Koch Brothers v. Health Reform
By Robert Greenwald and Jesse Lava Do all roads lead to Koch? Conservative activists will rally at the Supreme Court tomorrow to encourage the overturn of the Affordable Care Act. The “Hands Off My Health Care” protest—which will feature the likes of Rep. Michelle Bachmann and Sens. Jim DeMint and Rand Paul—is being organized by Americans for Prosperity, a right-wing group financed by industrialists Charles and David Koch. The billionaire brothers provided the seed money to get this organization off the ground and have donated at least $5 million overall (possibly a lot more) to its operations. David Koch still serves as the group’s chairman. These facts belie the image that Americans for Prosperity would like to present as a humble grassroots organization. The stories we see today about regular Americans coming to D.C. to protest evil health reform are directly attributable to the corporate interests that the Koch brothers represent. Yet the Kochs’ impact on the current court battle doesn’t end there. Group after group participating in the lawsuit to destroy the Affordable Care Act is a beneficiary of the Koch brothers’ largess—reflecting the outsized influence that these guys wield in our political debate. Indeed, one wonders whether this effort would be happening at all if not for these two billionaires with a direct interest in avoiding government regulation. One of the most important groups in this case is the National Federation of Independent Business, which is bringing one of the lawsuits now before the Supreme Court. This group has received $88,000 from the Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation, which is controlled by none other than Charles Koch. Several organizations that have filed amicus briefs with the Supreme Court have received substantial donations from the Koch family as well. These groups include:
- Competitive Enterprise Institute: $666,420
- Pacific Research Institute: $270,000
- Texas Public Policy Foundation: $74,500
- Freedom Works: $5 million
- Cato Institute: approximately $30 million.
- Family Research Council: brief co-authored by attorney Nelson Lund, a professor at George Mason University, which has received $29,604,354.
- Galen Institute: “partner organization” of the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation; extent of donations unknown.
- Landmark Legal Foundation: $5000