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'Citizens United' And The Koch Brothers

“Citizen Koch.” A new documentary goes hard on the Koch Brothers and their imprint on American politics.

In this Aug. 30, 2013 file photo, Americans for Prosperity Foundation Chairman David Koch speaks in Orlando, Fla.  (AP)

In this Aug. 30, 2013 file photo, Americans for Prosperity Foundation Chairman David Koch speaks in Orlando, Fla. (AP)

Everyone knows the story of big money blowing up in American politics.  It’s happening again right now, for mid-term elections and the 2016 vote ahead.  Filmmakers Carl Deal and Tia Lessin went out to show how it really works, on the ground.  Not just big money.  Super-sized money.  They named their documentary “Citizen Koch” – as in the billionaire Koch brothers.  Then things really got hairy.  Funding pulled.  Kickstarter to the rescue.  The push for a constitutional amendment on campaign spending.  This hour On Point:  giant money in our politics and “Citizen Koch.”

— Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Carl Deal, documentary filmmaker. Co-director and co-producer of the new documentary “Citizen Koch.” Also director of the Oscar-nominated documentary “Trouble the Water.”

Tia Lessin, documentary filmmaker. Co-director and co-producer of the new documentary “Citizen Koch.” Also director of the Oscar-nominated documentary “Trouble the Water.”

Hans von Spakovsky, manager of the Election Law Reform Initiative and a senior legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation. (@HvonSpakovsky)

Bill Allison, editorial director at the Sunlight Foundation. Co-author of “The Cheating of America” and “The Buying of the President 2004.” (@bill_allison)

From Tom’s Reading List

Washington Post: An amazing map of the Koch brothers massive political network — The political network spearheaded by conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch has expanded into a far-reaching operation of unrivaled complexity, built around a maze of groups that cloaks its donors, according to an analysis of new tax returns and other documents. The filings show that the network of politically active nonprofit groups backed by the Kochs and fellow donors in the 2012 elections financially outpaced other independent groups on the right and, on its own, matched the long-established national coalition of labor unions that serves as one of the biggest sources of support for Democrats.”

New Yorker: Covert Operations — “The Kochs are longtime libertarians who believe in drastically lower personal and corporate taxes, minimal social services for the needy, and much less oversight of industry—especially environmental regulation. These views dovetail with the brothers’ corporate interests. In a study released this spring, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst’s Political Economy Research Institute named Koch Industries one of the top ten air polluters in the United States. And Greenpeace issued a report identifying the company as a ‘kingpin of climate science denial.'”

The Wall Street Journal: Charles Koch: I’m Fighting to Restore a Free Society — “A truly free society is based on a vision of respect for people and what they value. In a truly free society, any business that disrespects its customers will fail, and deserves to do so. The same should be true of any government that disrespects its citizens. The central belief and fatal conceit of the current administration is that you are incapable of running your own life, but those in power are capable of running it for you. This is the essence of big government and collectivism.”

Watch A Trailer For “Citizen Koch”

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