INFLYTANDE | Bröderna Koch är ägare till USA:s näst största privata företag. Sedan 1970-talet ägnar man sig även åt politisk påverkan.
I det senaste valet drev man en mycket aktiv anti-Obama kampanj. En av de organisationer som har varit aktivt involverade i opinionsbildningen är Americans for Prosperity som startades av David Koch 2004.
The Huffington Post rapporterade i februari 2012 att Charles Koch själv lovade bidra med 40 miljoner dollar för att besegra Barack Obama.
På senaste listan över ”The World’s Most Powerful People” – som sammanställs av tidskriften Forbes – hamnar bröderna på plats 41.
Trots valförlusten ser det inte ut som om bröderna kommer att ge upp. Nu skall man analysera valet för att lära sig vad som gick fel.
Daniel Fisher skriver i Forbes:
Charles’ many critics on the left–including the President of the United States–accuse him of accumulating too much power and using it to promote his own economic interests through a network of secretive organizations they call the “Kochtopus.” Ironically, the Koch brothers believe they’re fighting against power, at least in the political realm. For the Kochs the real power is central government, which can tax entire industries into oblivion, force a citizen to buy health insurance and bring mighty corporations like Koch Industries to heel.
“Most power is power to coerce somebody,” says Charles, in a voice that sounds like Jimmy Stewart with a Kansas twang. “We don’t have the power to coerce anybody.”
The November elections–which David, in a separate interview shortly after the results were finalized, termed “bitterly disappointing”–seem to confirm Charles’ last point. Not even the Koch brothers, who spent tens of millions of dollars during this election cycle (they won’t disclose the exact amount) funding direct political contributions and issue-driven “nonprofits,” could coerce voters to back their candidates. Mitt Romney’s loss was a huge blow to them, both in terms of likely policy outcomes and personal reputation.
But those who think the brothers, older and chastened, will now fade away don’t understand the Kochs. Not a bit. Obama’s victory was just a blip on a master plan measured in decades, not election cycles. “We raised a lot of money and mobilized an awful lot of people, and we lost, plain and simple,” says David. “We’re going to study what worked, what didn’t work, and improve our efforts in the future. We’re not going to roll over and play dead.”
So their revolution has been an evolution, with roots going back half a century to Koch’s first contributions to libertarian causes and Republican candidates. In the mid-1970s their business of changing minds got more formal when Charles cofounded what became the Cato Institute, the first major libertarian think tank. Based in Washington, it has 120 employees devoted to promoting property rights, educational choice and economic freedom. In 1978 the brothers helped found–and still fund–George Mason University’s Mercatus Center, the go-to academy for deregulation; they have funded the Federalist Society, which shapes conservative judicial thinking; the pro-market Heritage Foundation; a California-based center skeptical of human-driven climate change; and many other institutions.
All of these organizations, unknown to 99% of the population, and their common source of support, unknown to most of the rest, have provided the grist for conservative thinking since Reagan.
While Charles, more diplomatic as the steward of the business, avoids throwing partisan bombshells, David, who lives in New York City and whose main activities surround philanthropy and politics, is less shy. And he has a message for anyone who thinks the Kochs won’t be a factor in 2016 and beyond: “We’re going to fight the battle as long as we breathe. We want to bequeath to our children a better and more prosperous America.” That means more of the same tactics, as well as whatever new ones election lawyers cook up.
Läs mer: “Bad Blood: Meet Bill And Frederick, The Other Kochs” i Forbes och “Charts: How Much Have the Kochs Spent on the 2012 Election?” i Mother Jones.
Övrigt: Tidskriftsomslaget är Forbes den 14 december 2012.