strange bedfellows

Charles Koch Agrees With Bernie Sanders, Still Isn’t Feeling the Bern

In this February 26, 2007 file photograph, Charles Koch, head of Koch Industries, talks passionately about his new book on Market Based Management. (Bo Rader/Wichita Eagle/MCT via Getty Images)
When you’re this rich, you really can do whatever you want. Photo: Bo Rader/Wichita Eagle/MCT via Getty Images

Vermont senator Bernie Sanders has gotten a nod from one of the most unlikely sources imaginable: Charles Koch.

That’s right: The chairman and CEO of Koch Industries, who along with his brother David is considered by many on the left to secretly own the government, agrees with Bernie Sanders, whose argument against the corrupting influence of money in politics features the specter of the Koch brothers as a central plank.

The Kochs hold libertarian political views and support a number of causes and organizations that espouse that philosophy, including the Reason Foundation, of which David Koch is a trustee. The brothers hope to raise $900 million to influence this year’s election, generally to the benefit of Republicans.

And yet, in an op-ed published by the Washington Post on Thursday, Koch writes:

The senator is upset with a political and economic system that is often rigged to help the privileged few at the expense of everyone else, particularly the least advantaged. He believes that we have a two-tiered society that increasingly dooms millions of our fellow citizens to lives of poverty and hopelessness. He thinks many corporations seek and benefit from corporate welfare while ordinary citizens are denied opportunities and a level playing field.

I agree with him.

Koch — who is nothing if not consistent, opposing both corporate and regular-people welfare — goes on to decry “the regulations, handouts, mandates, subsidies and other forms of largesse our elected officials dole out to the wealthy and well-connected.”

He also notes that “if you’re poor and get caught possessing and selling pot, you could end up in jail,” whereas if you’re rich, you’re more likely to beat the rap.

Koch concludes his op-ed by assuring readers that he has no interest in supporting Sanders’s big-government schemes, and throws in a dig at the War on Poverty to remind us that he is, after all, Charles Koch.

In November, Koch told USA Today that he had no plans to endorse a contender in the GOP primary, but would likely support whoever the party chooses for the top of its ticket. In the meantime, it looks like he’s having fun annoying the Republican candidates.

Koch Agrees With Sanders, Isn’t Feeling the Bern