The Facts of Life versus the Koch Bros

Since the 2016 elections, I’ve been puzzled about how the Koch Bros money buys elective seats. Precisely, I mean.

That is, I realize they have unlimited funds to put into elections but what does that money buy and how does it influence voters to vote against their best candidates and best interests?

Maybe I shouldn’t bother even asking that last part of the question since it’s dreadfully obvious that a certain percentage of voters in this country will be influenced by fake news, smear ads and who knows what else. It’ll take a team of social psychologists to diagnose this properly and I am not a social psychologist. Never mind a team.

So, leaving off that, DailyKos Election today provided a particularly specific instance of how the Koch Bros money tries to buy elections, especially in a state they must believe they own. Here’s the entire episode about an attack on Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin, with some things bolded by me:

WI-Sen: Despite the fact that five of her colleagues sit in states that both Donald Trump and Mitt Romney carried, Wisconsin Democrat Tammy Baldwin has been by far the biggest target of Republican attack ads so far this cycle, and the onslaught isn’t letting up. A Koch-backed front group called Concerned Veterans for America is the latest to join in, pouring $1.5 million to run a new ad hitting Baldwin over the death of a resident at a Veterans Administration facility in Tomah, Wisconsin from prescription opioids.

Like else everything the Kochs churn out, this spot is totally bogus. The ad claims that Baldwin ignored an inspection report she received in 2014 detailing problems at Tomah, but Baldwin had already asked for investigations into opiate abuse at Tomah from the Tomah VA, the VA itself, and the VA’s Office of Inspector General. Baldwin nevertheless apologized for not pursuing the problem (which the VA ultimately took responsibility for) even more aggressively, but she didn’t let matters rest there.

Notably, the ad fails to mention the name of man who died at Tomah, but it’s talking about Marine veteran Jason Simcakoski. It’s a pointed omission, because in 2016, Baldwin passed legislation to strengthen the VA’s opioid prescription guidelines called the Jason Simcakoski Memorial and Promise Act, and she did so with the vocal support of Simcakoski’s widow and parents. Nevertheless, even though Simcakoski’s own father declared he was “grateful to Senator Baldwin and her staff for their tireless work on this reform,” the Kochs have stooped to using his son to attack her.

Shame be on you, Wisconsites, if you fail to separate fact from Koch Bros smear. You did it in 2016 and lost Russ Feingold as your senator. Have you gotten a little more hip since? Just a smidgen?

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