Tag: Koch Brothers

Hillary Clinton took $1,000 from one or more individuals employed by Koch Industries-affiliated organization

I managed to stumble upon a Federal Election Commission (FEC) list of campaign contributions to Hillary for America, the official Hillary Clinton presidential campaign committee, sorted by employer of the individual campaign donor (individual donor names were not listed, although donations came from individuals and not the corporations themselves). Roughly halfway down the list, I found that one or more individuals employed by an entity called Koch Companies Public Sector (KCPS) donated a total of $1,000 to the Hillary campaign. The list is based on the Hillary campaign’s July 2015 quarterly report to the FEC.

KCPS is an entity affiliated with Koch Industries, the conglomerate run by Charles and David Koch, commonly referred to as the Koch Brothers and notorious for bankrolling Republican politicians and right-wing political causes. Although I’m not 100% certain of this, KCPS appears to me to be a right-wing political organization affiliated with the Koch Brothers: they have issued press releases that are clearly political in nature and attack Democrats (example here) for opposing the Koch Brothers’ political agenda in the recent past. Additionally, KCPS has spent, if my calculation of data provided in a graph here is correct, $101,192,700, on lobbying federal legislators. I’ve not been able to find any information online regarding any non-political activity by KCPS.

Given that the $1,000 comes from one or more individuals employed by KCPS, it is possible that there is one or more individuals employed by KCPS who are not strongly supportive of the Koch Brothers’ political agenda. However, since KCPS appears to be a primarily political organization affiliated with the Koch Industries, I would be shocked if there was anybody who even remotely resembled a political moderate or liberal employed by KCPS. I could see someone working in, for example, a milling job for Georgia-Pacific being a Hillary donor, but the fact that one or more KCPS employees donated to Hillary leaves me two big questions: 1) Why exactly would one or more employees of an organization like KCPS donate money to a Democratic presidential candidate? 2) Does Hillary Clinton privately support at least part of the Koch Brothers’ right-wing political agenda?

Even the far-right doesn’t like the Wisconsin GOP’s attack on open records laws

Ladies and gentlemen, hell has frozen over.

For once, I’ve found myself on the same side of an issue as the MacIver Institute, a far-right political think tank with ties to the billionaire Koch Brothers, and Christian Schneider, a far-right political columnist for the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the largest newspaper in Wisconsin. That’s because the Republican members of the Wisconsin State Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee (JFC) passed “Motion #999”, an omnibus committee motion to attach, among other things, a provision exempting “deliberative materials” like legislative drafts and legislative briefings from Wisconsin’s open records laws, to the Wisconsin state budget on a party-line vote. A total of 16 Wisconsin state legislators, 12 Republicans and 4 Democrats, sit on the JFC.

Here’s the full Motion #999; the provision in question is provision #28, located on pages 9 and 10 of the PDF file linked to in this sentence.

This is an actual MacIver Institute video criticizing the gutting of Wisconsin’s open records laws by the JFC:

When the MacIver Institute finds itself siding with State Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton) on an issue, you know that Republican legislators in Wisconsin have done something truly heinous. Remember that the MacIver Institute once filed an open records lawsuit against Erpenbach as part of a right-wing political witchhunt against him and won their case in court.

These are actual tweets by Christian Schneider sharply criticizing the Republicans’ move to gut Wisconsin’s open records laws, citing his experience as a state legislative staffer:

Schneider is certainly no liberal. He’s one of the most conservative figures in the usually very right-wing corporate media in Wisconsin, including writing a piece for the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel website that repeated the lies of Kyle Wood, a Republican campaign volunteer who falsely claimed to have been physically assaulted because he’s openly gay and refused to support Mark Pocan during his successful 2012 congressional campaign. The piece in question has long since been removed from the Journal-Sentinel website.

The move by Republican state legislators to gut open records laws in Wisconsin is so asinine, even some of the most conservative people and groups in Wisconsin are opposed to it.

