February 21, 2012

David Koch Admits His Goal Is To Weaken Labor Rights, ‘Spend More’ In Elections

Senator Scott Brown asks David Koch for money. Picture taken by Brad Johnson of ThinkProgress.
Senator Scott Brown asks David Koch for money. Picture taken by Brad Johnson of ThinkProgress.
The Palm Beach Post secured a rare interview with David Koch. The petrochemical billionaire opened up on a number of topics, including his recent political spending. Koch told reporter Stacey Singer that he would “spend more” to oppose the recall of Scott Walker, the Wisconsin governor who busted the public sector unions in his state.

Though most Wisconsin Republicans characterize Walker’s efforts as a measure to reduce the deficit, Koch was a bit more candid. Koch said he’s stepping up support for Walker in a bid to curtail “union power”:

“We’re helping him, as we should. We’ve gotten pretty good at this over the years,” he says. “We’ve spent a lot of money in Wisconsin. We’re going to spend more.”
By “we” he says he means Americans for Prosperity, which is spending about $700,000 on an “It’s working” television ad buy in the state. It credits Walker’s public pension and union overhaul with giving school districts the first surpluses they’ve seen in years. The unions and the left see things differently. […]
“What Scott Walker is doing with the public unions in Wisconsin is critically important. He’s an impressive guy and he’s very courageous,” Koch says after a benefit dinner of salmon and white wine. “If the unions win the recall, there will be no stopping union power.”

To Koch, who is worth at least $25 billion and is known for lavishly funding candidates and causes, the people in America earning $50,000 as a teacher or nurse in Wisconsin are the ones with too much power. Its not clear if his comments were tongue in cheek, or if he truly believes that working class unions have greater sway over public life than plutocrats like himself.

When I spoke to Koch last year, he told me that he considers the Tea Party the be populated by “just normal people like us.”