How the Kochs and their Friends Engineered the Federal Shutdown, Part One

Eric Zuesse

Starting in 2002, the Koch brothers, David and Charles, re-directed their foundations’ money away from the libertarian Cato Institute, which they had founded in 1976 and still controlled, and they favored instead the extremist rightwing Heritage Foundation. Heritage had been set up by Joseph Coors and Richard Mellon Scaife also in the mid-1970s, but specifically to turn the Republican Party away from the too-liberal Richard Nixon, and toward the more hard-rightwing political vision, of Barry Goldwater and then Ronald Reagan.

The Kochs’ money-flow to Heritage started moderately in 1998, and then became large each year between 2002 and 2010. In 1998, the Kochs gave $65,000 to Heritage, and this was followed by another $150,000 in 2001, but then, as documented by sourcewatch, their donations exploded to $385,000 in 2002, $405,000 in 2003, and $465,000 in each year from 2004-2007, then $225,000 in 2008, $619,000 in 2009, and $500,000 in 2010, for a grand total, before the crucial 2010 mid-term congressional elections, of $4.2 million, which was second only to the $4.6 million that they gave during the period to their own Americans For Progress, which was also associated with the Kochs’ FreedomWorks. Together, AFP, FreedomWorks, and Heritage jointly headed an operation that drove the U.S. House of Representatives farther to the right than any since the very founding of the republic in 1776. Jane Mayer, on 30 August 2010, headlined in the New Yorker, “Covert Operations” (of the Koch b