Back in August, Adele Stan wrote in the American Prospect “don’t think for a minute” that the billionaire Koch brothers, who together are worth some $82 billion, according to Forbes, aren’t helping Donald Trump.” Trump’s comments Stan characterized as “Trumpy dirt—the calls to violence, the obvious racism and misogyny, the invitation to Russia for cyber espionage on his own country,” drove the Koch support deeper behind the scenes.
The brother’s oil refineries, chemicals, fertilizers and forest products generate estimated annual revenues of $100 billion, and their company is the second-largest privately owned American business after agricultural commodity producer Cargill, according to Forbes magazine.
The thrust of the article was that the Koch brothers generally operate behind the scenes (but more so where Trump was concerned) while all their minions (employees that carry out the of the Koch enterprises, and their clandestine political minions (those people dependent or linked to the ground operation of Americans for Prosperity—or other Koch astroturf outfits, such as Libre Initiative or 60 Plus), do the ground work of helping their preferred candidates get elected.
The nefarious and often secret operations of the Koch brothers has frequently been the focus of journalists. Jane Mayer writes in her book, “Dark Money” about how the Koch’s have helped fund “an interlocking array of organizations” that are designed to “influence and ultimately control academic institutions, think tanks, the courts, statehouses, Congress, and they hoped the presidency.”
Politico wrote back in May of this year, “Representatives of Charles and David Koch, the billionaire industrialists who helped to bankroll the rise of the tea party, warned the brothers could sit out the presidential campaign entirely — or even back Hillary Clinton.”
OUR FREE OPINION
Of course, things have shifted– Donald Trump is now President-Elect. Are we to surmise that the Koch brothers will not try to curry partiality with the new President? Of course not– the Koch’s always go where the money and power is. The real question is whether Donald Trump should capitulate to their anticipated pressures? We think Trump should adhere to his pledges to work for the blue collar independents that put him into office and take measures to arrest the negative influences billionaires have on elected officials. While we cannot be sure that the Koch brothers did not promote Trump behind the scenes, they did not defend him publicly– we think Trump owes them nothing.