The rumors of their influence are greatly underestimated:
We saw this with the 19th century robber barons and in the 1930’s with the liberty league. Each generation has had to deal with these bullies. In the modern era, they are the Koch brothers and their wealthy allies, including North Carolina’s Art Pope. Spending millions of dollars, America’s 21st century bullies have reshaped the Republican Party and are threatening representative democracy.
Since 2010, in North Carolina, conservative businessman Art Pope has spent millions moving the state government to the right. Now, for the first time since reconstruction, Republicans control the governorship and the legislature. One observer noted, “Democrats running for office in North Carolina are running against Art Pope.”
This is one big reason why Democrats (both elected and activists) need to support campaign finance reform, instead of trying to "play the game" of big money with their Republican opposition. Aside from a handful of progressive businessmen, most of the wealthy would prefer to continue the shift of the nation's wealth upwards and preserve their dominance of our public policy debates, and the GOP gives them exactly that. The longer we put that off, the more influential these modern-day robber barons become:
In a rare extended interview with the Wichita Business Journal, Koch spoke expansively with Editor in Chief Bill Roy and Reporter Daniel McCoy, explaining in detail his political convictions, his involvement in Americans for Prosperity and his disdain for what he calls rampant cronyism.
He criticizes business leaders who say they believe in a free-market system, but do their best to manipulate that system by working to impose regulations on their competitors or going for “smash and grab, short-term profits.”
When you start attacking cronyism and people’s political interests, it gets nasty. We’ve been called every name under the sun. And some of this stuff is ridiculous.
The first two paragraphs were taken from Page 1 of the article, and the third was taken from Page 15. Column space limitations? Not for Baron von Koch.