Wisconsin’s largest newspaper takes note of my work exposing Nation Consulting’s ties to right-wing political groups

Daniel Bice, a columnist for the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, wrote this piece, which is mostly about Jason Rae and Martha Laning, two of the five candidates for Chairperson of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin (DPW).

Bice mentioned two of my blog posts about Thad Nation, the founder of the Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based consulting firm Nation Consulting, and tens of thousands of dollars that Nation indirectly gave to right-wing political groups through a front group called Coalition for the New Economy. The right-wing groups that received funding from Coalition for the New Economy have opposed Democratic candidates and progressive causes, and some of those groups have received funding either directly or indirectly from the far-right Koch Brothers. Nation employs Jason Rae, one of the candidates for DPW Chair, although Rae, to my knowledge, hasn’t been directly involved with Coalition for the New Economy. However, Bice forgot to mention that Rae either is or was an associate director of Wired Wisconsin, a Thad Nation-led political front group that has advocated for legislation that would make it easier for landline telephone companies to either eliminate or increase the price of landline telephone service in Wisconsin. Rae joined Wired Wisconsin in mid-2010; it’s not known to me whether or not Rae is still directly involved with Wired Wisconsin. Obviously, nobody who works for the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel is going to mention anything about Rae’s ties to Wired Wisconsin, since that organization has paid for advertisements in that newspaper.

Bice also mentioned the fact that Martha Laning, one of Rae’s four opponents, is a relative newcomer to the DPW, having only joined the DPW in early 2014, and that Laning didn’t even know that one had to join the party and pay party dues in order to become an official Democratic Party member in Wisconsin until right before she became a party member. To be fair, I don’t know exactly how to join the Democratic Party in my home state of Illinois (I’m not an official Democratic Party member here in Illinois), and I’m guessing that very few people outside of political insiders know how to officially join their home state’s Democratic Party organization. Additionally, Bice brought up the fact that Laning hasn’t voted in every election in Wisconsin that she’s been eligible to vote in. While I’ve always been a civic-minded person since long before I was eligible to vote (in fact, the only election I’ve missed since turning 18 years of age was the 2008 Illinois primary for president and other partisan offices, and that was because I forgot to register to vote in time for that election), not everyone grew up with an interest in politics. However, Bice made absolutely no mention of either of the two main reasons why I’ve been critical of Laning. First, Laning claimed that Scott Walker and his Republican allies “have good ideas” in a 2014 television ad for her failed state senate campaign, despite the fact that Walker has driven down wages, busted unions, stripped rights from Wisconsinites, and has led the fight to destroy Wisconsin’s middle class since being elected governor. That is clearly an example of appeasement of Republicans by Laning. Second, Laning had to be pressured by DPW officials into supporting an increase in Wisconsin’s minimum wage. That tells me that Laning isn’t a sincere progressive and doesn’t appear to have any real political values.

I’ve received numerous Facebook friend requests and admiration from many Wisconsin progressives for my work in exposing Thad Nation’s ties to right-wing political groups that have waged a political war on Wisconsin’s middle class and progressive traditions. I thank everyone who has supported my work!

Wisconsin Democratic chairperson candidate Jason Rae completely misrepresents what I said about his employer’s ties to the Koch Brothers

Well, as it turns out, Jason Rae, one of five candidates for Chairperson of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, is now attacking me for exposing the ties between Thad Nation, the founder of consulting firm that he works for, Nation Consulting, and far-right political organizations, some of which are funded either directly or indirectly by the billionaire Koch Brothers.

Basically, Rae tried to claim on his personal Facebook page that I claimed that he’s a mole for the Koch Brothers, which isn’t what I actually claimed. What I actually claimed is this: First, Rae works for Nation Consulting, a Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based political consulting firm. Second, Nation Consulting is led by Thad Nation. Third, Thad Nation was the executive director of a group called Coalition for the New Economy (CftNE), according to a 2012 IRS 990 filing. Fourth, CftNE gave money to multiple right-wing organizations, some of which have been received funding either directly or indirectly by the Koch Brothers. Fifth, the fact that Rae works for Nation Consulting would represent at least an apparent conflict of interest if he were to be elected DPW Chair and remain employed by Nation Consulting. This is not a smear attack at all; it’s the cold hard truth about how Jason Rae’s employer, Thad Nation, has indirectly funded organizations that have run smear campaigns against Democrats and supported Republican candidates and causes.

