The Koch Bros' Constitutional Convention is part of their Starve the Beast strategy to cripple/kill welfare assistance and shield the wealthy and rich corporations from their obligations and responsibilities, not to mention fortressing their wealth against taxes.
The Koch Bros' claim their Constitutional Convention is just for a Balanced Budget Amendment is a lie:
1. If they wanted a balanced budget, they wouldn't have bought multiple tax cuts, driving up budget deficits for the last 40 years
2. No single Amendment ever needed a ConCon
3. There is no way to control what happens at a Constitutional Convention, if the members vote to implement a change or rewrite. It cannot be contained to just one Amendment, regardless of the Koch Bros' promises.
The Koch Bros back a Libertarian agenda that includes the dissolution of numerous agencies/depts that:
- Regulate corporations
- Protect citizens', workers' and voters' rights
- Manage gov't support for our most needy citizens
- Help the nation compete
The detailed agenda for the elimination or subversion of gov't functions essential to a healthy citizenry and functioning democracy was cataloged by the Heritage Foundation, a coordinating think-tank for extremist Libertarian and Dominionist policies.
The Heritage Foundation's chilling agenda for the subversion or dismemberment of the federal gov'ts regulatory and welfare functions has been implemented by GOP legislation while they controlled all three Houses, plus Executive Orders and agency regulation changes.
The level of coordination and concentration of power in the hands of Republican think-tanks and kingmakers is astonishing.
They draft state laws with corporate input via ALEC.
They allow lobbyists to write federal legislation (the Tax Scam bill involved 3,000).
Republican kingmakers like the Koch Bros:
- Nominate candidate judges
- Threaten to, and actually do, run extremist candidates to knock more moderate/less compliant Republicans out of primaries
- Use funding for GOP legislators as a cudgel/carrot
The Republican kingmakers' grip on the party is so powerful that dissident Republicans retired rather than face Koch-backed extremists in their primaries. Examples include:
- Jeff Flake
- Bob Corker
- Darrel Issa
- Ed Royce
- Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
- Ryan Costello
Senate Democrats have expressed concern about the Koch Bros' deep influence through their financial grip on key players in the Trump Administration. But they remain in the minority until 2020.
House Democrats can, and should, pursue this concern.
An even more dangerous influence than the Koch Bros are the Mercers, who backed Trump when his campaign was nearly broke, and injected the racist website Breitbart's Kellyanne Conway and Steve Bannon into his team. The Koch Bros oppose racism; the Mercers seem to endorse it.
The Mercers espouse debunked conspiracy theories, and flout the law.
They own Cambridge Analytica (now rebranded as Emerdata to escape litigation for Brexit and election interference), which Bannon managed.
They knowingly endorsed illegal participation in UK & US votes.
Rebekah Mercer requested that Alexander Nix, CEO of Cambridge Analytica, obtain Hillary Clinton's emails. That would only be possible illegally. Her solicitation of a foreign citizen in a campaign activity was illegal. Rudy Giuliani warned her of that fact beforehand.
Cambridge Analytica engaged US citizens to work on Brexit, which violates UK election law. They provided illegally-obtained Facebook data on US voters to a Russian oil concern, likely acting as a front for the Kremlin.
Robert Mercer owes the IRS $7 billion (not million) in back taxes for hedge fund activities that his company fraudulently classified as exempt from taxes. This liability has been outstanding for years. That's a very strong incentive to interfere with its collection.
Mercer scaled back his support for Trump after a public backlash over his undue influence over the campaign, illegal election-meddling activities via Cambridge Analytica and other companies, and failure to pay back taxes.
How long will that last?
Democrats have placed their fingers on the pulse of dark money, calling out the dangerous influences of corporate and wealthy individuals' donations.
Many are now refusing to accept money from *any* PAC or corporation, and won't participate in soliciting wealthy donors.
The history of the effects of Citizens United demonstrates that the SJC majority's opinion that the Internet and shareholder activism would serve to bridle or effectively oppose wealthy interests' domination of political discourse was naive.
The Supreme Court's opinion in Citizens United made an allowance for relitigation if their assumptions about the negative effects of the ruling on the power of dark money proved wrong.
The past 4 years have proven them wrong. Time for relitigation.
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