The Kochs dictate their terms: What their new GOP candidate quiz says about the plutocrats' agenda

Running for president? Want the Koch network's support? Be prepared to answer some questions

By Sophia Tesfaye

Senior Politics Editor

Published June 19, 2015 2:20PM (EDT)

David Koch                                  (Reuters/Carlo Allegri)
David Koch (Reuters/Carlo Allegri)

The Koch Brothers have got some questions they want answered by every 2016 candidate.

Well, their survey is technically a list of questions, but it reads more like the terms of agreement to a plutocratic ideological platform. Surprise, surprise.

The Washington Post's James Hohmann got his hands on the questionnaire distributed to Republican and Democratic presidential candidates from the Koch-funded Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce. The tax-exempt group, which finances the political activities of the Koch network, issued the list of 25 questions to be answered and returned by July 18. The Koch's have previously outlined an ambitious plan to spend nearly $1 billion in the lead up to the 2016 election.

It's as if the Kochs never once watched an episode of Law Order SVU (the eminent source of legal reasoning) and learned that you aren't supposed to ask such leading questions.

The survey is divided into four sections that are meant to cover general issue areas but the underpinning Koch agenda quickly becomes clear. The sections are entitled: Expanding Opportunity for Everyone, Combating Cronyism and Corporate Welfare, Restoring Fiscal Sustainability and Shaping Foreign Policy.

Nearly every question, like with most questionaries from political interest groups, is actually a not-so subtle push for specific policy solutions favored by the Libertarian billionaire brothers. While the Koch's general fondness for lower corporate taxes and push for criminal justice reform is widely known, the survey provides some insight into the more specific policy solutions and outcomes favored by Charles and David Koch.

From the so-called "Restoring Fiscal Sustainability" section:

Question #20: Do you support capping federal spending on Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program by allowing states to control those funds in the form of federal grants?

Or a gem favorite from the "Shaping Foreign Policy" section:

Question #23: Do you believe military intervention in Libya made America safer? Should the U.S. intervene in Syria and/or Ukraine?

See? Iraq is so old news.

And then there is this one from Section 2: "Combating Cronyism and Corporate Welfare":

Question #8: Do you agree government mandates and subsidies distort the economy and allow certain individuals and corporations to profit at the expense of others?

Good place for a reminder: the Koch group responsible for these questions doesn't pay taxes.

Notable missing, any questions on campaign finance and Citizens United.

Read the full survey here.


By Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's senior editor for news and politics, and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

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2016 Elections Gop Primaries Koch Brothers Republican Party