I’ve been going hard at the Article V game for almost four years, and have yet to see any significant financial support for the cause. The Koch brothers have spent billions on conservative politics in this period, and nary a dime for Article V or the BBA. Worse, through their financial influence over organizations like the Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute, they have, in my opinion, blocked us from getting any help at all from the wealthy and influential conservative groups that should be helping us.
Their father, Fred Koch, was on the John Birch Society’s national Board of Directors in the 1950’s, and as such thought Article V was too dangerous to be used. At the time, there wasn’t yet a conservative political movement in the country. Liberals ran everything, and fearing an Article V Convention that would be controlled by them made sense. But that was then, and 65 years later we have conservatives in control of 33 state legislatures. Times change. What was once to be feared may now be embraced. You’d think.
One institution that has not supported us may be having a change of heart, and I’m hoping it reflects a change in attitude by the Koch brothers themselves. That would be huge.
The Democracy Institute is a think tank affiliated with the Cato Institute. Over the years, the Kochs have contributed more than $40 million to Cato, and have control over a third of Cato’s Board of Directors. Cato is independent, but it knows where it gets its money, and, again in my opinion, the Kochs have a veto power at Cato.
In a report available at their website, the Democracy Institute publishes an analysis of the current Article V movement, entitled, “Opening Pandora’s Box? Why the Convention of States Project will fail.” In endorsing the approach of the BBA Task Force, as opposed to that of the Convention of States Project, author Patrick Basham states, “Only narrowly focused, non-partisan, single amendment solutions offer the likelihood of eventual ratification and positive change.”
The whole article is a pretty damning hit on CoSP, and an implicit, if not actual, endorsement of the BBA. Nothing like this has ever come out of Cato before. This is progress, but we want more than kind words. We want the kind of financial support that the Kochs could easily provide, in a variety of ways.
I think the key to closing the deal with the Kochs will be the BBA Planning Convention, currently planned for September 12th. They will be able to see with their own eyes that the fears of their father no longer have any foundation in fact. Article V, in the current political environment, can be trusted. The men and women in charge of the Convention, and its conduct, will be the proofs.
The Tennessee Legislature has apparently found a way to disarm the CoSP protesters who were blocking passage of the Resolution calling the Convention. If, as planned, it passes out of Committee in the House next week, and quickly passes on the House floor, it looks like we’ll be heading to Nashville after all.
Special invitations will be extended to the Koch brothers. Meeting in Nashville will be the Presiding Officers, and the legislative delegations from, as many as 40 or more States. These are among the most powerful, if little known, politicians in the country. I’m sure most of them wouldn’t mind having a chat with the Kochs.
If that doesn’t bring these guys aboard, I give up.