Sunday, July 3, 2011

8 Signs Your Governor Has a Koch Problem

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By Andy Richards

The addiction of governors across the country to the Koch brothers’ agenda seems to be growing stronger every day. Here are some warning signs your governor might have a Koch problem:

1. Are they planning on attending the upcoming Koch brothers invitation-only strategy session in ritzy Vail, Colorado?

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell has already confirmed his attendance. Just because your governor hasn’t announced his or her attendance doesn’t mean he or she is not planning on going. The Koch brothers hold biannual seminars but like to keep their strategy sessions secret so they don’t out their followers. If you have the opportunity, ask them!

2. Did your governor support attacks on collective bargaining rights for public service workers?

The Koch brothers’ front group, Americans for Prosperity, pushed attacks on the collective bargaining rights of firefighters, teachers, nurses, police officers and other public service workers in Wisconsin and Ohio and other states. During the Wisconsin struggle, Gov. Scott Walker was recorded taking a call from a prank caller he thought was David Koch and openly discussed the assault on working families.

3. Is your governor pushing massive tax breaks that would benefit the Koch brothers and other corporate cronies?

The Koch brothers fought hard for the Bush tax cuts to continue in December but they also took their fight for tax breaks for the rich to their Koch-addicted governors. In Ohio, Gov. John Kasich taped a personal thank you video for Americans for Prosperity for the group’s work pushing a repeal of the estate tax, which would only benefit the rich in Ohio.

4. Was your governor working to destroy environmental standards that would pay for their Koch addiction?

The Koch brothers—who own stakes in companies that purchase oil, ethanol and toxic chemicals—have long advocated against environmental standards and regulations in order to enrich themselves. Now, they are using their connections to governors like Scott Walker, John Kasich and Michigan Gov. John Snyder to push through their agenda to destroy policies that keep our neighborhoods free of pollution and water safe to drink.

5. Is your governor pushing privatization of schemes that would benefit the Koch brothers?

As collateral to satisfy their Koch addiction, many governors are handing over public assets and services to companies the Koch brothers have a stake in. The Wisconsin budget repair bill included language that was a blatant handout to Koch Industries.

6. Has your governor been behind efforts to suppress the vote and disenfranchise voters?

In order to maintain their stranglehold over governors and other legislators, the Koch brothers and their front group American for Prosperity have worked to get bills passed that would disenfranchise millions of voters across the country. In North Carolina, Americans for Prosperity bused in people to support a voter ID bill.

7. Does your governor and state legislators operate in secrecy and change the rules of the game to push their agenda?

One of the egregious examples of the Koch brothers influence in silencing democracy and allowing governors to operate in secrecy is Michigan’s emergency manager law. This law allows Gov. Rick Snyder to appoint an emergency manager to rule over cities and void decisions elected officials have made in the past. The Mackinac Center for Public Policy, which is founded through contributions from the Koch brothers, has been advocating for an emergency manager law since 2005.

8. Does your governor have a debt to pay to the Koch brothers after accepting money from them in the last election?

Based on numbers from the National Institute on Money in State Politics, the Koch brothers gave more than $600,000 to candidates in 2010 alone.

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