GOP culture of corruption: cool ‘Kochtopus’ cash to ‘economic freedom schools’


Back in 2011, it was reported that the Koch Brothers Are Fueling Far Right Academic Centers At Universities Across The Country:

Budget constraints and other problems at universities have allowed a small set of oligarchs to use school donations to interfere with academic integrity on campuses. A group of hedge fund managers, working through the Manhattan Institute’s Veritas Fund, have created entire departments dedicated to advancing failed supply side ideas and climate skepticism. John Allison, the former CEO of BB&T Bank, a bailout recipient, has used his corporation’s money to force college campuses to adopt Ayn Rand readings into their programs.

I posted about the “Kochtopus” infiltrating research universities with their money to fund institutes and professors of propaganda, like Steven Slivinski at ASU, last year. Tempe Normal, er, Arizona State University is now “Koch Brothers U.” “Kochtopus” cash and Koch Brothers U. (ASU).


The Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required) reports State universities slated to get $5M for little-known ‘freedom schools’:

The state university system is still reeling from last year’s $99 million cut, and higher education advocates for the three state universities are pleading with lawmakers to restore some of their funding now that the state’s budget outlook is improving.

Universities are asking for an additional $24 million in funding in fiscal year 2017, bringing the total funding down to $75 million less than universities had two years ago.

According to draft budget spreadsheets circulating around the Capitol as the budget continues to be negotiated, that doesn’t appear likely. One of the few reprieves the universities are getting is a $5 million addition specifically earmarked for “economic freedom schools.”

However, many lawmakers have no idea what an “economic freedom school” or center is.

And the universities are just as stumped about why the centers are receiving state funding. The Arizona Board of Regents said it never asked for the $5 million for the centers, and its priority for the year is mitigating the cuts made last year.

Republican Rep. Bob Thorpe of Flagstaff, who chairs the House Government and Higher Education Committee, was among the lawmakers who drew a blank when asked what the schools are and who requested funding.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Don Shooter also couldn’t explain what the centers are. He said nobody from the universities approached him about the funding, and he was unsure why the centers are slated to receive $5 million in funding in a draft of this year’s budget.

* * *

There are three economic freedom centers that would receive the funding, according the Legislature’s budget arm, the Joint Legislative Budget Committee.

University of Arizona has a Center for the Philosophy of Freedom, a research center that falls under the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Arizona State University has a Center for the Study of Economic Liberty and a Center for Political Thought and Leadership. All three are research centers that do not produce degrees.

And all three centers are mostly funded by private conservative donations, including donations from the controversial Charles Koch Charitable Foundation. Charles and David Koch own Koch Industries, one of the largest multinational corporations in the world, and are known for their heavily financial backing of conservative candidates and causes.

Only UofA’s center receives direct, earmarked money from the state – an annual $500,000 appropriation.

ASU came under fire in 2014 when it accepted a $3.5 million donation from the Koch Foundation Center to create the Study of Economic Liberty. The school’s Center for Political Thought and Leadership accepted an early donation of more than $1 million from the Koch Foundation, according to press releases from the university.

UofA’s center was also started with some seed money from the Koch Foundation, according to a 2011 article in the Tucson Weekly. Among its other major funders are Randy and Ken Kendrick, who are major donors to conservative causes, and principal owners of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

* * *

Democratic lawmakers have derided the centers as Koch-backed Libertarian-leaning think tank operations that shouldn’t receive state funding.

But Republican Sen. John Kavanagh of Fountain Hills said the centers are designed to promote free-market ideas in the bastion of liberalism that is the university system.

“It’s an attempt to have one voice out of 30,000 on campus advocating that side of the issue,” Kavanagh said, noting he didn’t ask for the $5 million in funding for the centers.

Democratic Sen. Steve Farley of Tucson countered that if the idea is to advocate free market policies, the centers should practice what they preach and not take any state money.

“Why do we need to spend taxpayer money on an institute to study free markets? Shouldn’t they go to the free market for that?” Farley asked.

Have you noticed that John Kavanagh always seems to be at the center of the GOP culture of corruption in Arizona? He was the House Appropriations Committee Chair before moving over to the Senate, where he is now the vice chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee. Remember when Kavanagh Put $900000 into State Budget for Private Prisons at the eleventh hour in 2014 and got caught red handed? If you want to sniff out the source of this cool “Kochtopus” cash to “economic freedom schools,” I would start with this corrupt politician.

