On All In Tuesday night, the conversation turned to recent reports that the right-leaning Koch brothers were considering supporting candidates outside the Republican party. Commentary soon drifted, however, into outright criticism of the prominent libertarian donors. Apparently, Charles and David Koch don’t want to pay taxes.
Host Chris Hayes, skeptical of a Koch break from the Republican Party, asked guest and former Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander what he thought. This was apparently an invitation for Kander to attack the Koch brothers, saying “I think the fact that they use a dark money system pretty well illustrates the fact that while they may be very unhappy with what's going on, they know that their ideas are not very popular.”
He went on, saying that the Koch brothers are actually upset that Republicans “did a bad job convincing people these ideas are good ideas.” Kander even gave the brothers advice, suggesting that they “should just consider the possibility that their ideas are bad in the first place.” Kander got away with failing to explain what these supposed bad ideas are, neglecting the fact that the Koch brothers help fund renowned think tanks like the Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation.
Author David Cay Johnston agreed, lamenting that the Koch brothers “very much believe that the federal government should have a military and police force and nothing else. They don't want to pay taxes. They don’t believe in regulation for the public safety.” According to Johnson, these ideas are “Unpopular ideas. But they are figuring out how to market them so people are deceived.”
Chris Hayes refused to touch the attacks on the Koch brothers and the accusation that they are bent on deceiving people. On MSNBC, Charles and David Koch are evidently fair game.
The full transript can be found below:
All In with Chris Hayes
8:54 p.m. Eastern
CHRIS HAYES: Jason, I think the Koch brothers have gone out of their way to create headlines about how they don't like the trade policy, they're breaking with the White House. But I don't really quite buy it when you look at the structural investments they're making and continue to make. What do you think?
JASON KANDER: I think the fact that they use a dark money system pretty well illustrates the fact that while they may be very unhappy with what's going on, they know that their ideas are not very popular. So they funnel a bunch of dark money into the system every couple years. And then they say to Republicans who they’ve helped elect, go out there and convince people that all these ideas that we have are good ideas. And then when the ideas are still really unpopular a couple years later, they say, well you did a bad job convincing people that these ideas are good ideas. When in reality, perhaps they should just consider the possibility that their ideas are bad in the first place.
Hayes: Well, here's the thing. I mean, when you look at the Koch brothers’ agenda, there was a great item today in the "New York Times," David, and this is up your alley, which said that the Treasury Department is considering essentially tweaking the way they calculate the sort of expenditure capital gains that would amount to a unilateral, executive agency led $100 billion tax cut for the rich without congress. And I saw that and I thought, well if you're the Koch brothers, OK, you don't like the trade stuff but that's sort of what you're in for.
DAVID CAY JOHNSTON: Well, the Koch brothers, and Chris, you might be like them if you had their father. They very much believe that the federal government should have a military and police force and nothing else. They don't want to pay taxes, they don’t believe in regulation for the public safety. They believe that we can all do this through contracts because we all have principles. Now, it’s very important to remember, the Kochs are serious people. They are good managers of their capital. And anyone who thinks like “It's a Wonderful Life,” they're going like Mr. Potter, “Let's take homes from poor people” is making a big mistake. You need to challenge them on their ideas and as Jason said exactly correctly, they are very popular on ideas. Unpopular ideas. But they are figuring out how to market them so people are deceived.