Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Koch Network Building A Senate Wall Against Trump

Conservative donor David Koch in a 2013 file photo. The political network he and his brother, Charles, have created is not backing Donald Trump's presidential bid this year. (AP)<?XML:NAMESPACE PREFIX = "[default] http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" NS = "http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" />closemore

Conservative donor David Koch in a 2013 file photo. The political network he and his brother, Charles, have created is not backing Donald Trump's presidential bid this year. (AP)

Four years after Charles and David Koch's political network opened its bank accounts to promote Republican nominee Mitt Romney, it's now spending millions to save the Republicans' Senate majority from their presidential candidate.

This year's Senate ads will focus on issues involving the candidates, not national issues, said James Davis, spokesman for Freedom Partners Action Fund, a superPAC that is doing most of the network's TV ads.

Most of the ads deal with "cronyism and corporate welfare, and/or spending and government over-regulation," Davis told NPR in an interview. "What we see is that there's not a national issue per se that is mobilizing voters or that voters are encouraged or discouraged about."

This strategy marks a reversal from 2012, when Koch ads hammered at Obamacare and other Washington controversies. The network spent $78 million on general-election presidential advertising, according to the Wesleyan Media Project, which tracks political advertising.

The Koch network accounted for 92 percent of the spending by all conservative outside groups in the Obama-Romney fall campaign.

This time around, the network isn't doing anything to help Trump.

In Pennsylvania, where first-term Sen. Pat Toomey is now trailing Democrat Katie McGinty, Koch groups have spent at least $3.5 million, or half of the total conservative spending, according to federal records analyzed by the Center for Responsive Politics.

The latest ad alleges cronyism, one of the elements listed by Davis. McGinty this week asked if Toomey would trust Trump with the nation's nuclear codes, a popular Democratic theme.

That's how the Democrats are playing it — making sure to keep Trump in the debate. Sadie Weiner, spokeswoman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said the Kochs' Trump-free strategy won't work.

"The Republican senators who they're advertising for and spending tens of millions of dollars for, are pretty much unanimously standing with Donald Trump," she said.

Most of those endorsements have been pretty tepid, but still warmer than the relationship between Trump and the Koch brothers.

Trump tweeted a year ago that his primary rivals might be Koch "puppets."

Charles Koch, interviewed by ABC News in April, could hardly have sounded more appalled by Trump's idea to make Muslims register with the government.

"That's reminiscent of Nazi Germany. I mean, that's monstrous," he said.

But the Koch network wouldn't go with Hillary Clinton

"We do not like Ms. Clinton's record," said Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity. "Clearly, on the issues that matter to us, she's just a disaster."

Americans for Prosperity is the network's main organization for ground operations. Phillips said it has about 700 paid staff in 35 states, plus volunteers.

Two other groups are also working in Senate races: The Libre Initiative, focusing on Latino voters, and Concerned Veterans for America.

"We think we can make the biggest difference by focusing very specifically on the issue differences between these Senate candidates," Phillips said.

"The presidential race will absolutely buffet and have an impact on these Senate races. We're just not going to get involved in it."

Above is from:  http://www.wbur.org/npr/490536965/koch-network-building-a-senate-wall-against-trump

Koch brothers investing in state-level Wisconsin lawmakers


August 20, 2016

by Louis Weisberg

After apparently shrugging off the 2016 presidential election, Charles and David Koch are focusing their campaign dollars further down the ballot to maintain control over state governments, according to the Center for Media and Democracy;

CMD intern David Armiak reported that the billionaire brothers, who are the bedrock of the modern Republican Party, have already spent $400 million this year on influencing campaigns around the nation. Some of that money is believed to have gone to Verona Swanigan’s failed campaign to oust Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm.

Chisholm and other district attorneys conducted a “John Doe” probe of Koch-backed groups they suspected of illegally coordinating their campaign activities with those of Gov. Scott Walker during his recall race. Justices who’ve received millions of dollars in campaign contributions from those same Koch-backed groups ruled unconstitutional the law under which the probe was conducted. They ordered the case closed and, in what many called an unprecedented move, they ordered the files destroyed.

The DAs appealed the case the U.S. Supreme Court, which is expected to hear it.

As this election year heats up, Wisconsin is once again in the Koch brothers’ sites.

Below are candidates for state office — all Republicans —  in whom the industrialist titans have already invested this year, Amiak's research revealed.

  • Joel Kitchens (WI-01) is receiving campaign help from Americans for Prosperity’s door-to-door operation. Kitchens also received $500 from KochPAC to Joel Kitchens for Assembly.
  • AndrĂ© Jacque (WI-02) received $500 from KochPAC to his Jacque for Assembly.
  • Majority Leader Rep. Jim Steineke (WI-05) received $500 from KochPAC to his Steineke for Assembly.
  • Gary Tauchen (WI-06) received $500 from KochPAC to Tauchen for Assembly.
  • Assistant Majority Leader Rep. Daniel Knodl (WI-24) received $500 from KochPAC to Knodl Assembly 24.
  • Mark Born (WI-39) received $500 from KochPAC to Born For Assembly
  • Michael Schraa (WI-53) received $500 from KochPAC to Michael Schraa for Assembly.
  • Mike Rohrkaste (WI-55) received $500 from KochPAC to Rohrkaste for Assembly.
  • Speaker of the House Rep. Robin Vos (WI-63) received $500 from KochPAC to his Friends & Neighbors of Robin Vos.
  • John Spiros (WI-86) received $500 from KochPAC to Spiros for Assembly.
  • John Macco (WI-88) received $500 from KochPAC to Friends of John Macco.
  • John Nygren (WI-89) received $500 from KochPAC to Taxpayers for Nygren.
  • Above is from:  http://wisconsingazette.com/2016/08/20/koch-brothers-investing-in-state-level-wisconsin-lawmakers/

NLRB rules that grad students are employees, opens door to unionization

In a major decision that opens the door for graduate students across the country to unionize, the National Labor Relations Board ruled Tuesday that grad students who work as teaching and research assistants are employees covered by federal labor laws.

The 3-1 decision — which stems from a petition filed by a group of graduate students at Columbia University in New York who wished to join the United Auto Workers union — reverses a 2004 decision involving Rhode Island's Brown University that had held that grad students are not employees because they are primarily students.

The majority wrote that the Brown decision "deprived an entire category of workers of the protections of the (National Labor Relations) Act without a convincing justification."

The decision states: "The Board has the statutory authority to treat student assistants as statutory employees, where they perform work, at the direction of the university, for which they are compensated. Statutory coverage is permitted by virtue of an employment relationship; it is not foreclosed by the existence of some other, additional relationship that the Act does not reach."

Above is from:  http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-nlrb-grad-students-unionize-0824-biz-20160823-story.html

Pink Tax to end in 2017


ILLINOIS -- A big break for women in the state. Governor Bruce Rauner signed a bill eliminating the tax on feminine hygiene products starting in January.

The decision makes Illinois the third state to do away with the sale tax, following in the footsteps of New York and Connecticut. 

Lawmakers and support groups say women should not pay a tax on a necessary product which is only used by them.

Women were paying more than 6% for sanitary napkins and tampons. California's state assembly is close to sending a plan to its governor and eleven other states proposed legislation this year.

Above is from:  http://www.illinoishomepage.net/news/capitol-news/rauner-approves-pink-tax