Charles Koch’s Money is Being Used in Elections in Ways Only Orwell Could Have Imagined – Pam Martens and Russ Martens 6/4/24


On August 31, 2018 we broke the news that the fossil fuels conglomerate, Koch Industries, led by billionaire Charles Koch, had purchased i360 – an Orwellian political operation made all the more dangerous by the fact that it was affiliated with a billionaire who had been creating and funding political front groups for decades to push an anti-regulatory agenda and call it “liberty.” We wrote at the time:

“Quietly, and without any corporate press release on such an unusual acquisition, Koch Industries has purchased i360, a vast voter database and data harvesting operation. According to i360’s website, it has ‘1800 unique data points’ on 290 million American consumers as well as detailed information on 199 million voters from all 50 states. It brags that its data ‘shows you everything you need to know including the demographic and psychographic breakdown of your target market.’

“The propriety of a multinational industrial conglomerate with an anti-regulatory agenda having a stranglehold on a highly sophisticated voter data mining platform with unlimited funds to hire Ph.Ds., statisticians and computer scientists trained in artificial intelligence and machine learning, has yet to enter the national discourse.”

We decided to browse the most current Federal Election Commission (FEC) records and see what i360 has been up to lately. We learned that i360 has received $279,401.21 to conduct “surveys” for Americans for Prosperity Action (AFP Action), a Super Pac that hilariously calls itself a “grassroots” movement, notwithstanding that it’s funded by billionaires and multi-millionaires. According to FEC data, Koch Industries gave $25 million to AFP Action on May 19 of last year while Stand Together Chamber of Commerce, successor to the Koch-funded Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce (which folded its tent in 2019 after too much scrutiny) chipped in another $25 million eight days earlier. Alice, Rob and Jim Walton, billionaire heirs of the Walmart retail chain, each gave $5 million to AFP Action last year while former hedge fund titan, Stanley Druckenmiller, chipped in $1.5 million. (For those who have given $1 million or more thus far in the current election cycle, see here.)

Freedom Partners had a very large footprint in the Donald Trump administration.  In a document titled “Roadmap to Repeal: Removing Regulatory Barriers to Opportunity,” the Koch front group listed the laws and regulations it expected to be repealed in the first 100 days of Trump’s tenure as President. The Trump administration dutifully followed the prescribed agenda, repealing the Paris Climate Accord to the horror of our allies; passing tax cuts for the wealthy; and gutting federal regulations and the Environmental Protection Agency….

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