The Koch Brothers, Charles and David, have an influential pro-freedom, pro-liberty agenda working in state houses and influencing federal legislators. Targeted by left-wing Congressmen (like the now-retired Henry Waxman (D-CA) among others) and progressive interest groups, the Koch Brothers have sparked serious fights in otherwise blue states, and have thwarted the aggressive Big Government agenda of President Barack Obama.
Former US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid blamed them for many of the ills afflicting the country, and called their ads against Obamacare victims “untrue”.
Yet recently, President Obama, a lame duck executive making the most of his final years in the Oval Office, has praised the efforts of the libertarian oil magnates.
Last month, when Obama granted clemency to 46 inmates and just before he became the first sitting president to visit a federal prison, he gave a shout-out to the Koch brothers in a speech during an NAACP conference.
“This is a cause that’s bringing people in both houses of Congress together,” Obama said. “It’s created some unlikely bedfellows. You’ve got Van Jones and Newt Gingrich. You’ve got Americans for Tax Reform and the ACLU. You’ve got the NAACP — and the Koch brothers.”
The audience started laughing.
These, after all, were the brothers that Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) called “un-American” and spoke of their role in political life as “the shadowy influence of two power-drunk billionaires.”
But Koch Industries is urging support of the same legislation in Congress that is backed by Obama as his administration tries to reduce the burgeoning prison population, cut the billions spent on inmates and reverse severe drug-sentencing policies that began with the crack cocaine epidemic.
The WaPo article highlighted the purposes behind their efforts for sentencing reform, including ongoing criticism of a slow-acting executive:
He describes his focus on sentencing reform as part of his libertarian philosophy of limited government and his commitment to removing barriers of opportunity for the poor. He said Obama should do more and do it faster to rectify the effects of mandatory minimum sentences, especially for the disadvantaged and men and women of color.