Monday, November 04, 2013

Sometimes there really are Koch brothers under your bed

Some might remember this controversial article in Antigravity Magazine back in the spring where Jules Bentley referenced some interesting ties between Koch-funded lobbying firms and think-tanks and various movements to lighten food truck regulations in municipalities across the country.
Looking at the board and staff of the Keep Food Legal group, the major thread tying most of them together is Reason Magazine, the most frequent publisher of Linnekin and other KFL members’ screeds against governmental food-safety regulations. Nick Gillespie, the editor of  Reason, sits on Keep Food Legal’s board. Reason is the mouthpiece of another far-right think-tank, the Milton Friedman-endorsed Reason Foundation, whose particular mania is privatization: the corporate, for-profit takeover of services once provided by government. Of course, Reason is Koch-funded as well and even has one of the Koch brothers as a trustee.

Although Keep Food Legal attempts to put a more fun face on their lobbying efforts than the climate-change-denying wingnuttery of the Reason Foundation, its initiatives include “Opt Out of School Lunch,” which advocates that school lunch programs be discontinued—”Stop fighting for the USDA and the federal government to provide better food,” their website says.

Keep Food Legal, Reason Foundation, The Institute for Justice: these are the Koch-funded anti-regulatory madmen that the New Orleans Food Truck Coalition is in bed with: rich dudes who want to shut down school lunch programs, wingnuts tied to the Cato Institute and ALEC. In fact, at that 2012 Beverage Museum seminar, Linnekin’s presentation not only criticized the “discriminatory regulations” food trucks face but, ALEC-like, provided “a framework within which to consider model food truck regulations.” These are the people who want to rewrite New Orleans’ laws, and this is where the momentum to do so originates.
Whatever your feelings are about food trucks (I like them) the fact that the Kochs would direct their efforts at seemingly minor questions in far flung localities should have at least raised an eyebrow.  A lot of people thought it was ridiculous to even mention.

But then there's this.
Tuesday’s race here is not the only one that has drawn the interest of Americans for Prosperity, which was founded by Charles and David Koch. Local chapters have been involved in property tax fights in Kansas, Ohio and Texas, the group says. 

In January, the group successfully fought an increase in a food and beverage tax in Fremont, Neb. And last spring, it opposed a tax increase in Gahanna, in central Ohio. Voters rejected the tax measure in May, but the City Council has put it back on Tuesday’s ballot. 

Tim Phillips, the national president of Americans for Prosperity, said the organization could have a real effect on local races, where it does not have to deal with all the Washington special interests. 

The main reason “we fight local issue battles is because they result in good policy outcomes, generally promoting economic freedom via less taxes, less government spending,” he said.
When you have all the money, you really can buy all the politics.

No comments: