Charles Koch Says He's Just Like MLK And He's Completely In The Wrong

by Chris Walker

David and Charles Koch, notoriously known as the Koch brothers, are fond of donating large sums of money to conservative political action committees.

These PACs work tirelessly to elect Republicans to national office, with the hope the return on their investments will result in dismantling of government oversight and rules meant to protect consumers and workers across the nation.

In this election cycle alone, the Koch brothers intend to spend almost a billion dollars of their own money to further their cause.

During the weekend, the Koch brothers held a political networking event where several conservative voices spoke on myriad subjects relating to the upcoming presidential election.

Charles Koch, one half of the multi-billionaire brother team, also had some interesting words to say. He compared his movement -- that is, unrelenting big-business conservatism -- to several Civil Rights dignitaries from years ago.

During remarks to 450 wealthy conservatives assembled in the ballroom of a lavish oceanfront resort, Koch urged his fellow donors to follow the lead of figures such as Frederick Douglass, Susan B. Anthony and the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Koch said:

“Look at the American revolution, the anti-slavery movement, the women’s suffrage movement, the civil rights movement. All of these struck a moral chord with the American people. They all sought to overcome an injustice. And we, too, are seeking to right injustices that are holding our country back.”

It’s interesting that Koch would invoke that imagery. His political organizations have been attempting to limit the rights of these groups for many years.

For instance, several groups the Koch’s fund works to help elect are candidates who have a negative stance on equal pay for equal work.

When it comes to increased regulation or penalties for businesses mistreating women or paying them unfairly, you can bet the Koch brothers will stand in opposition to it.

Surely, Susan B. Anthony would support strengthening equal pay for women who do the same work men perform, and by invoking her name to the opposing cause, Charles Koch does a huge disservice to her memory.

And what of Martin Luther King, Jr.? Do the Koch brothers honor his legacy?

Certainly not. The Kochs have long been opponents of organized labor. Yet the last issue MLK was working on before his untimely death was supporting a sanitation workers’ strike in Tennessee.

Dr. King’s legacy on supporting workers’ rights is noted by historians as being a significant part of his identity. Indeed, conservative extremists of yesteryear frequently called him a “communist” or a “socialist,” not unlike what they call President Barack Obama today.

Undoubtedly, had the Koch brothers crossed paths with MLK, they would have worked hard against his beliefs. So again, by invoking his name in their cause, they are dishonoring his ideals.

The Koch brothers certainly aren’t the first to try to invoke the names of Civil Rights icons in order to further their cause; people from all sides of the political spectrum -- from the left and the right — have erred in trying to tie their movements to political struggles of the past.

When it does occur, it needs to be called out. Charles Koch’s comparison to his cause and the causes of Civil Rights leaders of the past are more than egregious; they’re downright sickening.

The Koch brothers are the heirs to the individual and corporate elitists who stood steadfast against everything Martin Luther King, Jr., Susan B. Anthony and many other Civil Rights icons stood for.

Invoking their names means rewriting the history, and changing their imagery in order to further their ambitions.

That move should sicken the heart of anyone who has supported the cause of equality and justice in America.