March 8, 2011- It is often said that you can judge a person by the company they keep.
If this is true, it is small wonder that billionaire libertarians Charles and David Koch have become notorious in the eyes of many Americans.
Tim Phillips, the man who heads up the Americans For Prosperity group that serves as a political front for the brothers Koch (David serves as Chairman of the organization), and is leading the effort to support Gov. Scott Walker’s attempt to neuter the public employee unions in Wisconsin, is a key cog in the Koch political machine – earning in excess of $250,000 for his services in 2009 (latest tax filing data available.)
Following Mr. Phillips’ career is like tiptoeing through some of the most notable political dirty tricks and lobbying scandals in modern history.
Here is a sampling of some of Phillips’ ‘greatest hits’.
In 1997, Phillips hooked up with Christian Coalition boss, Ralph Reed, to create Century Strategies, a political strategy and direct marketing group. The firm advertised themselves as being dedicated to mounting ‘grassroots lobbying campaigns’ and exploiting their ability to impact on legislation by using their strong connections to the leaders in the Christian community.
The new business got off to a nice start when Karl Rove referred their first major corporate client – Enron. While Century Strategies efforts to pressure Congress to alter energy policy in ways that benefited their client paid off – both in legislative success for Enron and financial success for Phillips and Reed- there is little to suggest that anything they did was unethical.
But many opportunities would lay ahead as the firm entered the big time when Phillips and Reed joined up with notorious lobbyist and future convict, Jack Abramoff.
It was the Northern Mariana Islands, a small speck of land in the Atlantic that provided Phillips and Reed with the opportunity to show what they could really do.
The Marianas are a U.S. protectorate and, as a result of their status, manufacturing done on the island qualifies the goods they produce to be labeled “Made In The USA.”
Unfortunately, the working conditions on the island brought the meaning of ’sweat shop’ to unprecedented lows.