They insisted that they adhered to a traditional belief in the liberty of the individual, and in free trade, free markets and freedom from what they called government “intrusions,” including taxes, military drafts, compulsory education, business regulations, welfare programs and laws that criminalized homosexuality, prostitution and drug use.
Fueling the right
Since the 1970s, the Kochs have spent at least $100 million — some estimates put it at much more — to transform a fringe movement into a formidable political force aimed at moving America to the far right by influencing the outcome of elections, undoing limits on campaign contributions and promoting conservative candidacies, think tanks and policies.
But they said they had not given money to any Tea Party candidates. “I’ve never been to a Tea Party event,” David Koch told New York magazine in 2010. “No one representing the Tea Party has ever even approached me.”
Still, he and his brother acknowledged roles in founding and contributing money to 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.
Among the groups they supported was the American Legislative Exchange Council, an organization of conservative state legislators and corporate lobbyists. Alec, as the group is known, drafts model state legislation that members may customize for introduction as proposed laws to cut taxes, combat illegal immigration, loosen environmental regulations, weaken labor unions and oppose gun laws.
As part of their longstanding crusade for lower taxes and smaller government, the Koch brothers in recent years opposed dozens of transit-related initiatives in cities and counties across the country, a review by The New York Times found. Campaigns coordinated and financed by Americas for Prosperity fought state legislation to fund transportation projects, mounted ad campaigns and public forums to defeat transit plans, and organized phone banks to convince citizens that public transit was a waste of taxpayers’ money.
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