News / Arts & Entertainment

'Citizen Koch' Explores How Big Money Threatens Democratic Process

'Citizen Koch' Explores How Big Money Threatens Democratic Processi
X
Penelope Poulou
July 08, 2014 5:27 PM
The impact of money on American politics is the focus of the documentary Citizen Koch, which follows the 2012 reelection campaign of Republican Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and his under-the-radar campaign financing by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch. As VOA’s Penelope Poulou reports, the film explores how big money can threaten the democratic electoral process.
Penelope Poulou

The impact of money on American politics is the focus of Citizen Koch, a documentary that follows the 2012 reelection campaign of Republican Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin and explores how big money can threaten the democratic electoral process.

Filmmakers Carl Deal and Tia Lessin examine the influence billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch wielded over Walker's campaign.

According to the documentary, Walker’s ultraconservative Tea Party message was defined by corporate campaign money.

The film suggests that the 2010 Supreme Court ruling that loosened restrictions on campaign donations paved the way for wealthy donors to influence elections behind the scenes. Groups receiving the money do not have to disclose where, or who, it comes from.

Billionaire businessman David Koch arrives at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala Benefit in New York, May 5, 2014.Billionaire businessman David Koch arrives at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala Benefit in New York, May 5, 2014.
x
Billionaire businessman David Koch arrives at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala Benefit in New York, May 5, 2014.
Billionaire businessman David Koch arrives at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala Benefit in New York, May 5, 2014.

Lessin believes the people of Wisconsin might have voted differently had they been made aware that corporate money was behind Walker’s campaign.

“He gave enormous corporate tax breaks, tax breaks to the wealthiest and he cut social services and he went after public employees and their unions,” she said.

Citizen Koch also shows how big money politics can backfire.

“It doesn’t necessarily mean just because a lot of money is put into a campaign, that candidate is going to win,” said political science professor Richard Benedetto.

He says that, unless Americans demand the disclosure and a ceiling on campaign funding, the Supreme Court ruling is here to stay.

Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker reacts at his victory party in Waukesha after winning a recall election, June 5, 2012.Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker reacts at his victory party in Waukesha after winning a recall election, June 5, 2012.
x
Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker reacts at his victory party in Waukesha after winning a recall election, June 5, 2012.
Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker reacts at his victory party in Waukesha after winning a recall election, June 5, 2012.

“Yeah, the guys with the big money get all the influence, where the little guy doesn’t get any but it hasn’t risen to the level where the public is ready to revolt about it," Benedetto said. "If the public was ready to revolt about it, and then you’d see changes being made.”

So, go out and vote, says one Wisconsinite featured in Citizen Koch.

“We forgot where the real power is," he says in the film. "You know, you can be living in a cardboard box, underneath the highway somewhere and you at one moment in time have as much power as the guy down the street living in the mansion. And that’s when you go to vote.”

You May Like

French Refugee Drama Wins Cannes Top Prize

Dheepan is about a group of Sri Lankan refugees who pretend to be a family in order to flee their war-torn country for a housing project in France More

Photogallery Crisis in Macedonia Requires Meaningful and Swift Measures

The international community has called on Macedonian leadership to take concrete measures in support of democracy in order to exit the crisis More

Activists: IS Executes 217 Civilians, Soldiers Near Palmyra

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Sunday said the victims include nurses, women, children and Syrian government fighters More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs

New in Music Alley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harry Wayne Casey – “KC” of KC and the Sunshine Band – comes to VOA’s Studio 4 to talk with "Border Crossings" host Larry London and perform songs from his new album, “Feeling You! The 60s.”