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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, September 3, 2010 - Volume 38 Issue 36
Right-wing puppet masters tie their strings to Dino Rossi
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Right-wing puppet masters tie their strings to Dino Rossi

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

David and Charles Koch - identified in a recent New Yorker article as the financial backers of the Tea Party - have invested in Republican Dino Rossi's senate campaign.

David and Charles are brothers, who together own 84% of Koch Industries. With annual revenues of $98 billion, Koch Industries is the second largest privately held corporation in the country.

It is also the 10th worst corporate polluter in the country, according to the Political Economic Research Institute of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

According to Federal Election Commission documents, the brothers' Koch PAC has contributed $5000 to the Rossi campaign.

Rossi is running against incumbent Democrat Patty Murray, who has been targeted for defeat by the national Republican Party.

Jane Mayer's New Yorker article - titled "Covert Operations: The billionaire brothers who are waging a war against Obama" - reveals that the Koch brothers bankrolled the Tea Party through a front group called Americans for Prosperity.

Mayer describes the Koch brothers as "longtime libertarians who believe in drastically lower personal and corporate taxes, minimal social services for the needy, and much less oversight of industry - especially environmental regulation."

Their father, Fred Koch, was one of the founders of the right-wing extremist John Birch Society (JBS) in 1958. Once a right-wing political powerhouse, JBS is today best known for its bizarre conspiracy theories, including the claim that Pres. Dwight Eisenhower was a Communist agent.

In addition to Koch PAC's direct contribution to Rossi's campaign, the PAC has also funded at least 10 other conservative groups, which have in turn funneled money into the Rossi campaign. According to the Federal Election Commission:


o Sen. John Cornyn's (R-TX) Alamo PAC has received $25,000 from Koch PAC since 2006. To date it has donated $10,000 to Rossi.

o Sen. Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) Bluegrass Committee has received $27,500 from the Kochs since 2005. The committee also gave Rossi $10,000.

o Sen. Richard Shelby's (R-Ala.) Defend America PAC has received $16,000 from the Kochs. It also donated $10,000 to Rossi.

o Sen. Lisa Murkowski's (R-AK) Denali Leadership PAC received $20,000 from Koch PAC and donated $2,500 to Rossi.

o Sen. James Inhofe's (R-Okla.) Fund for a Conservative Future got $47,000 from Koch PAC, beginning in 1998. It has given Rossi $5,000.

o Sen. Lindsey Graham's (R-S.C.) Fund for America's Future got $5,000 from the Koch brothers and gave the Rossi campaign $2,500.

o Sen. Richard Burr's (R-N.C.) Next Century Fund received $27,500 from the Kochs since 2005. It gave $5,000 to Rossi's campaign.

o Sen. Saxby Chambliss' (R-Ga.) Republican Majority Fund has received a whopping $76,000 from the Koch brothers since 1998. It has contributed $5,000 to the Rossi campaign.

o Sen. John Kyl's (R-Ariz.) Senate Majority Fund got $22,500 from Koch PAC and donated $10,000 to Rossi.

o Sen. Lamar Alexander's (R-Tenn.) Tenn PAC got $6,000 from the Kochs and gave Rossi $5,000.


Koch PAC also gave the Senate Conservatives Fund $10,000. The Fund has spent $2,773 on an independent expenditure campaign on Rossi's behalf.

Financial relationships among right-wing groups can get very complex.

For example, Koch PAC donated $31,000 to Rep. John Boehner's (R-OH) Freedom Project. That group then donated money to the NRA (National Rifle Association) Political Victory Fund, which in turn gave money to the Safari Club International PAC, which gave $2,500 to Rossi's campaign.

In 2008 SCI PAC spent $93,000 on an independent expenditure campaign against President Obama. It also funded independent expenditure campaigns on behalf of George W. Bush and Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn.), the head of the Congressional Tea Party Caucus.

The Koch brothers' Americans for Prosperity has a Washington state chapter. It is currently led by former KVI talk show DJ Kirby Wilbur.

Wilbur first broke into politics organizing against Hillary Clinton's healthcare reform plan in 1994. He also chaired the unsuccessful 2005 statewide initiative campaign to repeal a state gas tax increase.

Dino Rossi's campaign was invited to comment for this article, but they did not respond.

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