To hear the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch tell it, they’re all about business; they don’t give a whit about those messy, so-called “social issues” like abortion, contraception, or same-sex marriage. The billions they dump into the political coffers of the right, they’ll tell you, are to further what they call “free enterprise” (translate: killing unions and regulations on business) and, more generally, “freedom” (by which they generally mean freedom from things they don’t like, such as regulations and unions).
But a blockbuster report published Thursday by Politico reporters Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei shows otherwise. How else to explain why Freedom Partners, a shadowy group that Politico refers to as the “Kochs’ secret bank” gave $8.2 million to the virulently anti-LGBT, anti-abortion Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee (CWALAC), which lobbies for such bills as the recently passed law in Texas that will effectively ban all abortion 20 weeks after fertilization, and includes unnecessary and onerous regulations on abortion clinics that are designed to compel many to close their doors.
At the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, David Koch told Politico’s Ken Vogel that he disagreed with Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s opposition to same-sex marriage. Yet that didn’t stop his Freedom Partners organization from showering the CWALAC with his millions. Here’s what CWALAC says on its website about marriage equality:
CWALAC believes the traditional family consists of one man and one woman joined in marriage, along with any children they may have. We seek to protect traditional values that support the Biblical design of the family.
And on abortion, there’s this:
CWALAC supports the protection of all life from conception until natural death. This includes the consequences resulting from abortion.
And woe unto the teacher who would dare to report a parent for abuse of his or her child:
CWALAC seeks to reform public education by returning authority to parents.
CWALAC also lobbies Congress, and is currently leading opposition to the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would forbid employers from firing an employee because that person is transgender or not heterosexual, and seeking legislation that would allow secular employers to exempt themselves from new regulations that require that employer-provided health plans offer coverage for prescription contraceptives without a co-pay.
Donors to Freedom Partners are drawn from the well-heeled participants in the Koch brothers’ semi-annual conferences, according to the Politico report.
When the Tea Party movement was organized by Koch-funded groups in 2009, great pains were taken to portray the movement as something new, as a spontaneous uprising of patriotic Americans who cared only for the cause of limited government. Never mind, as I wrote then, that the organizing had been entrusted to the old hands of the religious right, people such as Americans for Prosperity President Tim Phillips (a former business partner of Ralph Reed, who made his mark as executive director of Rev. Pat Robertson’s Christian Coalition), and Richard Viguerie, one of the founders of the religious right.
Now, more clearly than ever, it is stamped with the faces of Charles and David Koch. They’re all about business, all right—your business, that is.