The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Senate Democrats Plan Attack on Koch Brothers Ahead of 2016 Race
Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) and "a coalition of deep-pocketed liberal groups, including a pair of super PACs backing Hillary Clinton" have been holding strategic meetings for months "examining the 2016 map and plotting attacks against the powerful Koch brothers' network," according to Politico.
A key organizer of the effort, David Brock will present his findings tomorrow, using polling and research, to the Senate Democratic Caucus. The Koch brothers network of conservative mega-donors plans to spend a staggering $889 million for the 2016 presidential race.
Brock believes that highlighting the "massive political spending" of the Koch brothers network is a "critical component" of boosting Democratic candidates, including Clinton, in 2016.
In August, the billionaire brothers held a donor conference in California, in which several of the top presidential candidates—former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (who has now withdrawn from the race) and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina—flocked to the event to seek donations. This led Donald Trump to call these candidates "puppets" of the Koch brothers.
"We've proven in the long run that they're interested in one thing: Their bottom line. They're trying to buy the country, they want to become America's oligarchs," Reid told Politico. Reid has repeatedly called out the Koch brothers for "buying elections" and being one of the "main causes" of climate change.
The Koch brothers have launched a so-called "war on renewables," using their advocacy groups, including Americans for Prosperity and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), to try and pass bills in states that repeal renewable energy standards. They’ve had some success in West Virginia, Ohio and Kansas.
In August, President Obama slammed critics of his energy policies at a renewable energy summit in Nevada, specifically calling out the Koch brothers, for “wanting to protect an outdated status quo” based on fossil fuels and warned them away from “standing in the way of the future” and his efforts to combat climate change.
“When you start seeing massive lobbying efforts backed by fossil fuel interests, or conservative think tanks, or the Koch brothers pushing for new laws to roll back renewable energy standards, or to prevent new clean energy businesses from succeeding, that’s a problem,” Obama said, marking the first time a president has singled out the Koch brothers in a climate speech.
The explosive growth of solar in the U.S. “has some big fossil fuel interests pretty nervous,” Obama noted. This comment launched a mini-feud between the Koch brothers and the White House with Charles Koch calling the comments "beneath the president, the dignity of the president." And the White House Press Sec. Josh Earnest responding in kind.
However, some Democrats don't think it's in the party's best interest to focus on the Koch brothers. "I think the American public wants a discussion on solutions," Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) told Politico. "When you start making [the Kochs] front and center, you are losing sight of what you absolutely need to do," said Heitkamp. "We need to be more mindful of what the message is, not who the messengers are and who's paying for them."
While others such as Cristóbal J. Alex, president of the liberal advocacy group Latino Victory Project, disagree. "We don't want to be caught flatfooted like we were in 2014. We won't let our candidates be attacked without response," he said.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
The Return of a Relative: Tribal Communities in the Northern Great Plains Rally Around Bison Restoration
By Clay Bolt
On Oct. 11 people around the world celebrated the release of four plains bison onto a snow-covered butte in Badlands National Park, South Dakota.
The climate crisis has put at least 945 designated toxic waste sites at severe risk of disaster from escalating wildfires, floods, rising seas and other climate-related disasters, according to a new study from the non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO), as the AP reported.
By Bailey Hopp
If you had to choose a diamond for your engagement ring from below or above the ground, which would you pick … and why would you pick it? This is the main question consumers are facing when picking out their diamond engagement ring today. With a dramatic increase in demand for conflict-free lab-grown diamonds, the diamond industry is shifting right before our eyes.
For one year Rob Greenfield grew and foraged all of his own food. No grocery stores, no restaurants, no going to a bar for a drink, not even medicines from the pharmacy.
Apple has removed all 181 vaping-related apps from its App Store, the company announced on Friday. The removal of the apps comes after thousands of people across the country have developed lung illnesses from vaping and 42 people have died.