AFL-CIO Blog: Big Bucks Help Koch Brothers’ Influence Run Deep on Capitol Hill

April 9, 2011- We’ve reported on the right-wing extremist billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch from their Palm Springs summit meeting with like-minded CEOs and politicians to their heavy support and influence on Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R).

Now a new report from the Center for Public Integrity (CPI) shows the Koch brothers have become some of the biggest spenders on Capitol Hill, where big spenders abound. Since 2008, they have spent more than $40 million, says the CPI report:

to influence federal policy, as the company’s lobbyists and officials sought to mold, gut or kill more than 100 prospective bills or regulations.

Check out these examples from CPI:

•At an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hearing last summer, representatives from Koch Industries argued that moderate levels of the toxic chemical dioxin should not be designated as a cancer risk for humans.
•When members of Congress sought higher security at chemical plants to guard against terrorist attacks, Koch Industries lobbyists prowled Capitol Hill to voice their opposition.
•And when Congress moved to strengthen regulation of the financial markets after recent collapses, Koch Industries—a major commodities and derivatives trader—deployed a phalanx of lobbyists to resist proposed changes.

On top of their direct lobbying spending, they contribute campaign cash to politicians and donate to influential policy groups, CPI writes.

Koch clout is augmented by campaign donations to parties and candidates for federal office—$11 million in the last two decades, according to the Center for Responsive Politics—and generous gifts from three family foundations to universities and conservative organizations and interest groups.


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