As Republicans in Michigan battle union workers over the controversial right-to-work legislation, would you be surprised to learn that Charles and David Koch are at the root of the anti-union effort? We didn’t think so. The extremely wealthy Koch brothers, two of the most controversial figures of 2012, supported the election of current Michigan Governor Rick Snyder back in 2010. Snyder is now leading this anti-union charge.
The brothers themselves have been vilified for the how they have spent their millions, supporting some of the most conservative candidates in the Republican Party, so what may come as a surprise are the more human — even liberal — qualities the Koches possess. After his interview with Charles, senior editor of Forbes magazine Daniel Fisher shares an inside story on the Koches, shedding a different light on their influential empire.
So what do the Koch brothers think about themselves? Here are a few things you probably didn’t know:
1. David Koch’s stance on marriage equality, the war on drugs and corporate welfare? This might come as a surprise.
David Koch, for instance, supports gay marriage and opposes the war on drugs. The brothers’ new political emphasis in the coming year? Fighting corporate welfare.
2. Thirty percent of their 50,000 employees are unionized. However, Koch Industries has not experienced a notable strike since 1993.
3. For a man who is frequently linked to dollar signs, Charles Koch doesn’t measure his power through his wealth. In his interview with Fisher, Koch explains:
“Most power is power to coerce somebody. … We don’t have the power to coerce anybody.”
4. After all they invested in their candidates, the Koch brothers suffered a loss this past election. They share that this isn’t the end. They explain:
“[We're] going to study what worked, what didn’t work and improve our efforts in the future. We’re not going to roll over and play dead.”
5. A philanthropist, David has given more than $100 million to New York City arts programs. As a survivor of prostate cancer, David has also given $215 million to find a cure. His brothers are also survivors.
6. What brings a smile to Charles’ face? Despite his growing empire, his proudest accomplishment is his first grandson. His name? Charles.
Be sure to tune in today as Fisher joins us to provide an inside look on the Koch brothers.
Also, Service Employees International Union president Mary Kay Henry will talk more about the union bust in Michigan. Reporter David Shuster shares what Mitt Romney has been up to since the election, and the San Francisco Chronicle’s Joe Garofoli will talk about the crisis inside the California Republican Party.