How Billionaire Oligarchs Are Becoming Their Own Political Parties

Is the Florida governor’s race a campaign between a Democrat and a Republican or a battle between Tom Steyer and the Koch brothers?
Read the full story »
101

It is a disgrace that this is allowed, robbing "we the people" of our representative democracy. The Supreme Court should be impeached, if that's possible. Both Dems and GOP are wrongly involved with $, but the platform of the Dem party is pro - people, not slanted toward the greedy 1%. That is an important fact, and the GOP has billions $$$ more being spent on their behalf, flooding markets with lies. The advocacy against the betterment of the entire society is shameless and frightening. It's becoming harder to be proud to be an American.

2 2016-02-28 09:25:56 - Marylee
102

Absolutely agree, Nikita, that something must be done. However this Congress will do nothing (include reform the tax code). We may have to take to the streets, like in Hong Kong, and demand Constitutional amendments for term limits of both Congress and the Supreme Court. Unfortunately with the anti-people behavior of state governors, this also is probably futile.

1 2016-02-26 12:03:00 - Marylee
103

You have conveniently forgotten that Citizens United was a 9-0 ruling, rather than a decision of the five Amigos as you would like to misrepresent. (To consider Kennedy to be reliably conservative in his decisions is unrealistic.)

0 2016-02-25 15:19:20 - ebmem
104

this is, in a way,a very depressing article.read itin combination with the report on Janet yellen'sspeech yesterdayon income inequalityin the United States.

2 2016-02-24 13:25:58 - Barry Bayer
105

Remember the good old days, when you could only buy the election by voting with the names of dead people and stuffing ballot boxes? Isn't that what miliioniare Joe Kennedy did to ensure that JFK won in Illinois?

3 2016-02-16 17:56:30 - K Yates
106

Well--they do believe in their own infallibility, no denying that. Still, in an important sense they're not actually "wrong." What the Roberts Five said they expected to happen as a consequence of their decisions in Citizens United, McCutcheon et al, and what they really expected, are two entirely different things.

What they said was just the usual soft blah-blah mantra that you hear in any advertisement for any shoddy product, the bland and seductive promise of wondrous outcomes that the advertisers perfectly well know can't be delivered.

What they really expected is precisely what is happening. The thing you need to understand is that they believe what is happening is an affirmative good.

They believe (perhaps not without some justification) that the great flaw of democracy is voters: the common masses, the stupid little people who sometimes vote selfishly against the interests of the rich.

These decisions were handed down in order to make it considerably harder for the likes of us to get away with that kind of thing. Roberts and his chums knew just what they were doing. These aren't just any popes, these are Borgias.

125 2016-02-12 06:44:45 - Doro
107

Wouldn't it be illuminating to get inside a meeting between the Koch Brothers and their political operatives? Does anyone think that the Koch Brothers and the other members of their Uber Billionaire Boys Club would be so democratic?

Enough with the human interest articles on money and politics!

Just give us graphics that tell the story of how much money the uber rich are spending to sucker us into voting against our own interests. And don't confine it to select states, candidates or issues. Of course the story won't be complete because of all the dark money out there. But it will be start.

just think about the good uses for the money wasted on bamboozling us.

15 2016-02-12 00:47:34 - Rita
108

It comes down to the issue, do we believe the climate science or the defenders of business-as-usual? Shouldn't science guide our policy? This articles neutrality on Global Warming is remarkable it assumes both sides have equally good arguments relative to the science, thus both sides can be described doing their best in pursuit what they believe to be good policy. It's what you choose to "believe," not what every scientific institution in the world that is researching climate is telling us in no uncertain terms that we face an overwhelming problem that has a very short fuse. The Kochs and their associates are distorting the science and misleading the public. Their money may buy speech but it isn't buying the truth. It may win elections but it's a one way ticket to the worst impacts of climate change. And articles like this will be the sources of the history of how a great nation was lead to an inescapable humanitarian crisis. And the name Koch by then will have a very different meaning.

