Did the Koch Brothers Just Buy a Vice President?

Respectfully submitted by Lawrence Rafferty (rafflaw)- Guest Blogger

In light of Elaine’s excellent discussion of the radical voting record of Mitt Romney’s Vice Presidential pick, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, I got to thinking just why would Romney pick such a radical Congressman to be be his Vice President? I understand that Mr. Romney would want an individual who has conservative credentials to improve his standing within his own adopted party and within the Tea Party.  But Mr. Ryan has serious baggage with his now infamous Ryan Budget that attacks the middle class and the poor, all for the purpose of retaining and enlarging tax cuts for the wealthy. Why would Mitt take on Ryan’s baggage when he is facing challenges on his lack of transparency on his tax returns?

It seems that the answer to those questions may all relate back to the Koch Brothers and the princely sum of $100 Million dollars!

According to long time Republican operative, Roger Stone, the Koch Brothers may have “purchased” the Vice Presidential choice from the Romney campaign for a promise to spend $100 Million in various Republican Super Pac funds and the so-called C-4 funds to attack the Obama campaign and support the Romney/Ryan ticket!   “Here is how Stone led his latest post, headlined “The Paul Ryan Selection, “which also delivers an amusing swipe at a certain Fox News analyst:

I’ve waited a few days to lay out my analysis of the selection of Paul Ryan for the VP slot on the Romney ticket. Unlike politicos like Dick Morris who badmouths the selection privately and shills for it publicly, I’ll tell you what I really think. My sources tell me David Koch played a key role in Ryan’s selection and that Koch’s wife Julia had been quietly lobbying for Ryan. The selection was cemented at the July 22nd fundraiser Koch held for Romney at the former’s sumptuous Hamptons estate. Koch pledged $100 million more to C-4 and Super PAC efforts for Romney [in exchange] for Ryan’s selection.”  National Memo

I understand that one has to take what Mr. Stone says with a grain of salt because he has been an insider political operative for decades, and maybe he has a grudge against Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan and/or the Republican Party.  One thing that is known is that the Koch Brothers have been big supporters of Paul Ryan and his attacks on the middle class and the poor. “The vice presidential nominee’s campaign finance record is not without some minor controversy. To begin with, he has long been a favorite of the libertarian billionaires Charles and David Koch. Before entering Congress, Ryan worked with a conservative group that would eventually merge with a Koch brothers’ group to become FreedomWorks, a leading sponsor of the Tea Party movement. Their mutual interests in libertarianism could explain why the private energy corporation Koch Industries has given Ryan more than $65,000 over his career”  US News and World Report

One writer claims that the Romney choice of Ryan is not only because of the big money supporting Ryan as a Vice President choice, but also because of a long struggle against the gains made by the Left since the late 60’s and early 1970’s.  “Paul Ryan’s selection as Mitt Romney’s running mate is the present culmination of more than two centuries of war on democracy and – in modern times – on the specific gains made through political struggle during the Roosevelt administration after the devastation caused by the Great Depression and on those specific gains for civil rights codified into law during the Great Society under Lyndon Johnson.”  Truthout

The Koch Brother’s father was the founder of the John Birch Society who could be called a bigot for some of his incendiary comments against minorities.  “As the progenitor of the Koch family, the elder Koch candidly and unabashedly wrote, “the colored man looms large in the Communist plan to take over America,” and “welfare was a secret plot to attract rural blacks to cities, where they would foment a vicious race war”).”  Truthout     Do the Koch Brothers agree with their father’s statement and is their choice of Ryan related to what they believe Ryan’s legislation and budget will do to harm minorities and women?

The Koch Brothers have funneled millions into various Super Pacs and Right Wing causes, but now if Mr. Stone and the op-ed on Truthout are to be believed, they have may have actually purchased the selection of their own Vice Presidential candidate.   Is this choice a continuation of the out of control election spending that was brought on by the controversial Citizens United decision?  Or is the Ryan selection a building block in the framework to attack social programs by the same moneyed interests that will benefit by the curtailing of these programs to allow for even greater tax breaks?

What do you think?

69 thoughts on “Did the Koch Brothers Just Buy a Vice President?”

  1. Nick,
    Nothing is wrong with making money as long as iris not at the expense of others. By the way, keep the personal cracks to yourself.

  2. rafflaw, What’s wrong w/ making money?? I see why Clausen Miller took a pass on you? They don’t abide socialists or lazy.

