Tester launches disingenuous attack on the Koch brothers


By Dustin Hurst | Watchdog.org

BIG MONEY: Jon Tester wants his followers to think the Koch brothers are buying elections.

For some, ignorance is bliss, but for Democrat Jon Tester, it’s an important campaign tactic.

Sure, the second-term senator from Montana isn’t up for re-election until 2018, but that won’t stop him from using disingenuous attacks on the wealthy to scare his constituents into sending him campaign cash.

“Today, it looks like the billionaire Koch brothers are trying to crown themselves the new Copper Kings,” wrote Tester — or some lackey — in a weekend email to supporters. The Copper Kings of the 1800′s were the industrialists who colluded to buy power and influence in the U.S. Senate.

Tester continued : “Thanks to Citizens United, the Koch brothers’ huge network of outside, out-of-touch groups can spend millions of dollars on attacks, smears, and downright lies.”

The senator’s merely participating in an all-out assault on the Kochs, an attack led by Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Unfortunately for Montana’s senior senator, the facts don’t match his chosen reality. According to research released by the Center for Responsive Politics, Tester’s buddies at America’s largest labor unions are actually America’s biggest spenders on politics.

And it’s not even close.

The research revealed that the dreaded Koch brothers, who run Koch Industries, are No. 59 on the list of contributions to political candidates between 1989 and 2014.

Ahead of the duo? Numerous unions, including some that donated to Tester’s 2012 re-election campaign. American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees checked in at No. 2 with more than $60 million in donations, followed by the National Education Association, which logged more than $58 million in the time span.

Over the same time frame, the Kochs contributed $18 million to candidates.

The Washington Examiner’s Mark Tapscott touched off a fire storm on the issue when he wrote about it last month. “In other words, the six biggest union donors in American politics gave 15 times more to mostly Democrats than the Evil Koch Bros,” Tapscott wrote.

Critics quickly opened fire, noting that the Center for Responsive Politics’ numbers didn’t include the Kochs’ donations to numerous outside groups and nonprofits. Yet, when the Huffington Post studies that issue, too, the unions came out on top. According to the liberal online news outlet’s own research, unions spent $1.7 billion on the 2012 election cycle, compared with $407 million for the Kochs.

So, who’s really trying to buy up influence in Congress?

Contact Dustin Hurst at Dustin@Watchdog.org or via Twitter using the @DustinHurst handle.

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