The ‘hidden face’ behind the Tea Party

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by Bryan Ingram

Lurking behind the political front of the Tea Party is a hidden face calling the shots for a hidden agenda. Billionaire brothers, Charles and David Koch, are throwing millions of dollars at a political campaign by misleading the public and promoting, not the interest of its members, but those of their multi-billion dollar corporation named Koch Industries.

Koch Industries is a multi-faceted company that dabbles in energy, minerals, oil, chemical and consumer products. Extending around the world, Koch products can be found anywhere from the fertilizers in the ground to the paper products in grocery stores. Founded by Charles and David, Koch Industries has grown substantially in the last 40 years to one of the largest private companies in the world. What may appear on the surface as an economic lesson about two brothers running a successful company is really a political story about an agenda-funding machine leading the Tea Party members into a political ambush.

Koch Industries’ political shenanigans were illustrated this year when Governor Walker stirred up political turmoil in Wisconsin. According to a New York Times article by Eric Lipton, Virginia based American’s for Prosperity – a Tea Party organization that was founded and is currently supported by Koch Industries – showed up in Wisconsin’s capital to support Gov. Walker’s public execution of middle-class labor laws. Conveniently Koch Industries is also responsible for largely funding Walkers campaign. If the Koch to Tea Party connection isn’t clear enough, The American’s for Prosperity group created www.standwithwalker.com to support the Walker’s cause.

Still not convinced of the connection? Just go to Koch Industries website. The guilty-conscious content is littered with political commentary, rebuttals to anti-Koch news articles, and – not to be forgotten – many bright blue links to Tea Party organizations such as, The American’s for Prosperity group. Oh yeah, and there are a few pages about the business operations of Koch Industries

What is more important than Koch Industries political affiliation with the Tea Party is how this affects middle-class citizens in Iowa and across the country. According to a University of Massachusetts at Amherst’s Political Economy Research Institute study, Koch Industries is the 10th largest air polluter in the United States. While Koch Industries website suggests their commitment to environmental responsibility, a recent New Yorker article states, “The Koch’s vastly outdid ExxonMobil in giving money to organizations fighting legislation related to climate change.” Which begs the question, what are the real motivations behind the Koch Industries’ involvement with Tea Party groups such as The Americans for Prosperity?

Koch Industries is not the first company to influence policy with money. They’re also not the first to fund a political campaign but they have taken it to a whole new level. In fact, it makes perfect sense. Instead of lobbying current politicians for corporate interest – such as easing labor laws and environmental regulations – why not fund the campaign of politicians that will do it for you? After all, why go through the headache of cutting through all that red tape when you can just bypass it with money, voters, and a couple of sheepish politicians such as Governor Walker.

Unfortunately for Tea Party members, the political issues fueling their party – such as religion, education, and abortion – are not in the corporate interests of Koch Industries. So don’t be surprised when Charles and David Koch steep Tea Party members in hot water, let them dry up, and throw them out as the Koch Brothers enjoy the tea of corporate greed.