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Lee Fang: Are the Koch Brothers Like Martin Luther King, Jr.?

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Author: dianeravitch

Recently the billionaire Koch brothers launched a public relations drive to show that they are good guys, just like you and me. They even allowed a few reporters to attend their usually super-secret meeting with donors at a luxurious place in California. But they were not allowed to reveal the names of the donors. Forget the fact that they plan to spend nearly a billion dollars on the 2016 Presidential race. Like you and me.

The intrepid Lee Fang reports on that meeting and how it relates to the Koch PR makeover.

Fang writes:

“Billionaire conservative activist Charles Koch on Sunday likened his political efforts to the struggles of Martin Luther King Jr. and Frederick Douglass, saying that “we, too, are seeking to right injustices that are holding our country back.”

“We know this because Politico and the Washington Post were allowed to attend Charles and David Koch’s fundraiser at a southern California luxury resort over the weekend, in exchange for a promise from the reporters that they would help keep the names of donors secret.

“They may as well have promised to keep what the donors are actually paying for secret as well.

“The two media organizations dutifully reprinted Koch’s claim that his political network is focused on reforming the criminal justice system, reducing irresponsible government spending and even “helping the lower class.”

“The reality of the Koch political agenda is wildly different.

“Koch executives have gained positive headlines recently by partnering with groups such as the ACLU, the Brennan Center for Justice, and the Pew Charitable Trust to promote alternatives to incarceration and other criminal justice reforms.

“But the political network developed by the Koch brothers — the one that wins policy debates on Capitol Hill and elects favored candidates at the ballot box — has continued to elevate a narrow set of issues relating to upper income taxes and environmental deregulation.

“Americans for Prosperity, the biggest political organ in the sprawling network of groups financed by the Koch brothers, has never lobbied the federal government on criminal justice reform. Rather, disclosures from the group show that it has dedicated its efforts to repealing the estate tax (a tax on heirs inheriting estates worth over $5.43 million), repealing a tax on medical device companies, and undermining Environmental Protection Agency regulations on industrial pollution.

“In Louisiana, a state with one of the highest rates of poverty in the nation, Americans for Prosperity has distributed a pledge to lawmakers, asking state officials to promise not to expand Medicaid, a program that provides healthcare to the poor.”

Read the rest. It gets better–or worse, unless you think that Charles Koch is like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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