Big Right-Wing Money Pours Into Wisconsin
One of the speakers at the Wisconsin rallies over the weekend was the out-of-state president of the Koch-brothers-financed Americans for Prosperity, Tim Phillips. (David Koch is at left, and Charles Koch is on the right). That association and the big money behind it wasn’t part of Mr. Phillips’s presentation.
What Mr. Phillips did not mention was that his Virginia-based nonprofit group, whose budget surged to $40 million in 2010 from $7 million three years ago, was created and financed in part by the secretive billionaire brothers Charles G. and David H. Koch.
State records also show that Koch Industries, their energy and consumer products conglomerate based in Wichita, Kan., was one of the biggest contributors to the election campaign of Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, a Republican who has championed the proposed cuts.
Even before the new governor was sworn in last month, executives from the Koch-backed group had worked behind the scenes to try to encourage a union showdown, Mr. Phillips said in an interview on Monday.
The idea that the counter protesters in Wisconsin are grassroots is laughable.
Americans for Prosperity came to Wisconsin more than five years ago and has thousands of members, he said. The state chapter organized buses on Saturday for hundreds of Wisconsin residents to go to the Capitol to support the governor’s proposals.
They want you to think this is a grassroots movement, when it is heavily organized by Washington lobbyists with corporate interests, and financed with big money.
To Bob Edgar, a former House Democrat who is now president of Common Cause, a liberal group that has been critical of what it sees as the rising influence of corporate interests in American politics, the Koch brothers are using their money to create a façade of grass-roots support for their favorite causes.
“This is a dangerous moment in America history,” Mr. Edgar said. “It is not that these folks don’t have a right to participate in politics. But they are moving democracy into the control of more wealthy corporate hands.”Click here for reuse options!
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