Tuesday, June 10, 2014

One Way Kochs Are Like Rihanna

Thinly veiled. That's what the billionaire Koch brothers have in common with the pop star Rihanna.

First the Kochs unleashed a $900,000 TV ad blitz to support Governor Scott Walker's policies and boost his reelection fortunes. As we've noted, this advertising campaign is underwritten by Americans for Prosperity Foundation, the Kochs' tax-exempt 501(c)(3) charitable organization that is not supposed to use any resources to participate or intervene in political campaigns.

Now AFPF is stuffing mailboxes across the state with a full-color glossy flyer that likewise sings the praises of Walker's signature legislative accomplishment and plays off his pet slogan "open for business."

Leaving no political button unpushed, the mailer invokes the theme of the iconic 1984 "Morning in America" ad appealing to voters to keep Ronald Reagan in the White House. It proclaims that "Wisconsin is working again" and is "back on the right track." Then the Kochs take credit for it all, boasting that "Wisconsin is enjoying better days and a brighter future" because "we passed the Budget Repair Act" otherwise known as Act 10.

This is electioneering, obvious to everyone but the current crop of judges, lawmakers and election officials who study it and mysteriously conclude this kind of message has no political purpose whatsoever. Because it lacks the requisite political purpose in the eyes of these beholders, billionaires like Charles and David Koch can spend a not-so-small fortune on this "free" speech, propagandize the state's population about the blessings of their agenda, get a tax deduction courtesy of American taxpayers to defray their expenses, all the while avoiding public disclosure of their activities.

Put another way, according to the prevailing law of the land, this flyer is an act of charity. It promotes social welfare. It does not promote Scott Walker's reelection in any way, shape or form. It is not a political ad.

The prevailing law of the land is an absurdity. And it is an obscenity, a thin veil over an ugly truth, namely the purchasing of our government by modern-day robber barons.

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