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A Reading Guide on the Billionaire Koch Brothers

A Reading Guide on the Billionaire Koch Brothers

Today, ProPublica’s Kim Barker and Theodoric Meyer examine the Kochs’ network of “dark money” groups that spend money on politics and the role of Sean Noble, a former congressional aide, in shaping it. Read their investigation, or browse below for more of the best reporting on the Koch brothers.

Did we miss any? Leave a link in the comments or tweet us with #KochReads.

Covert Operations, The New Yorker, August 2010 Jane Mayer’s profile on the Koch brothers details the libertarian movement that they’ve built and the extent of their influence on politics. From funding climate change denial to opposition of the Obama administration’s policies, Mayer describes how the brothers’ political views “dovetail with [their] corporate interests.”

Koch-Backed Political Coalition, Designed to Shield Donors, Raised $400 Million in 2012, The Washington Post, January 2014 The Washington Post outlines the structure and internal operations of the Koch network in the 2012 elections, including their strategies to protect donor identities and obscure the flow of money.

Koch World 2014, Politico, January 2014 Politico details the Kochs’ plans to roll out “a new, more integrated approach to politics” in 2014. Having learned from their 2012 election letdown, the Kochs are expanding and reorganizing to improve in key areas, including “greater investments in grassroots organizing, better use of voter data and more effective appeals to young and Hispanic voters.”

Largest Dark-Money Donor Groups Share Funds, Hide Links, OpenSecrets, September 2013Tax filings show how dark money groups tied to the Koch brothers have been using “shadow money mailboxes” to obfuscate the identity of their donors. By first funneling donations through subsidiary limited-liability companies, the groups have been able to make it harder to figure out how the money is flowing.

A Federal Budget Crisis Months in the Planning, The New York Times, October 2013Several groups with ties to the Koch brothers helped fund the 2013 congressional battle over Obamacare and the resulting government shutdown. “The current budget brinkmanship is just the latest development in a well-financed, broad-based assault on the health law,” the Times reported. The groups paid for television ads and distributed scripts for people to call members of Congress.  

A Word from our Sponsor, The New Yorker, May 2013 The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer charts a public TV station’s treatment of two documentaries that portrayed David Koch in a negative light. Concerned that one of their major funders would back out, the station offered Koch a chance to respond to the first documentary and aired it along with his comment. The second documentary never aired. Filmmakers said it was because the station began “to fear the reaction [their] film would provoke.”

Kochworld, Texas Observer, October 2012In Corpus Christi’s Hillcrest, where Koch Industries enjoys tax incentives and lax environmental regulations, health problems abound. Despite having faced federal indictments for polluting Corpus Christi’s air and waterways, the Kochs have continued to make millions off of their refineries and have plans to expand. Meanwhile, Hillcrest residents living in the shadow of the Koch refineries are “mired in illness and poverty.”

Inside the Koch Brothers’ Secret Seminar (Audio), Mother Jones, September 2011 In 2011, Mother Jones obtained recordings from the top-secret meeting that the Koch brothers hold twice a year for their wealthy donors. In the recording, the brothers name 32 individuals and families who’d donated over a million dollars — contributions that had previously been secret.

Karl Rove Vs. the Koch Brothers, Politico, October 2011 Up until 2010,Karl Rove and the Koch brothers worked together in spending millions on conservative endeavors. But by 2011, they were at loggerheads as Rove’s advocacy groups pushed for an increase in the debt ceiling as Koch groups opposed raising it. In this article, Politico compares strategies used by Rove and the Kochs to gain political advantages.

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