According to data obtained from the Federal Election Commission, fifty-nine percent of all outside spending on independent expenditures has come from non-party aligned groups while only forty-one percent comes from the party committees. This is a dramatic change from the 2006 midterms (as of October 19, 2006) when party committees accounted for eighty-two percent of all outside spending on independent expenditures and non-party aligned committees accounted for eighteen percent.
Koch Industries, a Wichita-based energy and manufacturing conglomerate run by the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, operates a foundation that finances political advocacy groups, but tax law protects those groups from having to disclose much about what they do and who contributes.
[. . .] The participants included some of the nation's wealthiest families and biggest names in finance: private equity and hedge fund executives like John Childs, Cliff Asness, Steve Schwarzman and Ken Griffin; Phil Anschutz, the entertainment and media mogul ranked by Forbes as the 34th-richest person in the country; Rich DeVos, the co-founder of Amway; Steve Bechtel of the giant construction firm; and Kenneth Langone of Home Depot.
So the billionaires are gathering to influence our elections even more. Great. This is significant because Koch Industries funds much of what is known as the "Tea Parties." They also are funding "global warming deniers" and initiatives like California's Prop. 23. Here is the Wall Street Journal, in Koch Industries Shifts on Tea Party,
"Five years ago my brother Charles and I provided the funds to start the Americans for Prosperity," Koch says, "and its beyond my wildest dreams how AFP has grown into this enormous organization of hundreds of thousands of Americans from all walks of life standing up and fighting for the economic freedoms that have made our nation the most prosperous society in history."
I have been driving through Ohio and Pennsylvania for the last week, writing about a series of town hall meetings called the "Keep It Made In America Tour." Listening to the car radio and watching TV I have to tell you I have never seen ANYTHING like it. one after another there are nasty smear ads, all with the same wording but from different groups with anonymous donors, which means corporations and billionaires. The flood of this stuff is beyond belief and obviously it is having its effect.