Of all people, conservative energy mogul and billionaire super-contributor Charles Koch complained Thursday in a newspaper opinion column about the unfair influence of corporations and the “privileged few” in political decisions.
“Our lawmakers must act on behalf of all Americans — not just the privileged few,” Koch wrote in a startling statement in The Washington Post.
“When large companies can pressure politicians to force everyday Americans to fork over unearned millions we should all question the fairness of the system,” Koch concludes.
He also wrote: “Our entire economy is rife with cronyism.”
Everyday Americans forking over unearned millions — to make up for slashing the corporate rate and estate taxes for the wealthy — could be a description of what just happened in the new tax law, which was vigorously supported by Koch.
Koch, along with his brother, David, and Koch Industries have contributed millions of dollars to political campaigns and issue battles to get their hard-line libertarian, corporate-friendly laws passed.
The Koch brothers, worth an estimated $100 billion together, have become the gorillas of dark money contributions distorting American democracy since the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which opened the door to unlimited campaign contributions from corporations, unions and wealthy individuals to outside groups.
The Koch brothers spent tens of millions of dollars to get the tax law passed and continue to build support for it. The changes are expected to save the brothers and their company more than $1 billion a year in taxes. Charles Koch, his wife and Koch Industries gave Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and his political action committee $500,000 in campaign contributions just days after the House passed its version of the tax bill.
Koch wrote his op-ed article because he didn’t get his way this time. He’s opposed to the aluminum and steel tariffs Donald Trump announced Thursday. He believes free trade, without such tariffs, creates the healthiest economy and the “most tolerant” society. The tariffs will cost American jobs, “increase prices, limit choices, reduce competition and inhibit innovation,” he wrote.
As for his own corporate influence in politics, Koch insists he has used his financial clout only for the common good. “We only support policies that are based on equality under the law and that help people improve their lives,” he said.
Koch’s complaints about corporate influence in politics were too much for some people to bear, with several on Twitter noting how the Koch brothers have fought health care for “everyday Americans.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) slammed Koch’s donation to Ryan for getting a “massive tax cut at working families’ expense.” Another comment on Twitter quipped that Koch wanted a “refund on the politicians he bought.”
Still another jokingly welcomed Koch to “The Resistance.”