The catty tiff between the Kochs and Cato

The Koch boys are footstomping mad, because someone took one of their toys . "We paid for it," cried Charlie. "So give it back to us," snapped David,

The Koch boys are footstomping mad, because someone took one of their toys . “We paid for it,” cried Charlie. “So give it back to us,” snapped David,

These are the multibillionaire brothers who’ve, in essence, purchased dozens of far-right-wing political toys over the years – including think tanks, front groups, Republican candidates, and even the tea party. With this complete set of playthings, they hope to create a government-free, corporate plutocracy in America.

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But one of their prize toys, the Cato Institute, is no longer in their hands. Financed by Charlie Koch back in 1974, this think tank has churned out reams of laissez-fairyland dogma, covering it with a sheen of scholarly research to give it credibility with Washington policy makers.

Lately, however, Cato has not been sufficiently political for the Koch boys, who want to mesh its policy work directly into their Republican machine. Indeed, despite taking some $30 million in funding from the Kochs, Cato’s president, Ed Crane now insists that this toy is not theirs, but a wholly-independent component of the greater laissez-faire cause.

Well, not exactly “wholly” independent. The brothers control seven of the 16 seats on the board of directors, and both Charlie and David sit on the four-member “shareholder group” that actually governs Cato. David recently confronted Crane and his allies, hotly demanding that they return the toy by falling in line with the brothers’ partisan agenda. No, said Crane, who’s now gone public with this sandlot spat, accusing the bratty duo of trying “to turn the Cato Institute into some sort of auxiliary for the GOP.”

So now the brothers have gone to court, demanding that a federal judge intervene to give Cato back to them. Yes, these dogmatic foes of government intervention, suddenly find it useful!

“Policy Group Feeling Pushed Toward G.O.P.” The New York Times, March 6, 2012.

“Battling the bastards is about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on.”

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