  3. rafflaw,

    Think of all the good that those groups could do for society with all that money. We are fast becoming a culture.

  4. wgward,
    you right. As long as you have the proper ID!
    Disturbing misuse of the 501c4 status in my opinion.

  5. How Nonprofits Spend Millions on Elections and Call it Public Welfare
    by Kim Barker
    ProPublica, Aug. 19, 2012

    Matt Brooks describes the mission of the Republican Jewish Coalition as educating the Jewish community about critical domestic and foreign policy issues.

    But the well-dressed crowd that gathered in May for a luncheon on the 24th floor of a New York law firm easily could have figured that the group had a different purpose: Helping Mitt Romney win the presidency.

    Brooks, the group’s executive director, showed the 100 or so attendees two coalition-funded ads taking aim at President Barack Obama. Then Brooks made a pitch for a $6.5 million plan to help Romney in battleground states, reminding guests that their donations would not be publicly disclosed by the tax-exempt group.

    “Contributions to the RJC are not reported,” Brooks told the people sitting around a horseshoe-shaped table. “We don’t make our donors’ names available. We can take corporate money, personal money, cash, shekels, whatever you got.”

    The Republican Jewish Coalition and similar organizations enjoy tax-exempt status in exchange for promoting social welfare. In this election, the most expensive in U.S. history, they also have emerged as the primary conduit for anonymous big-money contributions.

    Forget super PACs, their much-hyped cousins, which can take unlimited contributions but must name their donors. More money is being spent on TV advertising in the presidential race by social welfare nonprofits, known as 501(c)(4)s for their section of the tax code, than by any other type of independent group.

    As of Aug. 8, they had spent more than $71 million on ads mentioning a candidate for president, according to estimates by Kantar Media’s Campaign Media Analysis Group, or CMAG. Super PACs have spent an estimated $56 million.

    Congress created the legal framework for 501(c)(4) nonprofits nearly a century ago. To receive the tax exemption, groups were supposed to be “operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare.” The IRS later opened the door to some forms of political activity by interpreting the statute to mean groups had to be “primarily” engaged in enhancing social welfare. But neither the tax code nor regulators set out how this would be measured.

    In recent years, Democrats and Republicans alike have seized on that seemingly innocuous wording to create the darkest corner of American political fundraising.

    An investigation by ProPublica, drawing on documents filed with the Internal Revenue Service and the Federal Election Commission, offers the most detailed picture to date of how 501(c)(4) groups have used their tax status for purposes likely never intended.

    Our examination shows that dozens of these groups do little or nothing to justify the subsidies they receive from taxpayers. Instead, they are pouring much of their resources, directly or indirectly, into political races at the local, state and federal level.

    The 2010 election functioned, effectively, as a dry run, providing a blueprint for what social welfare groups are doing on a larger scale today. Records on what is happening in the 2012 campaign will not be available until well after the election.

    For this story, ProPublica reviewed thousands of pages of filings for 106 nonprofits active during the 2010 election cycle, tracking what portion of their funds went into politics. We watched TV ads bought by these groups, looked at documents from other nonprofits that gave them money, and interviewed dozens of campaign finance experts and political strategists.

    We found that some groups said they would not engage in politics when they applied for IRS recognition of their tax-exempt status. But later filings showed they spent millions on just such activities.

    On the very day in 2008 that the American Future Fund mailed its application to the IRS, checking the box for “no” on whether it planned to participate in politics, it uploaded an ad to YouTube praising a Republican senator. The group reported more than $8 million in political spending in 2010.

  6. “Nonprofits” Tied to Karl Rove, Koch Brothers Spend Millions on Elections and Call it Public Welfare

    Democracy Now Summary:
    With the presidential election less than three months away, Republicans and Democrats are blanketing the airwaves with campaign ads. Much has been written about the super PACs behind these ads, but far less is known about social welfare nonprofits that are far outspending super PACs on TV advertising in the presidential race. As of August 8, these nonprofits had spent more than $71 million on ads mentioning a candidate for president; whereas, super PACs have spent an estimated $56 million. And, unlike super PACs, these organizations enjoy tax-exempt status and do not have to disclose the identity of their donors. A new investigation by ProPublica reveals how these nonprofits are exploiting their special tax status to mount a secretly funded, permanent campaign. We speak to investigative reporter Kim Barker.

