Just, who are the Koch brothers?

VOXXI OPINION Next time you take a sip from a Dixie Cup think Koch (pronounced Coke) Industries, Inc. Why is this especially important, since consumers don’t…

FILE – In this Aug. 30, 2013 file photo, Americans for Prosperity Foundation Chairman David Koch speaks in Orlando, Fla. David and his brother Charles Koch are a champion of conservative causes and created the LIBRE initiative. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, File)


Next time you take a sip from a Dixie Cup think Koch (pronounced Coke) Industries, Inc. Why is this especially important, since consumers don’t pay much attention to the producers of the products they use daily, whether its paper cups, paper towels or toilet paper?

Because Koch Industries, Inc. makes all of these products and because its become “the star gazer” of the national media thanks to the high profile of its two main owners, Charles and David Koch.

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Koch Industries, Inc. was started in 1940 by Dutch immigrant Fred C. Koch, the father of Charles and David. David’s twin brother Bill and oldest brother Frederick were once part of the company, but their interests were bought out by Charles and David who each own 42 percent of the company.

Today, Koch Industries not only makes paper products, but is also involved in such high stake moneymaking product areas as natural gas, petroleum, energy, commodities trading, etc.

Koch Industries is the second largest privately owned company in the country. It employs approximately 50,000 in the United States, some of whom are Hispanic and who are highly represented in the Koch Pipeline Company and Flint Hills Resources located in south Texas.

But the Hispanic connection to the Koch brothers doesn’t stop with employment, lately they added a small non-profit called the LIBRE Initiative to their funding network.

The LIBRE Initiative is a free-market non-profit that was started in 2011 by Dan Garza, a young Mexican-American from the Rio Grande Valley who served in the George W. Bush administration.

Mr. Garza spent much of his childhood following the migrant stream along with his family. He has been a relentless voice bringing conservative issues to the Hispanic community, which can be on the conservative side but hasn’t exactly been courted by conservative groups, much less the Republican Party.

Charles Koch leads several conservative political initiatives.

Charles Koch and his brother David Koch own Koch Industries, which runs several major U.S. companies. (Photo: Koch Industries, Inc.)

According to various reports, LIBRE today is almost $3 million richer thanks to the generosity of the Koch brothers, which puts it on a whole different playing field when it comes to reaching out to the Hispanic community.

While LIBRE focuses on the economy, it has also taken a very active role against President Obama’s health care policy including launching media blitzes against two congressional Democratic candidates who voted for it, Pete Gallego of Texas and Joe Garcia of Florida.

Garza who ran for congress a few years ago and was defeated, is no shrinking violet – he understands the monumental task ahead of LIBRE; i.e., to reach out to Hispanics across the country. Yet, he seems to be willing to push this effort aggressively with a 35 member staff that is sharp, bright and just as aggressive as their leader.

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In addition to its outreach effort and stance on public policy, LIBRE has launched programs that provide free tax service in predominantly Hispanic neighborhoods as well as offering English classes and GED courses.

While, LIBRE may be viewed as conservative in the fiscal sense, it is a staunch supporter of comprehensive immigration reform including the controversial “pathway to legalization” for those in the United States without legal documentation; a position that many conservatives don’t support.

It was Mr. Garza’s good sense to seek funds from a “friendly” donor that has helped turn LIBRE into an up and coming outreach organization. He can succeed where other similar organizations have failed, very simply–stay on course with LIBRE and direct its funds specifically to meeting its goals and no where else.

The Koch brothers in the meantime have been known not only as enormously successful businessmen but also as philanthropists that support such charities as hospitals, the arts and museums.

Daniel Garza leads the LIBRE Initiative, funded by the Koch brothers.

Daniel Garza heads up the conservative non-profit LIBRE Initiative, mean to promote conservative causes to the Latino community. (Flickr/LIBRE Initiative)

For a time, the general public seemed pleased with their generosity especially those at the receiving end, that is, until it was discovered that the Koch brothers were donating to conservative groups and causes.

The media began writing about the Koch brothers in earnest as early as five years ago, in particular about their Americans for Prosperity Foundation and Freedom Works, both of which are known for their close ties to the Tea Party movement.

While the Koch brothers are considered Libertarians, David ran for President of the United States in 1980 as the Libertarian candidate, their political interest seems to be more conservative and that’s where their media troubles have begun.

They’ve been accused of everything from pushing their self interests politically to being sugar daddies who are bankrolling populist ideas, to as of lately, “un American” by Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, in responding to ads being run by a Koch backed group against Obamacare.

It’s fair to say the billionaire Koch brothers aren’t the only wealthy people who donate to interest groups, political action committees or get involved in expressing concerns of public policy.

The Democrats have a long list of similar wealthy activists, but interestingly the media doesn’t shine the spotlight on them as they are aggressively doing against the Koch brothers. All anyone has to do is look up George Soros and bingo, you’ve got a very active billionaire who backs up Democratic candidates and liberal causes even more aggressively than the Kochs.

During George W. Bush’s reelection in 2004, Mr. Soros pumped over $23 million dollars to various groups dedicated to defeating him. Soros was so determined to defeat Bush that he was quoted as saying during a Washington Post interview on November 11, 2003, that removing Bush from office was the “central focus of my life” and “a matter of life and death.”

Interestingly, when the name of George Soros comes up, liberals make excuses saying he supports liberal causes that are unrelated to his business interests.

The well to do of any country, not just the United States, have always had the upper hand over the rest of us regarding their influence in governance. They have the means to influence policy and elect officials.

But why now is the name “Koch” all over the place?

Last week one of the guests on the MSNBC Morning Joe said that the Democrats are afraid they may lose the Senate and consequently are going to make the Koch brothers and their gift giving to conservative causes the center of attention in this election cycle by wrapping the Koch brothers around those senate candidates that receive donations from them.

Unfortunately for the Democrats, voters don’t pay attention to donors as much as they do to the candidate itself.

It’s time for our political leaders to concentrate on getting America’s economy back on track rather than playing “cheap tricks” on the voters by vilifying Americans, who by all intent and purposes are creating jobs, hiring people and making every effort to keep our free-enterprise system alive, which last time I checked, was the underpinning of our country’s economic foundation.

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