David Koch, having a lot of time helping undermine the fight against climate change so thoroughly that it’ll be a miracle if we can pull humanity’s collective ass out of this fire, has checked out and left the rest of us with the bill.
The New York Times reported that Koch has died at 79. With his even more hardcore brother Charles, he co-founded and supported Americans for Prosperity, “the right-wing advocacy group that was widely reported to have provided logistical backing for the Tea Party and other organizations in election campaigns and the promotion of conservative causes.” One of those causes, integrally related to the Kochs’ financial best interests as people who’ve made a boatload of money off fossil fuels at Koch Industries, was the fight against the fight against climate change. The New York Times explained in a piece about the GOP’s current relationship to the subject of global warming: often declining to offer even lip service to the idea:
Unshackled by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision and other related rulings, which ended corporate campaign finance restrictions, Koch Industries and Americans for Prosperity started an all-fronts campaign with television advertising, social media and cross-country events aimed at electing lawmakers who would ensure that the fossil fuel industry would not have to worry about new pollution regulations.
Their first target: unseating Democratic lawmakers such as Representatives Rick Boucher and Tom Perriello of Virginia, who had voted for the House cap-and-trade bill, and replacing them with Republicans who were seen as more in step with struggling Appalachia, and who pledged never to push climate change measures.
But Americans for Prosperity also wanted to send a message to Republicans.
Nor did Koch’s supposed liberality on social issues like abortion and same-sex marriage stop their money from trickling right on down to anti-abortion groups. According to a 2013 Rewire investigation:
Rewire’s review of tax records filed by the Center to Protect Patient Rights (CPPR), taken together with a Politico report on the tax records of Freedom Partners, show these so-called free-market organizations, both linked to the Koch brothers, dispensing tens of millions of dollars to groups whose mission it is to end reproductive rights. CPPR was founded in 2009, and is described by the Los Angeles Times as “a primary conduit for anonymous political money in the 2010 midterm [congressional] election.” Freedom Partners was founded two years later, just in time to help shape the landscape of the 2012 presidential, congressional, and legislative races.
The right-wing movement he helped nurture is also doing incalculable damage to the social safety net and will continue to fight any attempt to make this country a better place to live, all in the name of freedom and individual liberty. We’re going to spend the rest of our lives living with the consequences of his decisions.