Rae also stated that he doesn’t tolerate Democrats attacking other Democrats. I disagree with that idea, so as long as the attacks are valid, accurate, and constructive. For example, if I couldn’t attack other Democrats, I’d have little to talk about in regards to the politics of my home state of Illinois, given how morbidly corrupt the Illinois Democratic Party is, and how people like Rahm Emanuel and Mike Madigan are corporate hacks who are barely better than the Republicans and want to screw over hard-working Illinoisans at nearly every opportunity. Also, it’s quite hypocritical for someone like Rae to complain about Democrats attacking other Democrats, since Rae is a Democratic National Committee (DNC) member, and the Chairwoman of the DNC is Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who has openly attacked other Democrats over issues that are important to many progressives.

If there’s anyone waging a smear attack against anyone, it’s Jason Rae. In fact, he completely misrepresented what I said about his employer, Thad Nation of Nation Consulting, having indirectly given money to right-wing organizations that staunchly oppose Democratic candidates and progressive ideals. The fact that Rae can’t respond to my blog posts about his employer indirectly giving money to right-wing organizations without accusing me of smearing him and misrepresenting my blog posts proves to me that he does not have the temperament to be in a Democratic Party leadership position of any kind, let alone the state Democratic Party chair in a state that will likely decide control of both the White House and the U.S. Senate in 2016.

Wisconsin Democratic chairperson candidate Jason Rae employed by firm founded by individual that provided money to Koch-funded organizations

AUTHOR’S NOTE: I have made edits to the blog post and title to accurately reflect Nation Consulting founder Thad Nation’s use of a 501(c)(4) organization to give money to right-wing organizations and Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chairperson candidate Jason Rae’s employment by Nation Consulting.

I’ve found information that proves that Thad Nation, Wisconsin Democratic chairperson candidate Jason Rae’s boss at Nation Consulting, has provided money to at least seven right-wing organizations, including at least four that are funded either directly or indirectly by the Koch Brothers. Nation himself was listed in a 2012 IRS 990 filing as the principal officer of Coalition for the New Economy (CftNE), a 501(c)4 organization that opposes government-run broadband internet services in areas where private-sector firms currently provide broadband internet service. CftNE has also given money to at least several right-wing political groups that have actively opposed Democratic and liberal political candidates, have actively supported Republican and conservative political candidates, and/or have advocated for far-right policies that would have a negative impact on America. Here’s the organizations that CftNE has given money to, according to page 17 of the 2012 IRS filing by that organization:

  • $15,000 for “general support” to the National Taxpayers Union (NTU), a right-wing anti-tax organization that has, among other things, effectively supported allowing the U.S. federal government to default on the national debt. NTU has received a total of $32,500 from the Koch Family Foundations from 1998 to 2008, including $5,000 from Charles Koch’s own foundation in 2008.
  • $5,000 for “general support” to the Center for Individual Freedom (CIF), a right-wing organization that spent $1.9 million in television advertising in an attempt to help Republicans win U.S. House races that were seriously contested by both major parties in the 2012 elections. CIF spent a slightly larger amount of money on a similar effort in the 2010 elections.
  • $5,000 for “general support” to Americans for Prosperity (AfP), a far-right political organization founded by the Koch Brothers themselves. In Wisconsin, AfP spent $866,000 in ads designed to help Scott Walker win the 2014 Wisconsin gubernatorial race and approximately $2.9 million in ads in opposition to the 2012 recall effort against Walker that was strongly supported by Wisconsin progressives.
  • $10,000 for “general support” to FreedomWorks, a far-right organization that has, among other things, ran several anti-union campaigns in states like Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania and supported far-right extremist Chris McDaniel, who, among other things, blamed rap music for many of our country’s problems, in his unsuccessful 2014 Republican primary challenge to U.S. Senator Thad Cochran of Mississippi.
  • $5,000 for “general support” to Institute for Policy Innovation (IPI), a right-wing organization that was founded by former House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX) and, among other things, opposes taxation and supports privatizing Social Security. IPI has received $35,000 from the Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation, which is identified by the Center for Media and Democracy’s SourceWatch as one of the four Koch Family Foundations. IPI is the only one of the organizations listed in the CftNE filing that is a 501(c)(3) organization; all of the others are listed as 501(c)(4) organizations.
  • $15,000 for “general support” to the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA), a right-wing organization that has, among other things, attacked the federal government over the proposed merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable, two of the largest cable television providers in the country.
  • $14,740 for “general support” to the 60 Plus Association (60 Plus), a right-wing organization funded by Koch Brothers-funded organizations like Freedom Parners and American Encore as part of a complex web of Koch Brothers-funded organizations. In Wisconsin, 60 Plus ran this advertisement attacking now-Democratic U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin for supporting the Affordable Care Act (ACA), federal legislation that provided millions of Americans with health insurance.

