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Koch Brother Buys Professors At Public University to Spread Free Market Propaganda -- Is Public Education the Kochs' Next Front?

The latest Koch brother affront is an "unheard of" breach of academic freedom--a donation to FSU only on the condition they can oversee the faculty appointees.

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While this may be the first time the Kochs have directly attempted to influence a public university in such a way, their actions in regards to freedom of expression have recently been trending directly against their so-called libertarian principles.

The Nation recently reported that the duo have cracked down on freedom of thought within their own massive corporate structures, telling employees how to vote and inundating them with right-wing fear-mongering talking points--something that would have been illegal in the pre C itizens-United era.

On the eve of the November midterm elections, Koch Industries sent an urgent letter to most of its 50,000 employees advising them on whom to vote for and warning them about the dire consequences to their families, their jobs and their country should they choose to vote otherwise.

The Nation obtained the Koch Industries election packet for Washington State—which included a cover letter from its president and COO, David Robertson; a list of Koch-endorsed state and federal candidates; and an issue of the company newsletter, Discovery, full of alarmist right-wing propaganda.

Legal experts interviewed for this story called the blatant corporate politicking highly unusual....

Between this recently exposed move in Florida, the election-eve emails detailed above, and the recent attacks on professors' academic freedom in both Wisconsin and Michigan, as AlterNet has extensively covered, these kinds of once-hallowed academic spaces are clearly the next frontier of the right-wing ideological crusades.

This kind of action would indicate that the Kochs and their ilk are not content to fertilize ultra-conservative thought at ultra-conservative think tanks but have moved on to using the shock doctrine of economic hardship to turn the once safe-spaces of public universities into an intellectual breeding ground for their own supporters.

Sarah Seltzer is an associate editor at AlterNet, a staff writer at RH Reality Check and a freelance writer based in New York City. Her work has been published in Jezebel.com and on the websites of the Nation, the Christian Science Monitor and the Wall Street Journal. Find her at sarahmseltzer.com.