A liberal group critical of the influence of the Koch Brothers on politics is slamming the billionaires’ ties with three Florida Republicans.
In a conference call Thursday the group American Bridge announced findings of their report called “Florida Man Buys State: Koch Impacts in the Sunshine State.”
Their director of special projects, Pete Jones, says the Kochs have cultivated tight relationships with Governor Rick Scott, Senator Marco Rubio and former governor Jeb Bush.
From the report:
“One key aspect of the Kochs’ strategy was cultivating relationships with high-profile Florida politicians who were sympathetic to their message. Senator and likely GOP presidential candidate Marco Rubio was the only U.S. Senator to receive a 100 percent score from Koch-group Americans for Prosperity in 2013. In that same year, Sen. Rubio was the keynote speaker at the group’s “Defending the American Dream Summit” in Orlando. When Rubio served as Florida’s House Speaker, AFP Florida Director Adam Guillette said, “Speaker Rubio is a strong ally.” The relationship even goes both ways; Rubio’s former campaign manager served as the national strategic director of Koch’s Latino outreach organization, the LIBRE Initiative, before very recently taking a job with fellow Floridian Jeb Bush.
“Similarly, Florida Governor Rick Scott can boast of strong ties with the Koch network. In 2011, Gov. Scott attended a secret invitation-only Koch meeting outside of Vail, Colorado, and in 2013, he spoke at the same summit in Orlando as Sen. Rubio. Americans for Prosperity organized rallies to support Gov. Scott’s agenda during his term and used their intensive field operations in Florida to boost his reelection campaign in 2014.
“An American Bridge analysis of Governor Jeb Bush’s emails shows his friendly connections to several high-profile members of the Koch network. The relationship proved fruitful for the Koch brothers, as Bush intervened on their behalf multiple times during his tenure, most notably for a Georgia-Pacific pipeline that polluted the St. Johns River, damaging the ecosystem and the local economy that relied on a healthy river.”
Here’s more from the American Bridge phone conference: