The infamous conservative Republican financiers Charles and David Koch had a family connection to the Nazis, a new book reveals.
Jane Mayer, the New Yorker journalist who was among the first mainstream writers to document the Kochs’ multi-million dollar campaign to effectively take over the Republican Party and the larger conservative movement, uncovers the connection in her new book, Dark Money.
The book, “Dark Money,” by Jane Mayer, traces the rise of the modern conservative movement through the activism and money of a handful of rich donors: among them Richard Mellon Scaife, an heir to the Mellon banking fortune, and Harry and Lynde Bradley, brothers who became wealthy in part from military contracts but poured millions into anti-government philanthropy.
But the book is largely focused on the Koch family, stretching back to its involvement in the far-right John Birch Society and the political and business activities of their father, Fred C. Koch, who found some of his earliest business success overseas in the years leading up to World War II. One venture was a partnership with the American Nazi sympathizer William Rhodes Davis, who, according to Ms. Mayer, hired Mr. Koch to help build the third-largest oil refinery in the Third Reich, a critical industrial cog in Hitler’s war machine.
The Kochs, who are among two of the wealthiest individuals in America, stand atop an industrial giant – Koch Industries – that has previously been fined for being one of the worst polluters in America. The brothers use their fortune to finance a political machine that often pursues goals that would enrich the brothers by pursuing a hardline right wing agenda that favors big business and opposes government oversight and regulation.
The brothers bankroll a network of groups that often hide their spending on political goals under tax laws. That is the “dark money” that Mayer’s book title refers to. The Kochs run groups like Americans for Prosperity, Freedom Partners, the Center to Protect Patients Rights – and then they are also able to flow money towards groups like the NRA, Americans for Tax Reform, and the Club for Growth.
What those groups all have in common is their opposition to progressive ideals and their targeting of progressive and Democratic politicians.
These groups also work at the state level to prop up governors and state legislators. One particularly potent success the Kochs had was helping Wisconsin’s Scott Walker in his campaign to restrict union rights in his state. And the Kochs have cells working towards similar results in all 50 states.
After spending about $400 million on the 2012 election, unsuccessfully trying to dislodge President Obama, the brothers announced plans to spend at least $900 million pushing for conservatives in 2016.
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