  7. Theoretically, the amount of money in “this campaign” won’t matter, if everyone does their duty and votes.

  8. Woosty,
    Interesting link from alternet.
    I am a fan of Stephanie Miller’s radio show and it was great to see her on Maddow’s show.

  9. Did someone call Dick Morris a shill? Ok pot meet kettle.

    Romney is identical to Obama. It is pretty ridiculous – the only point is to play politics and have an entire political industry that gains – along with their favored backers. But at the end of the day if you are outside that inner circle or a billionaire – yawn. Your treatment will equally stink under either. You only see a monster under the bed if you are too dumb to think or to interested to disagree.

    If ryan is radical then obama is definitely muslim non US citizen etc.

  10. Elaine,
    I agree with the scenario about if R &R lose, but the more this guy talks and the more his draconian policies and budget are discussed, then more people understand how radical and dangerous he is.

  11. rafflaw,

    10 Reasons Romney’s Choice of Paul Ryan for Veep Is Smarter Than You Think
    Romney’s Ryan decision is a hugely dangerous step toward getting the Koch brothers’ hand-picked star close to the presidency.
    By Don Hazen

    August 13, 2012 | When Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney tapped Paul Ryan, the 42-year-old Wisconsin congressman, to be his running mate, progressives went on a happy-thon. That Romney chose the House Budget Committee chairman known as the architect of draconian budgets that would make huge cuts in every aspect of the safety net — not to mention his quest to turn Medicare into a voucher program — just seemed like a major blunder. My colleague, Joshua Holland, called it Romney’s biggest mistake. Many were gleeful and shocked that Romney would seemingly play right into the Obama message on how the Romney agenda harms the middle class.

    But I wasn’t so happy. The Romney decision signals several things about the future, and none of them good — rather scary and ugly, as a matter of fact. My gut told me that, for the Republican vice presidential candidate, I would much rather have a non-entity like Portman or Pawlenty as the Republican than a right-wing rock star. Any day.

    Progressives are right when they say Ryan represents everything that shows how out of touch the Republicans are with the needs of the country. But they are not looking at Romney’s Ryan decision for what it is — a hugely dangerous step toward getting the Koch brothers’ hand-picked star right to the verge of the presidency, which, if it should it come to pass, could dramatically transform the nature of American politics for our lifetimes. Whether Romney wins or loses, the Ryan pick poses a threat to the well-being of the nation.

    If Romney wins, then Ryan occupies the Number Two spot with a money base and huge constituency of his own, far more than any vice president has ever enjoyed. With his own leadership PAC and a close relationship to the Koch-funded Americans For Prosperity astroturf group, it is hard to imagine how Ryan doesn’t immediately become a co-president or, at least, the most powerful VP in history. And, and this is a win-win for Charles and David Koch, the right-wing billionaire brothers: If Romney loses, then Paul Ryan is sitting pretty to be the nominee in 2016, when there is no incumbent….a far easier race to win after eight years of President Barack Obama, the Democrat, presiding over a difficult economy whose recovery Republicans have done everything they can to obstruct. I have always felt that many conservatives intent on taking over this country, known for their long vision and patience, have this strategy.

  12. Old joke punchline but relevant: We know what you (Mr. Romney) are, now we’re just negotiating the price.

    Ralph- Buffet may be a tax cheat? I’m shocked, shocked! As the ex-VP said, “So”, Is this news? I knew long ago that everyone wealthy enough to ‘cheat’ on taxes would/will. It’s not news, it’s just a matter of how far to the illegal side of the ocean-sized grey area set aside for them that they swim. I don’t like it but I’m not going to feign surprise where none is warranted.

    Dancing dogs? I have typing cats, can I call them personal secretaries and claim them? Inquiring minds want to know. 🙂

    Great videos Elaine and as always Raf, excellent article.

  13. Gene H, my fave is where they show two different things, and say:

    One of these things is not like the other.

  14. Randy Newman!

    He’s a world class song writer and Oscar winning composer and those others mentioned are ethically bankrupt greedy swine and arguably sociopaths.

    What’s that?

    You weren’t playing “One of These Things is Not Like the Others”?

    Never mind.

    Darn it! That was always one of my favorite segments on Sesame Street. We really should play it more often.

  15. Its a fart ache,
    Nothing but a fart ache,….
    For Yoooou.

    Its a hope for everyone….
    No scope for you and puns, for yoouuu.

    — Paul Ryan, or is it rand Paul, or Ann Rand’s son, or Randy Newman????

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