Via America’s Lawyer: Charles Koch is pledging to turn a new leaf after decades of using wealth to fomenting political division. Mike Papantonio & Farron Cousins discuss more.


*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Mike Papantonio:             Charles Koch says that he now regrets spending his life creating cultural and political division in America. Lee Atwater, this is who I think of with this story. Lee Atwater had a brain tumor. Okay. Lee Atwater was the person who brought us the Reagan presidency, where he shows up in Philadelphia, Mississippi, and he it’s very clear. It’s a presidency run of division. Lee Atwater learned under, under Karl Rove. He learned under Segretti and he was kinda known as the dirty tricks guy. I mean, that was his, that was his, that was his label. He was the dirty tricks guy. Bring in Lee Atwater when we want to do a lot of horrible things. So Lee Atwater is on his death bed, dying of a brain tumor. He says, you know what, I wish I hadn’t done this. Now we have the Koch brothers, David, of course is dead. The, one of the brothers is dead from cancer. And so we have another one who’s living. I don’t know how to take it. What, what is your take on what he’s saying here?

Farron Cousins:                  No, this is absolutely Charles who’s 85 years old, you know, he’s not long for this world at this point, just in a timetable stance and he’s trying to do the same thing. He wants his legacy, his brother’s legacy, to be one of unity. He says one of building bridges and this, you know, he’s came out and says, wow, did we get it wrong, I think was his exact quote, in this, in this article. But.

Mike Papantonio:             Wow, did we get it wrong. This is the guy who brought us the tea party.

Farron Cousins:                  Right.

Mike Papantonio:             I mean, he financed everything about it too. ALECs, there has, you know, across the nation, ALECs has absolutely decimated decency with their legislation. They were the money from ALECs. I could go on.

Farron Cousins:                  Oh, right.

Mike Papantonio:             Organization after organization.

Farron Cousins:                  Right. I mean, union busting, fracking. I mean, this guy, his company is responsible for more than 300 different oil spills across the country.

Mike Papantonio:             One of the biggest fines, in my recollection. I saw this environment, it was above $30 million, it was one of the biggest environmental fines, which was still a slap on the wrist.

Farron Cousins:                  Right.

Mike Papantonio:             But there was oil everywhere. It was in the aquifer. It was everywhere. Department of justice, as usual, does nothing. They slap them on the wrist. That’s what this, the, both of these brothers have been used to over the years. You know, I got a hold out and hope for the best here, Farron. Is it, is it reasonable to believe that he has had a change of mind, that now Charles is saying, you know, all I have is my legacy. That my brothers, you know, I, I wrote a book, I, you might remember one of the fiction books I wrote where I took the two brothers and made them into interesting characters.

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah.

Mike Papantonio:             And it was easy to deal with that. He wants to change that image, doesn’t he? Can, can he do it?

Farron Cousins:                  He, he wants to change it, but he’s not actually willing to do anything to change it because, you know, you had brought up Georgia. Well, he is still pumping a couple of millions of dollars, a couple million dollars into the Republicans in these runoffs while at the same time saying, gee, partisanship is so bad. I wish I hadn’t done it, but you’re still doing it. You can’t say you don’t want to do it while you’re still funding this stuff.

Mike Papantonio:             Governor Scott Walker, the, maybe the most odious, the most odious person in politics before Donald Trump. So, so Scott Walker is propped up by the Koch brothers for, we know at least $3 million.

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah.

Mike Papantonio:             It’s more, much more than that. But he invented, he invented Scott Walker up in Wisconsin, didn’t he?

Farron Cousins:                  He, he did. And Scott Walker kind of gave rise to this new, newer breed I should say, of Republican, the one who went out there and wasn’t afraid to go and say, the unions are, are, are, are evil. You know, not just, oh, we need to get rid of, but just absolutely demonizing these organizations in a way we had not seen before. Even Reagan, wasn’t this overt with it, just absolutely pushing the corporate interest without pretending that he wasn’t.

Mike Papantonio:             Don’t you get to a point, it’s no re, you get to the point where there’s no return.

Farron Cousins:                  Oh, right.

Mike Papantonio:             I think that’s what’s happening here.

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.