The Republic‘s Laurie Roberts, however, suspects this cool “Kochtopus” cash is a political payoff from Doug Ducey, the ice cream man hired by Koch Industries to run their Southwest subsidiary formerly known as the state of Arizona. Is Ducey paying off ASU’s Koch center for endorsing Prop. 123?

Looks like ASU’s Koch-funded Center for the Study of Economic Liberty’s enthusiastic thumbs up for Gov. Doug Ducey’s Prop. 123 has paid off.

As in a multi-million-dollar payoff.

Mysteriously, someone over at the Capitol has inserted $5 million into next year’s proposed state budget for universities. The money is earmarked for “economic freedom schools.”

While our leaders refuse to properly fund Arizona’s universities, it seems there’s a nice honeypot being set aside for schools that don’t even offer a degree, according to the Arizona Capitol Times.

Arizona’s universities have endured the deepest cuts in the nation since the Great Recession, according to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. Last year alone, the Legislature and Gov. Doug Ducey cut $99 million from universities – a 13 percent cut in state funding. This, on top of $400 million in previous recession-era cuts.

State support for universities has dropped from $1.1 billion in 2008 to $550 million this year — from $9,439 per student in 2008 to $4,196 per student this year.

Universities are asking for $32 million more in next year’s budget.

So naturally, some mysterious person has suggested $5 million – money earmarked only for “economic freedom schools.”

Nobody knows who put it there. One theory has it that the $5 million was inserted by Senate President Andy Biggs and House Speaker David Gowan — two congressional candidates seeking favor with big donors to conservative causes. People like Diamondbacks’ owners Ken and Randy Kendrick,who are major donors to one of those “economic freedom schools”, the University of Arizona’s Center for the Philosophy of Freedom.

Cartoon_07Me? I’m thinking this has Ducey’s fingerprints all over it.

Nobody knows who put it there, but it seems fairly clear to me. (Though there is an alternate theory being bandied about. Read on.)

ASU’s Center for the Study of Economic Liberty was created  in November 2014 – just after Ducey’s election. The center was funded with $3.5 million from the Charles Koch Charitable Foundation.

You know, the people who helped raise Ducey’s profile in 2012 by pouring dark money into his campaign to defeat a sales tax for K-12 schools?

The people who lined Ducey’s 2014 path to the governor’s office by pumping millions of dollars in dark money into the campaign?

The ones to whom Ducey pays homage a couple of times a year, at secret summits where the Kochs and their deep-pocketed pals screen candidates and extol the virtues of private prisons, publicly funded private schools and tax cuts and such?

In October, ASU’s new Koch-funded Center for the Study of Economic Liberty endorsed Ducey’s Prop. 123 plan to temporarily boost school funding by siphoning more money from the state land trust.

Now, suddenly, someone has plugged $5 million into next year’s proposed budget for universities for “economic freedom schools.”

The money, the Cap Times reports, would go to three centers, all of which have received seed funding from the Koch Foundation:

UofA’s Center for the Philosophy of Freedom. ASU’s Center for Political Thought and Leadership.

And yes, ASU’s Center for the Study of Economic Liberty.

Turns out payback’s a …. blessing.

In a follow up, Laurie Roberts writes, Legislature to give millions to a guy who wants to eliminate public schools?

What’s more shocking than our leaders earmarking millions of dollars for “economic freedom schools” while universities have endured the nation’s deepest cuts?

How about earmarking millions of dollars to an “economic freedom school” headed by a guy who wants to eliminate public schools?

* * *

One of the three schools that would get the dough: ASU’s Center for the Study of Economic Liberty. The school opened just after Gov. Doug Ducey’s election in 2014, with private funding, including a $3.5 million grant from the Charles Koch Charitable Foundation.

Just coincidentally, I’m sure, the Center for the Study of Economic Liberty has endorsed Ducey’s Proposition 123, to pay part of the state’s K-12 school tab out of the state land trust.

Turns out William Boyes, founder and director of the Center for the Study of Economic Liberty, supports the elimination of public schools. In November, Boyes spoke at a conference sponsored by the Mises Institute, about the need for centers such as his to push for a more free market approach in universities.

“We have to change education from K-12 to universities to be more open to … a free market approach,” he said. “We don’t see that at those levels. I think the centers, if they can create departments and programs, can create free market economic thinkers and the more we put out there, the more impact it’ll have in the long run.

