Rachel Maddow: Koch Brothers 'Pop Up In Every Scummy Political Scandal'
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Monday, Think Progress released a video that showed Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown slavishly fawning over David Koch and begging him for money. "Your support during the election, it meant a ton. It made a difference and I can certainly use it again," said Brown on the tape.
Brown's gross display of subservience is only the latest reminder of the right-wing billionaire brothers' shockingly outsized influence on our politics. Over the past year, progressive journalists, including AlterNet's Adele Stan, have documented the Koch brothers' role in promoting the conservative agenda, from helping fund the Tea Party movement to supporting Gov. Walker's union-busting efforts in Wisconsin. Thanks to a prank in which blogger Ian Murphy posed as David Koch in a phone call to Governor Walker, the Koch brothers have become more visible than ever. Signs calling Walker a "Koch-conspirator" and, more bluntly, a "Koch-whore" have proliferated at pro-labor rallies in Wisconsin and throughout the country.
(In a comically tone-deaf response in a NY Times interview, David Koch lamented that the prank may have hindered his ability to get immediate access to any politician he wants to in the future:
I was thinking to myself, "My God, if I called up a senator or a congressman to discuss something with them, and they heard ‘David Koch is on the line,’ they’d immediately say, ‘That’s that fraud again — tell him to get lost!'" he said with a laugh.
Last night, Rachel Maddow chronicled all the ways the brothers have interfered in recent political developments. The transcript is below, followed by a video of the segment.
Rachel Maddow: Wanna see one of the Koch brothers get begged for money by a real, live, sitting U.S. senator on tape? Want to?
Scott Brown: Your support during the election, it meant a ton. It made a, it made a difference and I could certainly use it again. Obviously...
David Koch: When are you running for the next term?
Brown: ’12, it's coming I’m in the cycle right now, so we’re already banging away.
Maddow: Already banging away. Think Progress posted that clip of Massachusetts Republican Senator Scott Brown – my senator – telling the real David Koch how important that Koch brothers money was to him, and how he could really, really, really, use some more, please. And the Koch brothers have in fact been very good to Scott Brown. In November 2009 when Scott Brown’s race was really the only impending Republican Senate race, David Koch gave just over $30,000 to the Republican Party Senate Campaign Committee, the NRSC. The brothers' Koch industries PAC gave the committee another $15,000 at that time, and they gave Mr. Brown’s campaign $5,000 directly. The Koch Industries PAC has also given tens of thousands of dollars to another Republican Scott -- this guy, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, which is probably why impersonating David Koch was able to get Governor Walker on the phone last month for 20 minutes in the middle of what was supposedly a very engrossing state budget crisis.
Repercussions from the prank call to Governor Walker continue reverberating for the governor. Not least because in that call he tipped his strategy. He explained how he would try to trick Democrats into coming back to the state capitol, thus affording the senate a quorum to pass his union stripping thing. He also explained how he would use the threat of laying off state workers for its political effect. Well, now that prank call is giving Governor Walker a whole new headache. Wisconsin state Democrats have filed an ethics complaint over what Governor Walker said to the guy he thought was David Koch, over what Governor Walker said to the man he believed was the oil billionaire who had funded his campaign, and specifically they are raising ethical concerns about this part: