The unpopular, right-wing billionaire Koch Brothers have thrown up their hands and backed away from the GOP because of the shutdown. Members of Congress received a letter from Koch Industries (not the Koch’s themselves) stating their lack of stance on the shutdown, criticism of the Affordable Care Act, and their denial of “lobb[ying] on legislative provisions defunding Obamacare.”
In the letter, Philip Ellender, President of Government & Public Affairs for Koch Industries, stated that “Koch has not taken a position on the legislative tactic of tying the continuing resolution to defunding Obamacare.” But the company’s owners did help feed this beast, effectively making it their shutdown too.
The Koch Brothers are the billfold of the Tea Party, essentially. NBCNews reported that the letter:
comes in the wake of media reports documenting how Freedom Partners — a newly formed conservative trade association closely associated with the Koch Brothers — has helped finance many of the conservative and Tea Party groups that have been pressuring Republicans to link defunding Obamacare to the passage of a continuing resolution to fund the government and extend the debt ceiling.
Freedom Partners has given $235 million to various right-wing groups that are deadset on defunding the Affordable Care Act. An anonymous GOP consultant claimed that Koch officials “expressed concern to lawmakers” the possibility of an economic “disaster” should the government default over Obamacare.
The Atlantic reported that the Koch Brothers donated $500,000 to Heritage Action, a right-wing policy advocacy group. A heavyhitter of the Tea Party groups, they staunchly support the defund resolution and toured America to rally support for the tactic on the money given to them by the Kochs. “Defund or nothing,” is Heritage Action’s battlecry, and a blogpost on their website states that “the House should use its leverage to battle President Obama’s failed health care law.”
Whether the Kochs knowingly puppeteered this whole thing or not is no issue, the fact is that they funded a group of madmen who were given an inch but took a mile. Despite that the Kochs are removing themselves from the GOP, the fact that they did fund the anti-Obamacare movement in the House still kind of makes the shutdown their mess too.