Yesterday, billionaire industrialist David Koch, who along with his brother Charles has poured hundreds of millions of dollars into right-wing infrastructure and causes, claimed to the press that he actually doesn’t believe in much that the Republican Party promotes.
While attending the Republican National Convention, Koch said that he backs same-sex marriage, thinks the defense budget should be cut and that the U.S. should consider withdrawing from the middle east, and that “maybe itai??i??s going to require some tax increases” to address the budget deficit
This produced the following headline in Politico: “David Koch breaks from GOP on gay marriage, taxes, defense cuts.”
But all of this begs the question — why should we take Koch at his word? Isn’t it possible that he is simply trying to repair his image in the face of criticism? After all, if Koch really believes these things, then why is he putting up countless millions of dollars to promote causes and organizations that believe the opposite?
Here’s a rundown of a small sample of the organizations that David Koch and his brother have funded:
Americans for Tax Reform:Ai??The goal of this group led by Grover Norquist is ostensibly to battle any form of tax increase. It even asks lawmakers to sign a pledge to never vote for any tax increase ever. It has received at least $40,000 in Koch foundation money from 2005 to 2010.
The Heritage Foundation: This organization, which is against marriage equality, tax increases, and reducing defense spending, has received at least $2,738,571Ai?? from Koch foundations from 2005 to 2010.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce: This anti-tax corporate front group got $100,000 from David Koch’s foundation in 2010.
The Koch brothers also were recently in a legal feud with the Cato Institute, one organization that does back marriage equality and a reduced defense budget. The Koch brothers actually wanted to push the organization towards more mainstream Republican Party stands, not towards unorthodoxy.
During aAi??separateAi??interview at the convention, Koch defended the ability for billionaires to give unlimited amounts of money in the political system, saying that this was tantamount to their ability to “speak out.” So by giving to these organizations, he is essentially speaking through them, by his own logic.
It is possible — not likely, but possible — that Koch recently changed his mind, and decided to back away from numerous right-wing causes at once. But if that is true, then he should put his money where his mouth is — stop funding these organizations and rebuke their behavior. But we’re not holding our breath waiting for that to happen.