Jonathan Chait

A Conspiracy So Vast

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My thoughts on the fuzzy line between libertarian principle and Koch self-interest has prompted John Goodman of the Koch-funded National Center for Policy Analysis to accuse me of promoting "conspiracy theories." The truth, writes Goodman, is that the Kochs do not care if the groups they fund toe the line:

We have been recipients of Koch gifts. I would guess they total less than 1% of our income over 28 years of existence. More importantly, Koch giving has always been completely principled, as Charles Koch explained in the Wall Street Journal the other day. We have never received a phone call, letter, e-mail, or any other communication advising us to take a position or change a position on any public policy issue.

Well, it's Goodman's word against mine. But wait -- you know who's willing to go on the record backing me up about the Kochs' policies? David Koch:

David Koch has acknowledged that the family exerts tight ideological control. “If we’re going to give a lot of money, we’ll make darn sure they spend it in a way that goes along with our intent,” he told Doherty. “And if they make a wrong turn and start doing things we don’t agree with, we withdraw funding.”

I'm sure Goodman is telling the truth that the Kochs have never told them to change their policies. But that would be because NCPA supports the correct line on all the issues the Kochs care about. In any case, suggesting that they influence the structure of libertarian institutions is hardly a conspiracy theory.

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