by Luke Henderson
While watching Being Libertarian’s debate with one of Salon’s writers, I noticed a brief but awkward stall in the conversation. Jeremy Sherman assumed that Eric July and Jared Howe both followed the Koch brothers, of which there were both quick to deny.
This may seem odd, but accusing the libertarian party of being shills of the Koch brothers has been argued by many news sources. Bernie Sanders frequently uses the Koch brothers as an example of corrupt businessmen who have bought the Republicans and suggests on his website that they were using libertarians to further their “agenda”.
I would be foolish to claim that there is no connection between the libertarian party and the Koch brothers as David Koch was the party’s vice-president nominee in 1980 and called the party the “best hope for human freedom since the American Revolution.” Charles Koch founded the Cato Institute with Murray Rothbard in 1977 and the Koch’s have donated millions to conservative and free-market candidates and organizations.
The billionaires abandoned the Libertarian party in favor of funding and starting think-tanks, PACs for primarily Republicans and later donating to Super PACs that helped fund Tea Party candidates, but the connection continues the assumption that libertarians are all admirers and an extension of the grasp of the Koch dynasty.
In the 2016 election, it was reported by the Daily Caller that the Kochs had pledged tens of millions to the Gary Johnson campaign, but a spokesman for them later denied any such deal. Johnson even stated in an interview that he’s never met the Kochs. In fact, the brothers didn’t donate to a single Libertarian candidate in 2012 or 2016.
While the Kochs consider themselves libertarians and have contributed a great deal to spread the ideas of economic freedom, and non-intervention, the party is no more a front for them than the Democrats are for George Soros. It would make zero sense for the Kochs to support the party that would strip competition limiting regulations if their only goal was to create this society for corrupt business practices (see my Criticisms #3 article that addresses this somewhat).
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