Koch cash comes to the defense of Apple et al.

From Emily Birnbaum’s “How the House’s Silicon Valley smackdown is dividing conservatives” posted Friday by Politico:

A set of bipartisan bills to rein in the power of the country’s largest tech companies is splintering the conservative movement, prompting a well-established set of Charles Koch-backed think tanks and advocacy groups to mobilize in defense of Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Google.

The fight is pitting the politically powerful Koch network, which advocates for the government to stay out of business, against major tech antagonists on the right like News Corp. executive chair Rupert Murdoch, who has spent years working behind the scenes to knife Facebook and Google. The Kochs’ opponents also include conservative donor Rebekah Mercer, a major backer of both Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and the right-leaning social media network Parler.

The Kochs have spent decades funneling millions of dollars into free-market, libertarian and pro-tech groups across Washington to protect the tech industry from regulatory scrutiny. Groups advocating against the tech antitrust legislation received over $1.5 million altogether in 2019 alone from the Koch Foundation, according to the foundation’s financial records. Now that influence army is facing its most serious challenge yet as key GOP lawmakers, emboldened by anti-Silicon Valley fervor among the Trump-supporting Republican base, embrace five Democratic-led antitrust bills that aim to diminish the power of the tech giants.

“Getting down to the specifics of these bills, they range from bad to ugly,” said Patrick Hedger, vice president of policy for the Taxpayers Protection Alliance, which is funded in part by groups connected to the Kochs.

My take: $1.5 million? Is that all?

16 Comments

  1. Gregg Thurman said:
    My take: $1.5 million? Is that all?

    That’s all it took.

    Koch isn’t the kind of person that forgets easily. I’ll bet Republicans that support those Bills will be remembered (negatively) come election time.

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    June 18, 2021
  2. Fred Stein said:
    Vilifying Big Tech, or China for that matter, seems to be a chowder du jour to energize your base, whether left or right, who are blinded by confirmation bias.

    David C. needs to explain how his bills help the marginalized, the disenfranchised, in our society. W.r.t. Apple the key beneficiaries of David’s bill would be SPOT and EPIC.

    Disclaimer: There are serious issues with the concentration of power and wealth due to the digital transformation. Privacy and safety are top issues. We need more enlightened thinking on this.

    2
    June 18, 2021
    • Fred, I see Apple making a serious dent in the whole concentration of wealth problem. Beyond their customers & employees, Apple cultivates responsible suppliers & hopefully better-treated employees/miners. Accessory designers & firms reap rewards. Developers, teachers, content creators for photo, video and written works, small investors seeking steady growth, we’re all benefiting!
      Now that a new generation of investors seems enthused perhaps more families will reap the benefits of owning shares. I really think a lack of knowledge about investing kept a significant % of lower wage earners out of the lion’s share of recent gains. That’s sure changed, though they’ll need to mature out of the meme/Bitcoin schemes.

      1
      June 19, 2021
    • Gregg Thurman said:
      We need more enlightened thinking on this.

      I agree, but highly doubt you are going to get it from a politician. Politicians are going to pander, in short sounds bites, to a constituency that has virtually zero knowledge of the issue.

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      June 19, 2021
    • Kirk DeBernardi said:
      @ Fred Stein —

      Enlightened thinking? Your talking today’s Republicans here.

      (Admittedly a cheap shot — no political bashing here on Apple 3.0. I hereby apologize.)

      1
      June 20, 2021
  3. Jerry Doyle said:
    “…. Both sides agree that there’s nowhere near as robust of an apparatus on the right for supporting antitrust changes. Whereas a swath of academics and groups on the left have taken up trust-busting as a priority policy area, only a few groups and figures are devoted to the issue on the right.” …. “The Democratic-led bills — H.R. 3816 (117), H.R. 3825 (117), H.R. 3826 (117), H.R. 3843 (117) and H.R. 3849 (117) — don’t include prominent anti-tech proposals that Trump and other Republicans had championed, such as stripping or reducing the online industry’s protections against lawsuits over user-posted content.”

    I have not seen or heard from staunch conservatives with whom I know a push for trust busting of big tech companies, certainly not targeting Apple. While it is true many contemporary conservatives have become extremely contentious, confrontational & aggressive in nearly every area of politics & governing, this also is true as has many progressives on the left. This trend has led some legislators believing they are spearheading a fundamentally ethical movement (that has little underpinning from the common citizen) a trust-busting endeavor identified by a seemingly legitimate concern that big tech is an octopus with tentacles that harm consumers & small businesses alike. It also is a fundamental movement by some legislators to show that the United States is run by the federal government & not by self-interested capitalist with humongous bank accounts & no scruples.

    2
    June 18, 2021
    • Kirk DeBernardi said:
      @ Jerry Doyle —

      “It also is a fundamental movement by some legislators to show that the United States is run by the federal government & not by self-interested capitalist with humongous bank accounts & no scruples.”

      That’s correct. The United States IS run by the federal government…

      …who happens to be influenced by self-interested capitalists with humongous bank accounts & no scruples.

      1
      June 20, 2021
  4. David Emery said:
    Koch brothers are to the Left as George Soros is to the Right. Notorious money funding all the world’s evil. 🙁

    I was disappointed but not surprised when I recommended a book (“The Inclusive Economy” by Michael Tanner) to my wife’s book club, and they rejected it solely because Tanner’s employer (Cato Institute) accepts funding from the Kochs.

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    June 19, 2021

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