10 2016-02-11 02:57:59 - Robert Carabas
109

Driving force behind the GOP (Government Operatives for Pay)

The Koch brothers didn't just inherit their father's fortune. They also inherited his politics. In 1958, Fred Koch was a founding member of the John Birch Society, the right-wing extremist group that opposed civil rights and claimed that both the Democratic and Republican Parties were infiltrated by the Communist Party. In his 1960 self-published book, A Business Man Looks at Communism, Fred Koch wrote that "The colored man looms large in the Communist plan to take over America," and that welfare was a secret plot to attract rural blacks and Puerto Ricans to Eastern cities to vote for Communist causes and "getting a vicious race war started." The John Birch Society helped fuel a wave of hysteria against unions, civil rights groups, intellectuals, public schools, liberal clergy and others whom they considered a threat to America.

Following in their father's footsteps, Charles and David Koch have for three decades been by far the biggest funders of right-wing politicians, causes, and organizations. Their political activities are primarily dedicated to eliminating government regulation of business and lowering taxes on the rich.

Essentially, the G"OPP" are being paid by Koch Brothers to work out their fathers war on communism. That war is labeled as being libertarian. . If you look at it, this is the Republicant platform.

3 2016-02-10 05:30:59 - Hummmmm
110

The President should declare all elections null and void in which such large sums of money from small numbers of individual, unrepresentative sources, especially undisclosed sources that may possibly be foreign entities, are spent to influence the outcome.

The Supreme Court is supposed to interpret whether our laws confirm to the Constitution, however, when a majority of its unelected Justices are politicized to such an extent as to so clearly and egregiously twist the wording, intention and meaning of the Constitution to the degree that their decisions imperil our ability to function as a democracy, the President—as the highest elected official charged with preserving, protecting and defending the Constitution, as head of the executive branch of government responsible for administering the laws, and as Commander in Chief of the armed forces in defense of our country—has the right, power and solemn duty to oppose such a tyranny and existential threat to our democracy, regardless of whether it arises from within or without our borders.

It is highest folly to allow just five unelected individuals serving for life on the Supreme Court, or a small handful of extremely wealthy unrepresentative individuals (or corporations) to have the power to destroy our democracy.

5 2016-01-31 09:27:40 - ELB
111

If the Koch Brothers' wealth ($40 billion) were represented by the height of the empire state building (ca. 1300 feet tall), the wealth of the Average American Household would be about 1/6th of an inch thick.

You could stack three average American families' wealth on top of one another and it would be about as thick as a door mat.

The Koch Brother have won folks. Game over. Now, who is ready to clear the board and start over?

3 2016-01-29 01:34:18 - jim
112

Gov Scott, who skated by a criminal indictment, is really a puppet for the right wing - and often times for the Christian right in the part of northern FL that is really reflects a Bible Belt state. Charlie Crist is inconsistent - flows the direction the wind blows. However, he does care more about the environment, which needs a lot of help in the Sunshine State. Studying what Scott has and has not done should make any caring voter vote for Crist. He's the lesser of two evils - which is how we often vote these days.

52 2016-01-19 15:53:11 - Jackie
113

NYer,

I have to believe that most voters are not that naive. These crude and vicious political ads are aimed at the "undecided" voters; those relative few who usually swing the election. A calm, well-balanced political ad does nothing to sway the undecided voter, which is another way of saying "not-paying-attention" voter if you ask me. Peace.

1 2016-01-19 08:47:12 - jim
114

Jay, It's so unfair. Luckily there are many workers who feel the powerful and super rich need defending.

2 2016-01-17 15:30:25 - Ted
115

I'll tell you what's wrong with drug-testing for those requesting food stamps. Why don't you start by looking up the definition of "charity" in the dictionary. The act of providing the bare necessities to those in need of help should not come with caveats and requirements. It should be accompanied rather with the hope that the afflicted will be able to improve their lot with our help.

3 2016-01-13 23:02:01 - Adam
116

S,

Since taxpayer funding always favors the incumbents as they administer the funding and a majority of those incumbents will be Republicans this time. Are you sure that you have thought this plan through carefully?