“I also think that if we can do the same thing in K through 12, get rid of public education, create private education as a replacement and have a market for education, then I think we really have an impact.”

ASU even provides a link to the Schools Sucks Project, which has a podcast of Boyes’ comments to Mises, entitled The Demise of Government Schools.

As the School Sucks people noted on their podcast page: “It’s always exciting when a prominent figure at an enormous public university – the largest public university by enrollment in the U.S – openly calls for the end of public schooling.”

Yeah, totally exciting.

And the perfect candidate for millions in state funding toward his quest, courtesy of a Legislature that has spent years starving the public schools and siphoning more and more public funds to private schools.

Something to think about as you ponder Proposition 123 and our leaders’ commitment to the improvement of Arizona’s public schools.

The GOP culture of corruption in Arizona is a swirling cesspool of crap. If you want to end it, you have to vote every Tea-Publican out of office in November.

Previous article(Update) Court packing scheme in Arizona
Next article“Dance of Eternity 2” at Leo Rich Theater
AZ BlueMeanie
The Blue Meanie is an Arizona citizen who wishes, for professional reasons, to remain anonymous when blogging about politics. Armed with a deep knowledge of the law, politics and public policy, as well as pen filled with all the colors stolen from Pepperland, the Blue Meanie’s mission is to pursue and prosecute the hypocrites, liars, and fools of politics and the media – which, in practical terms, is nearly all of them. Don’t even try to unmask him or he’ll seal you in a music-proof bubble and rendition you to Pepperland for a good face-stomping. Read blog posts by the infamous and prolific AZ Blue Meanie here.


  1. Koch Companies was valued at 1.9 billion in 1982. Thats 5.5 billion in todays dollars. Thats where your dog would be.

    The Koch brothers are worth 100 billion. But, theY dont lead lavish lifestyles. They havnt consumed 1 percent of the wealth they created. Rather, they invested it all to create more jobs.

    If koch were public, it would rank 17th in the fortune 500.

    They did this by creating a great place to work.

  2. Your concept doesnt even begin to appy to the Koch brothers. They have created 60,000 jobs in the United States. They did this despite operating in the most competitive industries that exist. Plus, they created a company tbat people enjoy working for. They are amazing.

    • Seriously? If my dog had inherited millions and an oil business from her daddy in 1967 she’d be a multi-billionaire by now, too.

      It would be hard to screw that up.

      This is why I question your ability for critical thought.

  3. The article is a big nothing burger. When you have over 100,000 employees and hundreds of business units, you have problems. When you have thousands of enemies, they put a magnifying glass on those problems. There is nothing in that article to suggest otherwise. When there is a problem in their empire, they clean it up and move forward.

    • It’s one article out of tens of thousands. I thought I’d try to enlighten you a bit. You are supporting the bad guys.

      Let me try one last time to test your ability for critical thinking.

      The Koch’s are free market fanatics, followers of the cult of Ayn Rand, objectivists, at least that’s their claim.

      Libertarianism/objectivism suffers from the exact same problem that communism has, it doesn’t scale.

      Communism works fine for a few dozen, maybe even a few hundred like minded individuals. Beyond that, some one isn’t going to go along with the plan and you get totalitarian government control.

      Objectivism relies on free markets, unregulated, the idea being that if Dave builds a business and makes himself a lot of money, the community around him will benefit, and if his business doesn’t behave the free market will correct the problem, and the local community will not suffer.

      But it doesn’t scale, because Dave builds a multinational, and doesn’t live in the community, he lives in New York, and he off-shores the business, and there are no real world free market consequences for Dave when he closes the factory.

      You end up with a banana republic of have’s and have not’s, or more likely a police state.

      A completely unregulated free market economy being good for the country is a fantasy, just like communism.

      You can test this right now. Let’s play a game of Monopoly, I’m the banker, and there are no regulations.

      I’ve already won, haven’t I?

      The Koch’s use this free market crap to justify their crimes. You should associate yourself with a better class of people.

  4. The only necessary condition for centralizing public power in a democratic society is to love equality or to make a show of loving it. Thus the science of despotism,” Tocqueville despairingly concluded, “can be reduced . . . to a single principle.”

