This topic is near and dear to my heart, as the Institute for Humane Studies - a Koch-funded non-profit devoted to advancing liberty through various grants, seminars, and scholarships - helped me land an internship that led to the job I now have. I am eternally grateful for and proud to be part of the Vast Koch Conspiracy.
So with that disclosure out of the way, I just wanted to examine the Center for American Progress's attacks on Koch Industries and its fraternal owners.
Like a number of prominent DC think tanks, CAP is a 501(c)3 non-profit, but its fund is a 501(c)4 advocacy group, which means it is not legally required to disclose its donors. In other words, the organization heading up attacks on conservative groups for injecting billionaires' money into the political process is funded by anonymous rich people and corporations. And that's fine! But a massive glass house is sitting at the corner of 14th and H.
Called out on that apparent double standard by Politico reporter Ken Vogel, ThinkProgress blogger Lee Fang - who has apparently been assigned to the Koch beat - responded with a tweet that, in less than 140 characters, summed up everything wrong with the mentality behind the left's Koch-hatred. Fang asked Vogel: "don't you think there's a very serious difference between donors who help the poor vs. donors who fund people to kill government, taxes on rich?"
To paraphrase Hamlet, ay, that's the rub. The Kochs' political donations are ipso facto illegitimate, the argument implies, since they go towards a cause - the free market - that is, in a word, bad.
Is the free market a force for good or not? That's a wholly different question, and one to which millions of words are devoted every day. But it's beside the point in this context. Fang and his organization are not opposed to money in politics. They're opposed to libertarian economic policy. That's an important distinction. There is nothing righteous about CAP's crusade against Koch industries. It's simply a partisan - or ideological, if you wish - attempt to root out and stunt philanthropists with whom they don't agree.