The Sorrow Of The Oligarch

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JONATHAN CHAIT AUGUST 27, 2010

The Sorrow Of The Oligarch

Right-wing billionaire David Koch feels persecuted:

David Koch, a billionaire whose funding has helped support grassroots organizations tied to the tea parties, slammed the liberal mediatoday at the Americans for Prosperity (AFP) summit in Washington, D.C. “Over the last year, my brother Charles Koch and I have been attacked non-stop in the liberal media,” he said.

Particular attention was reserved for Jane Mayer’s New Yorker piece, which argued that the Kochs funded groups like AFP for personal gain. Speaking to conference attendees, David Koch said that “the New Yorker article that’s running right now is an absolute slander and a highly inaccurate and dishonest attack on the two of us and our great company, Koch Industries.”

First of all, the most salient fact about Koch is how little media attention he's attracted, given the enormous influence he's wielded upon American politics. I follow politics all day long, and don't think I could have told you a thing about him before I read Mayer's article.

Second, his comment must set some kind of record for unjustified self-pity. Here's a man who inherited a massive business empire. He has been able to spend a gigantic fortune to help bend the political system so as to become more congenial to his own economic interests. And he has, in general succeeded, in the sense that the last thirty years have seen an explosion in income inequality and a reduction in tax rates for people like him.

And yet he feels aggrieved because -- there's an article about him! He feels entitled not only to wield massively disproportionate political influence but to face no scrutiny for it at all.

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posted in: jonathan chait, washington, d.c., koch industries, charles koch, david koch, jane mayer

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