In the recent
cry baby whine letter Philip Ellender, President of Government & Public Affairs for Koch Companies Public Sector LLC sent to Jim Messina, Campaign Manager of Obama for America, Ellender wrote that the political antics of the Koch brothers are not partisan politics, but merely a principled defense of holy mother "Free Market."
Yeah, well, that's not what they're saying over at the Cato Institute, where the Kochs used their power this past week to force new Koch operatives onto the Board of Directors. Reportedly, the Kochs are strong-arming the Cato Institute and trying to take control of the Board because the Kochs feel Cato is not doing enough to defeat President Obama's re-election.
Details below the Orange Squiggle of Power.
In his letter to Messina and the Obama campaign, top Koch factotum Ellender wrote:
Contrary to your assertion that we have “committed $200 million to try to destroy President Obama,” we have stated publicly and repeatedly since last November that we have never made any such claim or pledge. It is hard to imagine that the campaign is unaware of our publicly stated position on that point. Similarly, Americans for Prosperity is not simply “funded by the Koch brothers,” as you state — rather it has tens of thousands of members and contributors from across the country and from all walks of life. Further, our opposition to this President’s policies is not based on partisan politics but on principles.
Well, according to a senior fellow at the Cato Institute:
Last Thursday, [Koch brothers] used their shares to force another four new board members on us (the most that their shares would allow at any given meeting); Charles Koch, Ted Olson (hired council for Koch Industries), Preston Marshall (the largest shareholder of Koch Industries save for Charles and David), and Andrew Napolitano (a frequent speaker at Koch-sponsored events). Those four – who had not previously been involved with Cato either financially or organizationally – were likewise opposed by every member of our board save for Gentry, Pfotenhauer, and David Koch. To make room for these Koch operatives, we were forced to remove four long-time, active board members, two of whom were our biggest donors. At this moment, the Kochs now control seven of our 16 board seats, two short of outright control.
Why are they forcing out Cato board members, all strong, principled libertarians who have been heavily involved with Cato – financially and organizationally – for years? The answer was given in early November of last year when David Koch, Richard Fink (he of many Koch hats), and Kevin Gentry met with Cato board chairman Bob Levy. They told Bob that they intended to use their board majority to remove Ed Crane from Cato and transform our Institute into an intellectual ammo-shop for American for Prosperity and other allied (presumably, Koch-controlled) organizations. That statement of intent is certainly consistent with what we’ve been hearing from both Kevin Gentry and Nancy Pfotenauer. They’ve frequently complained during their short time on our board that Cato wasn’t doing enough to defeat President Obama in November and that we weren’t working closely enough with grass roots activists like those at AFP. (Emphasis mine)....
Let’s take a look at a few of these new board members of ours. Kevin Gentry is a social conservative activist who’s also vice-chair of the Virginia GOP. Nancy Pfotenauer is a former spokesperson for the McCain campaign who has argued on television in favor of theIraqwar and the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy pertaining to gays in the military.
According to this account, Gentry and Pfotenauer were forced onto the Cato Board of Directors by the Kochs last year.