WASHINGTON, D.C. April 4, 2011 - A growing number of American people are concerned about the influence of special interests in our debate and the real effects it can have on public policy. Today, the Center for American Progress Action Fund released a report that sheds light on the vast network of influence the Koch brothers have built in recent decades. Using their considerable wealth and connections, the Koch brothers are key players in bankrolling right-wing political action groups, think tanks, and individual politicians, using this array of political power to advance their ideological agenda in numerous policy spheres: energy and climate, net neutrality, labor policy, healthcare policy, clean elections legislation and efforts to regulate Wall Street.
This report will showcase the players involved in the Koch network, where they operate, and the substantial amounts of money involved. The report also exposes the Koch right-wing ideological agenda that often protects their business interests. Below are the key findings of this report:
* Industry in 45 states. The Koch brothers, whose wealth, when combined, is the fourth highest in the nation, run one of the largest private companies in the country. Koch Industries is involved in industries ranging from oil and gas, refining and chemicals, minerals, fertilizers, forestry, consumer products, polymers and fibers, and ranching. They have operations in 45 states.
* Grassroots for big business. The Koch brothers use their considerable wealth to bankroll the right wing, including the Tea Party. This serves the purpose of furthering not only their right-wing ideology but also their bottom line. Koch Industries has a lot to gain from gutting government oversight and electing candidates who oppose government regulation, especially in the oil-and-gas industry.
* $85 million to 85 think tanks. Identification of at least $85 million the Koch brothers have given to at least 85 right-wing think tanks and advocacy groups over the past decade and a half.
* $45 million in the last election. Their main advocacy group, Americans for Prosperity, has chapters in 32 states and spent $45 million in the last election, predominantly to help elect Republicans.
* Over 70% of the GOP Freshman. The Kochs donated directly to 62 of the 87 members of the House GOP freshman class.
* State organizing. The Koch brothers are active at the state level, spending $5.2 million on candidates and ballot measures in 34 states since 2003. They donated directly to 13 governors that won election last year.
* 2012. The Kochs are not going away. In fact, they have already pledged to raise $88 million for the 2012 election and have started scheduling events for potential Republican presidential candidates.
Tony Carrk is Policy Director of the CAP Action War Room.
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