    Fred Koch didn’t even witness the worst of communism. While he was in Russia, every engineer he worked with in the petroleum industry was “purged” meaning that they were banished from the communist party with all the pain from loss of association and benefits. After 1936, being purged meant being imprisoned or executed.

    This wasn’t an aberration either. When Pol Pot studied Sartre and his devotion to communism he went back and murdered over 3 million intellectuals, college professors and the like. When Abimael Guzman created Shining Path in Peru, most of its victims were leftists.

    When Marx wrote his polemic in 1860, intellectuals actually believed him, that communism would create a higher standard of living with economies of scale. Can you imagine? Motor Vehicle Department creating better and less costly computers than Apple?

    The writers on this page still buy it. Banks run by government, etc.

    Mock, deride, sneer, too often the coin of this blog: all of these require some degree of intellectual altitude and superiority. For that, FSNT, you need another 50 points of IQ and 6,000 more hours of study.

  5. Your comments don’t pass even superficial scrutiny. The Koch brothers have now run Koch industries for 50 years. It is the 2nd largest privately held business in the United States with over 100,000 employees. When they first inherited the business, it had a little over 2,000 employees. That’s amazing performance and they have achieved that through employee job satisfaction and empowerment.

    Fred Koch did sell refinery technology to the Soviet Union and that experience gave them a ringside seat to the horror of “Mao Tse Tung” communism – the perpetual purging of the movement. He was working with committed communists and he saw them “purged” and their lives destroyed by the central authorities. He also saw all of the terror, hunger and misery that happens when economic output collapses by 80% under communism.

    That’s why his sons are so committed to being politically active despite the terrible price they have to pay. They know that’s what you morons would do to all of us.

    • Dammit! Little Johnny and the Koch brothers have defeated our plan to impose Soviet style communism on America!


  6. Blue is hyperventilating that a small infusion of difference from the Koch brothers is going to irreparably taint the research of our universities. Our universities are irreparably tainted already.

  7. Pure hysteria. Imagine that we would have this small beacon of light and difference of opinion in the vast cultural corruption of our Universities.

    The National Reading Panel spent $10million reviewing 10,000 studies on reading and found that 96% of them were not worth the paper they were printed on. The remaining 4% they found suspect.

    The NSSE, a huge longitudinal measure of education quality, found that 50% of all college students showed no evidence of cognitive benefit after two years of college. And, think about it, those were the survivors.

    On the issues of the day, minimum wage, elasticity of taxable income, effectiveness of public education for students from poverty, benefits of free trade, university culture is one massive pile of intellectual corruption – seeking, not truth, but untruth.

    When you look at their internal structure, Koch industry culture is a model of enlightenment with a culture of cooperation and teamwork and University culture is straight out of the dark ages. That’s why the Koch brothers are billionaires and our public universities are twice the cost of Grand Canyon University and have low levels of employee satisfaction.

    Less than 30% of students rate the quality of education excellent at our universities and that number is going up at only 1% per year.

    • I am always completely baffled by your ramblings JH. Do you even grasp that what you are saying makes no sense?

    • The Koch brothers are billionaires because daddy made millions building refineries for Stalin.

      The Koch brothers inherited their wealth. They are not “Great Men”.

      They are criminals. They steal. They deal with Iran against US law, they bribe. Their negligence has led to death of innocent people.

      You’re getting yourself all turgid over some very bad people. Explain this, from Bloomberg:

      You can’t.

      Their father was an admirer of Adolph Hitler, and brought an actual Nazi from Germany to be the boys nannie when they were growing up.

      The nannie returned to Germany to help the Nazi’s at the start of WW2. Being creepy little Nazi’s in actually part of their upbringing.

      They fund a variety of “think” tanks that are actually just little lie factories working to justify the Ayn Rand objectivist fantasy of a selfish, anti Christian society.

      I thought all you tea baggers were all about the Jesus?

      Through their various “charities” they donate 400,000 copies each year of Atlas Shrugged to K-12 schools to teach children that religion is bad.

      They are racists, anti competition, anti religion, anti America Pieces of shit.

      That you do not know this is shameful.

      It’s also funny that you reference the National Reading Panel study, because that was the cornerstone of the case for Common Core.

      I’m starting to think you’re not actually Falcon9 and we’ve all been debating a racist chat bot. No one is as incapable of critical thought as you seem to be.

      Or you are Falcon9, and you’re trolling for a job with Sean Noble, because you have no morals yourself.

Comments are closed.