Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Senate Democrats Plan Attack on Koch Brothers Ahead of 2016 Race

Politics
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 effortDavid 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 Scott Walker (who has now withdrawn from the race) and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina—flocked to the event to seek donations.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 VirginiaOhio 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policies at a renewable energy summit in Nevada, specifically calling out the Koch brothers, for “wanting to protect an outdated status quo” based on fossil fuels and warned them away from “standing in the way of the future” and his efforts to combat climate change.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

Why This Republican Is #FeelingtheBern

It’s Official: Republicans Want Climate Action and Support Accelerating Renewable Energy

Trump, Bush Attack Pope’s Call to Climate Action

Watch Stephen Colbert Apologize To Donald Trump

Radiation-contaminated water tanks and damaged reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on Feb. 25, 2016 in Okuma, Japan. Christopher Furlong / Getty Images

Japan will release radioactive wastewater from the failed Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean, the government announced on Tuesday.

Read More Show Less
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Antarctica's Thwaites Glacier, aka the doomsday glacier, is seen here in 2014. NASA / Wikimedia Commons / CC0

Scientists have maneuvered an underwater robot beneath Antarctica's "doomsday glacier" for the first time, and the resulting data is not reassuring.

Read More Show Less
Trending
Journalists film a protest by the environmental organization BUND at the Datteln coal-fired power plant in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany on April 23, 2020. Bernd Thissen / picture alliance via Getty Images

By Jessica Corbett

Lead partners of a global consortium of news outlets that aims to improve reporting on the climate emergency released a statement on Monday urging journalists everywhere to treat their coverage of the rapidly heating planet with the same same level of urgency and intensity as they have the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read More Show Less
Airborne microplastics are turning up in remote regions of the world, including the remote Altai mountains in Siberia. Kirill Kukhmar / TASS / Getty Images

Scientists consider plastic pollution one of the "most pressing environmental and social issues of the 21st century," but so far, microplastic research has mostly focused on the impact on rivers and oceans.

Read More Show Less
A laborer works at the site of a rare earth metals mine at Nancheng county, Jiangxi province, China on Oct. 7, 2010. Jie Zhao / Corbis via Getty Images

By Michel Penke

More than every second person in the world now has a cellphone, and manufacturers are rolling out bigger, better, slicker models all the time. Many, however, have a bloody history.

Read More Show Less