Liberal Super-PAC Targets Koch Brothers With Attack Ads in Wisconsin and Iowa

A protester in Madison, Wisconsin, in February 2011 holds a sign linking Gov. Scott Walker to the Koch brothers.John Murray/John Murray Photography

Liberal super-PAC Patriot Majority is taking the fight to Charles and David Koch, the billionaire industrialists and conservative political giants, in the state that helped make the Kochs the bogeymen of the left: Wisconsin.

Patriot Majority is spending a half-million dollars for two weeks’ worth of TV, radio, and internet ads in Wisconsin and also Iowa, slamming the Kochs and “their special interest friends” for spending hundreds of millions of dollars to “buy this year’s elections.” Patriot Majority’s Wisconsin ad says the Kochs and their allies want to elect lawmakers who will slash taxes on the rich and cut school funding—parts of what the super-PAC calls the “Greed Agenda.”

Here’s the Wisconsin ad:

Here’s the Iowa ad:

Patriot Majority launched its “Stop the Greed Agenda” campaign in August to push back against the influence of wealthy conservative donors. The super-PAC picked Charles and David Koch as its first targets; future targets might include casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson, who’s spent more than $60 million this election to elect GOPers this election cycle. In response, Koch Industries spokesman Phillip Ellender criticized Patriot Majority for seeking to “attack and demonize private citizens and job creators who disagree with them on the direction this country is going.”

Wisconsin is especially fertile ground for ads about the Kochs. In February 2011, a prankster pretending to be David Koch tricked Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker—who had previously never met Koch—into a 20-minute conversation in which Walker bragged of having “dropped the bomb” on organized labor with his controversial anti-union budget bill, and discussed planting provocateurs among protesting union members. Protesters outside and inside the Wisconsin state capital responded with signs saying “Walker Sucks Koch,” calling him a “Kochead,” and depicting him as a puppet of Koch Industries.

The Kochs and their company, meanwhile, have lent Walker plenty of financial and political support. Koch Industries’ political action committee was Walker’s number two donor in his 2010 gubernatorial election, and Americans for Prosperity, the nonprofit founded and funded by David Koch, spent almost $10 million to help Walker win his recall election this spring.

More MotherJones reporting on Dark Money

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.