Koch Footprints Lead to Political Powder Keg: Exposing the Far Right's Secret Slush Fund to Keep Fear Alive
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There are shades of Charles Koch all over Donors Capital and Donors Trust. Two grantees receiving repeat and sizeable grants from Donors Capital are favorites of the Koch foundations: George Mason University Foundation and Institute for Humane Studies. Another tie is Claire Kittle. A project of Donor’s Trust is Talent Market.org, a headhunter for staffing nonprofits with the “right” people. Ms. Kittle serves as Talent Market’s Executive Director and was the former Program Officer for Leadership and Talent Development at the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation. Then there is Whitney Ball, President of both Donors Capital Fund and Donors Trust. Ms. Ball was one of the elite guests at the invitation-only secret Aspen bash thrown by Charles Koch in June of this year, as reported by ThinkProgress.org. Also on the guest list for the Koch bash was Stephen Moore, a member of the Editorial Board at the Wall Street Journal. Mr. Moore is a Director at Donors Capital Fund. Rounding out the ties that bind is Lauren Vander Heyden, who serves as Client Services Coordinator at Donors Trust. Ms. Vander Heyden previously worked as grants coordinator and policy analyst at the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation.
Legal counsel for the Kochs has declined to respond to two emails with a week’s lead time seeking clarification of the relationship the Kochs have to Donors Capital and Donors Trust.
What remains unclear is the underlying donor within Donors Capital who made the large sum possible. Was it a joint effort by wealthy donors to boost Senator McCain’s presidential aspirations? Was it a single Islamophobe? While the DVDs were hitting the front lawns bundled in newspapers, the Clarion Fund posted an endorsement for McCain as President on its web site, a legal breach for a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit. When it was outed by the media, it quickly removed the endorsement. What is certain is that the donor(s) had every reason to believe they would never be discovered. The organization advises contributors on its web site: “Unlike with private foundations, gifts from your account will remain as anonymous as you request.”
Prior to this sophisticated and expensive media campaign in the final approach to election day, “Obsession” was part of the 2007 college road show headed by the lefty turned radical right, David Horowitz (who dramatically improved his tax bracket by discovering the greatest threat to America’s future was radical Islam, just before the rest of the country discovered the greatest threat to America’s future was home grown terrorists with algorithms and high speed computers on Wall Street trading floors. While Mr. Horowitz had a fourth of the country gazing at variations of Hitler’s mustache, the underpinnings of America’s financial infrastructure were imploding right under our noses.) Mr. Horowitz joins the swelling ranks of pundits and academicians earning a fat living from tax subsidized nonprofits while railing against government welfare. His pay at his nonprofit, Freedom Center, was a sweet $480,162 in 2008, the most recent tax filing available on line. Total salaries and benefits at the Center represented 40 per cent of revenues in 2008.
Throughout the fall of 2007, and continuing into 2008, Mr. Horowitz promoted his “Islamo-Fascism Awareness” program to more than 100 college campuses, with the film “Obsession” made available for viewing. His Freedom Center established a program and web site called Terrorism Awareness Project, which linked with conservative student groups on campus.
Was there a nexus between Mr. Horowitz’s drive to promote the film and it being later bankrolled by a super wealthy libertarian nonprofit? What we do know for sure is that the far right has assembled a $6 billion interlinked machine of think-tanks, lobbyists, PACs, astroturf front groups, media sycophants, endowed professorships, state-based political fronts and now even their own centralized headhunter; all to throw us off the scent that the real threat to the poor and middle class in America is corporate domination.