That’s a total of $69,740 that Thad Nation has, through CftNE, provided to right-wing organizations that have supported Republicans like Scott Walker, ran smear campaigns against Democrats like Tammy Baldwin, and have supported far-right policies that would make America a much worse place to live. Thad Nation is also the same person who employs Jason Rae as a senior associate at Nation Consulting, and Rae is running for Chairperson of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. If Rae is elected DPW Chair, it would be at least an apparent conflict of interest for someone like Rae to be the head of a state-level Democratic organization if he were to remain employed at Nation Consulting, because the founder of that organization was the head of a 501(c)(4) organization that gave money to groups that support Republicans and their destructive far-right agenda.

Let me finish this post by saying two things about Rae and his supporters. One, Rae’s supporters are some of the most vile people I’ve ever interacted with online. Two, Rae completely lacks the temperament to be in a Democratic Party leadership position of any kind.

The Koch Brothers’ political organization thinks there’s more than two million people in Montana

Zach Lahn, the Montana state director for the Koch Brothers-funded political organization Americans for Prosperity, claimed that “millions of Montanans” oppose expanding Medicaid after the Republican-controlled Montana House of Representatives passed a Medicaid expansion bill:

It’s official: Wisconsin right-wingers now pushing for right-to-work-for-less legislation

It’s official: The right-wingers in Wisconsin are now pushing for even more union busting in Wisconsin.

Lorri Pickens, a former political operative for the Koch Brothers front group Americans for Prosperity (AfP), is now leading a front group called Right to Work Wisconsin, whose mission is to convince the Republicans that control the Wisconsin State Legislature to pass a so-called “right-to-work” bill. Other individuals behind this group include Chris Martinson, Kenosha School Board member Bob Nuzzo, and 2014 Wisconsin State Treasurer Republican primary candidate Randy Melchert. This group may have the backing of the Koch Brothers and other big-money Republican/conservative donors.

If enacted in Wisconsin, a “right-to-work” bill would allow public-sector and private-sector workers who are not members of a union to benefit from collective bargaining agreements between management and union workers without joining the union or paying union dues, effectively allowing non-union workers to benefit from the wages, benefits, etc. of union contracts without paying for the benefits. To put that another way, “right-to-work” is actually the moral equivalent of legalizing shoplifting, since allowing non-union workers to not pay for benefits negotiated by unions is just like allowing shoppers at department stores to not pay for clothes, toys, video games, and so on. Additionally, a “right-to-work” bill would drive down wages in Wisconsin, put thousands more Wisconsin families into poverty, decrease the amount of revenue that Wisconsin receives from income taxes, hurt economic growth in Wisconsin, and cost Wisconsin thousands of jobs.

I hope enough Republicans in the Wisconsin State Legislature come to their senses and oppose a “right-to-work” bill, because Scott Walker would sign it into law in a heartbeat if it were to hit his desk and Wisconsin can’t afford it.