast forward almost thirty-six years, and one of the most significant realities of modern politics is just how successful David Koch and the like-minded billionaires attending his retreat have been at moving the Republican Party to the extreme right. The ideas above that were dismissed as downright crazy in 1980 are now part of today’s mainstream Republican thinking.
The Koch brothers, and billionaires like them, have bought up the private sector and now they’re buying up the government. It’s up to us to put a stop to them, but it will require all of us standing together with one voice on this issue.
Your donation to our campaign today is a contribution towards the dismantling of a corrupt system of campaign finance held in place by the Koch brothers and their billionaire friends:
So far in this election, less than four hundred families have contributed the majority of all the money raised by all the candidates and super PACs combined. According to media reports, one family will spend more money in this election than either the Democratic or Republican Parties.
This is not democracy. This is oligarchy.
Our job is not to think small in this moment. The current system of campaign finance in this country is utterly corrupt. That is one of the reasons I am so proud of how we have funded our campaign — over 2.5 million contributions from working Americans giving less than $30 at a time. But our campaign is unique.
We must pass a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United, and I will not nominate any justice to the Supreme Court who does not make it abundantly clear that she or he will overturn that decision. We need legislation that requires wealthy individuals and corporations who make large campaign contributions to disclose where their money is going. And more importantly, I believe we need to move towards the public funding of elections.
Our vision for American democracy should be a nation in which all people, regardless of their income, can participate in the political process, can run for office without begging for contributions from the wealthy and the powerful.
Tomorrow afternoon I’ll be in New York City to deliver a major speech about our need to create a financial system that works for all Americans, not just the few. I’ll be in touch shortly after. I hope that you’ll keep an eye on your inbox for my message.