How the Rich Get Richer: The Dark Money

Saturday, March 23, 2019

How the rich get richer? Something which everyone wonders about, at least once.

There are a few billionaires who like to control American politics for their welfare. They have no interest in knowing whether their policies would benefit society or not.

All they want is profit, and for that, they use their dark, untraceable money. Among the prominent ones are the Koch brothers, who devised some successful money laundering techniques to benefit the politicians. Money controls the politicians, and they manage the policies.

Jane Mayer, in her book, talks about:

  • money laundering cases
  • the Koch brothers and how they’re increasing the inequality in capitalism

Jane Mayer is an award-winning investigative journalist who also, is the staff writer for the New Yorker. In her book – Dark Money – she wrote about the influence of the rich in politics and how do the rich get richer.

Listen to the summary at Blinkist or listen to the book at Audible.

Koch network and the money laundering process

Koch Industries Headquarters in Wichita, Kansas.
Koch Industries Headquarters in Wichita, Kansas.

Charles Koch and David Koch are two billionaire brothers in the US. But just because you don’t know about them, doesn’t mean they don’t exist. They run the Koch Industries, the second-largest private company in the country, yet remain in the shadows. Why?

The Koch brothers aim to spread libertarian values and to create a free market without any taxes. And to spread this message they have a network of politicians and fundraising institutions. David Koch even tried to enter active politics in the 1980s but didn’t get favorable results. So, instead of being the voice, they decided to be the power behind the voices.

They started their job through non-profit institutions. The donation to those institutions doesn’t need to be disclosed and thus, could be anonymous. Anyone who favored the ideology of the Koch network (nicknamed Kochtopus) could donate as much as they want.

Read more: How is Inequality in the World Measured?

By 2013, the Koch brothers had assets worth $800 billion, which is a lot to influence the public policymakers.

They took advantage of tax loopholes and favorable politics, and that’s how the rich get richer.

Teaching the future workforce

The Tea Party Movement in America is a result of Koch intervention in the educational institutions and scientific debates on climate change.
The Tea Party Movement in America is a result of Koch intervention in the educational institutions and scientific debates on climate change.

Not only were the Koch network present in non-profit organizations, but also educational institutions. It was a strategy towards having an effective influence on public opinion.

They donated to universities, which then provided space to spread the Koch ideology. This way, the coming generations could be fed the thoughts of the Koch brothers. One such program was the Mansfield’s Program on Constitutional Government at Harvard. The students received the new conservatism teaching and then, went on to teach at renowned universities like Yale and also, Harvard.

Read more: A Very Short Introduction to the Great American Experiment

Another way they undertook to control the public’s emotions was by scientific debates. All they want was that people support their cause and thus, have a government who would benefit them. For this to be successful, the Koch network aided physicists to challenge the science behind climate change. And they got the benefit of creating doubt, even though they lacked expertise.

The years of hard work came to surface in 2009 in the form of Tea Party movement – a staged political uprising. The movement got excellent media support and publicity by the right-wing reporters who attacked Obamacare.

The help of the Supreme Court

The poster for the fated Citizens United vs. FEC case.
The poster for the fated Citizens United vs. FEC case.

You must be thinking about how the rich get richer with dark money when there’s jurisdiction in place?  Well, let’s take a look at this case.

In 2010, Citizens United won a case against the Federal Elections Commission. As per the court, corporations have the right to freedom of speech. And this decision led to a manifold increase in the cash inflow of the Koch network.

Both the non-profit and for-profit organizations could now spend as much money as they want. And not to mention that they could use it to support their leaders or affect the opponent’s position. The donors, however, still could maintain their anonymity. The playground for politics was no longer even.

Corporate houses can receive donations and also transfer it to another without any trace. The Kochtopus became even stronger. They used millions in dark money to support the Republican candidates and campaign against the Democrats. And it worked even at the national level.

Kochtopus in the driving seat

One of the Koch brothers, David Koch, is an example of how the rich get richer by unethical means.
One of the Koch brothers, David Koch, is an example of how the rich get richer by unethical means.

Well, you see, you can control the public policy without being at the White House. With the radical Republican majority, the Koch brothers were now able to force the government in the direction they wanted. And they did.

Because of the environmental laws, many companies were threatened with lawsuits. So, the Koch brothers stirred the debates about climate change to their favor by propagating alternative story. And they also spread the message that those climate change laws are against people’s freedom. The funds for Obamacare was put on hold.

Read more: What is the Impact of Media on the News Today?

Now that you know how the rich get richer, the best you can do is to be an informed citizen.

  • Do not donate your hard-earned money without proper research.
  • Do not believe everything that the media says.
  • Spread awareness among the public.

This is just one of the ways how the rich get richer!

Politics and corporations are an ultimate combination in enriching the rich!
Politics and corporations are an ultimate combination in enriching the rich!

The billionaires support the politicians who support them in promoting their self-interest. All they want is to spread their agenda and earn more profits for their business. Beware!

Abhijeet Kumar a freelance content writer for aSabbatical.com
We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.