Monday, November 5, 2012

California v. the Koch Brothers

It’s been known for some time that a shady Arizona-based organisation was funnelling large amounts of money (to the tune of $11 million) into the campaigns against Prop 30 and in favour of Prop 32.  The failure of the former would mean the further evisceration of California’s education system, and the passage of the latter would further circumscribe the political power of California’s working class.

Typically, the so-called Americans for Responsible Leadership nonprofit refused to disclose the source of its funding, a somewhat ironic stance for an organisation ostensibly dedicated to “educating the public about concepts that advance government accountability, transparency, ethics”.

So it was left up to California’s Fair Political Practises Commission to order ARL to disclose its funding sources.  ARL refused, and continued to prevaricate even after the state Supreme Court handed down a unanimous decision ordering compliance with the FPPC’s request.  This game of “chicken”, with an out-of-state interest group defying our democratic institutions on the day before a critical election for our state, demonstrates the obscene nadir to which our democracy has plummeted.

To cap the indignity off, we’ve just learned, as described in the Los AngelesTimes that although “the out of state group said only that the money came from other nonprofits”, that much of the $11 million has come from groups affiliated with the Koch Brothers, now infamous from their embrace of corporate personhood and the cascade of campaign money laundering over which they’ve presided in the last few years. 

There are now, it seems, even greater stakes in Tuesday’s election in California: sending a signal to the Koch Brothers and their ilk that California, our schools, and our democracy are not under any circumstances for sale, particularly to a pack of cut-throat carpet-bagging corporate thugs.

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