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Controversial WV Legislation Tied to Shadowy Billionaires' Network

Controversial WV Legislation Tied to Shadowy Billionaires' Network

4 Comment(s) | Posted | by Ian Pajer-Rogers |

Rick Smith/Flickr

by Dan Heyman

CHARLESTON, W. Va. - The right-to-work bill and prevailing-wage repeal just passed by the Legislature have ties to Kansas oil billionaires Charles and David Koch and their shadowy network, watchdogs say.

According to the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), the bills were based on model legislation from the Koch-funded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Lisa Graves, executive director of CMD, says ALEC is part of a national network of funders and front groups carefully designed to promote a pro-corporate agenda.

"The Kochs playing a ventriloquist role through these different organizations," says Graves. "Cookie-cutter ALEC bills, cookie-cutter talking points, ad campaigns by Americans for Prosperity and willing, pliable politicians who want to please these billionaires."

CMD says Senate President Bill Cole is a member of ALEC. The Charleston Gazette reported he attended what Graves called "Koch Fest," an annual closed-to-the-public donors retreat at a resort in Palm Springs, California. Cole's office said he attended in his "official capacity" and denied it was a "political event."

Graves says the Kochs have promised to raise and spend nearly a billion dollars in this election cycle. Cole says he did not collect any donations for his campaign for governor while at the Palm Springs event. But Graves says hundreds of billionaires and multi-millionaires attend the donor's retreat.

"They don't necessarily write the check at that meeting, but they're the connections," she says. "This is a network, and that produces big dividends. This is really a network where you're plugged into future funders of your campaign."

Cole's office says he did tell the donors in Palm Springs he was working to make West Virginia the 26th right-to-work state. According to the National Journal, Koch organizations such as Americans for Prosperity have supported that effort with expert testimony, advertising and door knocking and phone banking, like you might see during an election. Graves says they haven't said how much they have spent.

Read more from Public News Service - WV.

Comments

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  1. Shawn's avatar
    Shawn
    | Permalink
    The " the right to work laws" has nothing to do with the right to work. It's all about union busting. In the early part of it companies may bribe some workers to leave the union with higher wages and better benefits, but once the union is gone the pay and benefits will drop faster then a rock before the have a chance to use them. That's why I oppose it and everyone who support worker's rights should to.
  2. Shawn's avatar
    Shawn
    | Permalink
    The " the right to work laws" has nothing to do with the right to work. It's all about union busting. In the early part of it companies will bribe workers to leave the union with higher wages and better benefits, but once the union is gone and there is no contract that legal bind them the pay and benefits will drop faster then a rock before the have a chance to use them. That's why I oppose it and everyone who support worker's rights should to.
  3. Erin Harris's avatar
    Erin Harris
    | Permalink
    These predatory grillionaires and their toady legislators clearly have no morals at all. Worsening poverty, especially in such a poor state, is truly demonic.
  4. CityguyUSA's avatar
    CityguyUSA
    | Permalink
    This is exactly why people shouldn't be able to amass such wealth while just impoverishing everyone else to fuel their own agendas in an unparalleled voter fraud system. The Koch brothers should be charged with treason.

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