1 2016-01-10 23:17:09 - Richard
117

We, the People, need to call for a change in political donations and only allow candidates to utilize public funds to run campaigns. Every serious candidate should br given X amount of dollars to run their entire election campaign, if you run out,,,,, bummer. It's a system already in place, look at the top of your 1040, it states "Would you like to donate $1.00 to the election fund? (This donation will not effect your return)." Once donation money is gone, we, the People, will actually have a voice in the electoral process, right now the only ones being heard are people like these rich morons who only care about their own agendas.

3 2016-01-10 22:27:52 - SSG Badass
118

Ha! All politicians has skeletons in their closets. Some are very much better at denying/hiding them than others.

0 2016-01-08 09:52:34 - Vermonter
119

Soros was a big player in 2004, 2006, and 2008, but less since. Where exactly is Soros spending big money in 2014? References please. I'm not aware that Gates, Gore, or the Clintons are spending big on political campaigns either.

1 2016-01-08 09:13:41 - Eugene
120

Is it at possible that the Supreme Court is aware of what it unleashed with Citizens United? This is disgusting. I'm in favor of what Mr. Steyer is doing, but I wish to goodness it hadn't come to this.

9 2016-01-07 15:22:42 - EAL

Post to How Billionaire Oligarchs Are Becoming Their Own Political Parties (login required)





33Demise of the Southern Democrat Is Now Nearly Complete799Inequality Is a Drag957A Scourge Is Spreading. M.T.A.’s Cure? Dude, Close Your Legs.489The Wolf Hunters of Wall Street1194Living Wages, Rarity for U.S. Fast-Food Workers, Served Up in Denmark989The Battle for New York Schools: Eva Moskowitz vs. Mayor Bill de Blasio104The Profits-Investment Disconnect580U.S. to Commit Up to 3,000 Troops to Fight Ebola in Africa245Living on Purpose409Staten Island Man Died From Chokehold During Arrest, Autopsy Finds355Poor Sanitation in India May Afflict Well-Fed Children With Malnutrition775After Losing Scottish Independence Vote, Alex Salmond Will Resign323How Billionaire Oligarchs Are Becoming Their Own Political Parties1Cambodians Gather to Pray, Offer Gifts for 'Killing Fields' Dead1338The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food108My Selfie, Myself1457Children and Guns: The Hidden Toll374A Political Crystal Ball219An Affair to Remember, Differently52Live Updates: Aftermath of Grand Jury's Decision in Michael Brown Shooting in Ferguson1511Shooting Accounts Differ as Holder Schedules Visit to Ferguson101Teenagers Stand Up to Backpage4380A Plea for Caution From Russia818How Obama Lost America334Death by Data281In Florida Student Assaults, an Added Burden on Accusers1625A Punch Is Seen, and a Player Is Out164 The Shifting Politics of Cuba Policy 2207Under Pressure, Cuomo Says Ebola Quarantines Can Be Spent at Home652Germany Fights Population Drop494Trayvon Martin Case Shadowed by Series of Police Missteps167It Takes a Mentor622House Votes to Sue Obama for Overstepping Powers597Don’t Muzzle the Clown443The Humanist Vocation192Weak Oversight, Deadly Cars163More on Sleeping Pills and Older Adults1092The Big Lie Behind Voter ID Laws 128‘Princelings’ in China Use Family Ties to Gain Riches495Doctors Denounce Cancer Drug Prices of $100,000 a Year445Let’s Reject the ‘Inevitable’530Will Portland Always Be a Retirement Community for the Young?733On Election’s Eve, G.O.P. Is Confident, but Voters Are Sour118The Building Blocks of a Good Pre-K 1031One Day in an Elevator With Obama, Then Out of a Job630Ultra-Orthodox Shun Their Own for Reporting Child Sexual Abuse290Cuomo’s Gun Law Plays Well Downstate but Alienates Upstate 999Why Are There Still So Few Women in Science?449Alice Munro Wins Nobel Prize in Literature1022Some Mormons Search the Web and Find Doubt