On Wednesday, January 6th, 2021, we watched in horror as rioters stormed the Capitol building, disrupting the certification of the 2020 election results. Earlier in the week, 13 GOP Koch-funded senators banded together to object to the congressional confirmation of Biden as our next president, legitimizing and paving the way for Wednesday’s insurrection, which caused the Capitol to be evacuated and has already left five dead. The fallout of this insurrection lays at the feet of these 13 senators and they must be held accountable.
Led by Ted Cruz of Texas, the 13 GOP Senators included Josh Hawley of Missouri, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, James Lankford of Oklahoma, Steve Daines of Montana, John Kennedy of Louisiana, Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Mike Braun of Indiana, and Senator-elect Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, Roger Marshall of Kansas, Tommy Tuberville of Alabama, and Bill Hagerty of Tennessee and (now former) Senator from Georgia, Kelly Loeffler. Between the Koch PAC and personal donations from the Koch family itself, over $600,000 has gone into bankrolling the politicians listed above for just this latest election. In addition, the Koch-funded Super PACs Americans for Prosperity Action and Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce (now called the Stand Together Chamber of Commerce), spent nearly $15 million since 2016 in hopes of getting five of the 13 Senators (re)elected.
The same wealthy donor network that funded the GOP insurrectionists has a long history of funding at George Mason University. The George Mason University Foundation has received over $50 million from the Charles Koch Foundation (CKF) since 2005. More significantly, the university has also received additional funding from CKF to George Mason think tanks: the Mercatus Center has received over $10 million and the Institute for Humane Studies (IHS) over $35 million. It’s these centers that provide the Koch network with the ability to exploit higher education institutions for their own benefit.
The Koch network’s donations come with strings attached (hiring decisions, the curriculum taught, etc…), are used to propagate disinformation and deregulation, and contribute to the degradation of George Mason University’s reputation as an institution of higher education.
In addition to releasing a petition to call on House Majority Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer to hold these Koch-funded politicians accountable, we demand that George Mason University take action to salvage its image and separate its legacy from the Koch network before it is too late by divesting from all Koch funding immediately.
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