by Max Brantley
Former Arkansas journalist Paul Barton, writing for Gannett newspapers in Washington, has contributed a story to the Baxter Bulletin about a rare Democrat — U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor — enjoying financial support from the billionaire Koch brothers' interests.
One of the political stories of the year in Arkansas is the Koch-funded independent effort (independent meaning largely unaccountable direct spending) to shift the Arkansas legislature to majority Republican so as to advance the anti-regulation, anti-tax, pro-wealthy Koch agenda. Hit mailers from the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity are already hitting boxes all over Arkansas to attack Democrats opposed by Republicans who've taken the no-tax pledge required by the Kochs, along with support for other cookie-cutter ALEC agenda legislation. (Interestingly enough, the Kochs aren't much interested in social agenda stuff. No money to be made there, though whipping up the fundamentalist base IS good for their business generally, given the evolution of the Republican Party. Frank Bruni noted in the New York Times Sunday that David Koch told Politico that he supports gay marriage and disagrees with Mitt Romney on that point. Will that make his money unacceptable to the homphobic Arkansas Republican Party? Don't think so.)
But back to Pryor. Barton writes:
The Koch brothers, the Kansas industrialists known for lending their financial support to Tea Party Republicans, have given more campaign dollars recently to Democratic Sen. David Pryor than any other member of the Arkansas congressional delegation.
In fact, one would be hard-pressed to find a Democrat nationwide who receives more support from Koch Industries than the $35,000 that employees of the firm and its political action committee, Koch PAC, have given to Pryor since 2007.