Koch brother buyout: Ron Johnson votes against veterans

Charles Koch told MSNBC he does “expect something in return” for his political donations. This week, we’ll highlight how the Senators and Senate candidates who accepted Koch cash and benefit from the support of Koch front groups are making sure the Kochs get their money’s worth – all at the expense of the middle class.

Kochtopus.jpgRon Johnson has consistently sided with the Koch brothers by repeatedly voting to block a bill that would boost health, education and job training programs for our veterans. Johnson even voted the against proposal that the Veterans of Foreign Wars hailed as the “most comprehensive veterans legislation to be introduced in decades,” but was opposed by Koch political front groups. Charles Koch admitted in a national TV interview that he does “expect something in return” for his support and with Johnson receiving more than $50,000 in Koch cash, he will make sure the Koch money keeps flowing, even at the expense of veterans. 

“Senator Johnson turned his back on Wisconsin veterans to keep the Koch brothers happy and keep the special interest money flowing,” said Lauren Passalacqua, DSCC National Press Secretary. “Wisconsin deserves better than a Senator who stands up for special interests at the expense of veterans and their families.”  

 

BACKGROUND 

Johnson Twice Voted With Concerned Veterans For America To Block Comprehensive Veterans Legislation: 

Johnson Voted For Republican Obstruction Of Veterans Bill Expanding Health Care, Education And Job Training Benefits For Veterans And Their Families. In February 2014, Johnson voted for a: “Graham, R-S.C., motion to table (kill) the Reid, D-Nev., motion to commit the bill to the Veterans Affairs Committee with instructions that it be reported back with provisions that would delay the enactment date by three days.” The motion failed 44-52. [CQ, 2/27/14; S. 1982, Vote 45, 2/27/14

Johnson Voted Against Expanding Health Care, Education And Job Training Benefits For Veterans And Their Families. In February 2014, Johnson voted against a: “Sanders, I-Vt., motion to waive all applicable budget laws with respect to the Sessions, R-Ala., point of order against the bill that would extend and expand health care and education benefits and job-assistance programs for veterans and their families.” The motion was rejected 56-41. [CQ, 2/27/14; S. 1982, Vote 46, 2/27/14

  • Darin Senick Of Concerned Veterans For America Said His Group Was “Opposed To The Bill.” “Representatives of AMVETS and Concerned Veterans for America said their groups support the bill’s provision to repeal caps on annual cost-of-living increases in military retired pay, but feel the broader legislation would burden a VA that still has a backlog of 400,000 benefits claims and faces problems providing timely, adequate health care for its current beneficiaries. ‘We’re opposed to the bill basically because it’s bad for veterans and bad for VA. It increases mission creep and reduces VA’s ability to properly serve veterans,’ said Darin Senick, VA adviser for Concerned Veterans Of America.” [Military Times, 2/4/14

    • Concerned Veterans For America “Was Funded Almost Entirely By” The Koch Dark Money Group The TC4 Trust. “The Washington Post and the Center for Responsive Politics identified a coalition of allied conservative groups active in the 2012 elections that together raised at least $407 million, backed by a donor network organized by the industrialists Charles and David Koch. Most of the funds originated with two groups, the Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce and TC4 Trust, both of which routed some of the money through a Phoenix-based nonprofit group called the Center to Protect Patient Rights (CPPR). […] Concerned Veterans for America, which in 2012 held events spotlighting the unemployment rate among veterans and the difficulties members of the military face in casting ballots. The group was funded almost entirely by TC4 in 2012.” [Washington Post, 1/5/14

      Paul Rieckhoff Of Iraq And Afghanistan Veterans Of America: S.1982 “Would Accomplish Many Of The Goals For Which Veterans And Military Service Organizations Have Been Advocating For Years.” In a letter to Sen. Sanders from Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America’s CEO and Founder Paul Rieckhoff wrote: “This legislation would accomplish many of the goals for which veterans and military service organizations have been advocating for years, including strengthening the Post-9/11 GI Bill, expanding advance appropriations for more of the VA’s budget, expanding dental care coverage for veterans, expanding benefits for surviving spouses, expanding care related to military sexual trauma, instituting new rules for VA’s claims processing reports, and much more.” [Iraq And Afghanistan Veterans Of America Letter, 1/21/14

      Veterans Of Foreign Wars: S. 1982 Was “The Most Comprehensive Veterans Legislation To Be Introduced In Decades.” “Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman, Bernie Sanders introduced the Veterans Health and Benefits and Military Retirement Pay Restoration Act of 2014. The bill, S. 1950, is the most comprehensive veterans legislation to be introduced in decades.” [Veterans of Foreign Wars, 1/23/14


  • Veterans Of Foreign Wars: S.1982 “Would Expand And Improve Health Care And Benefit Services To All Generations Of Veterans And Their Families.” “If signed into law, this sweeping legislation would expand and improve health care and benefit services to all generations of veterans and their families. Most notably, it would expand the current caregiver law to include all generations of veterans and provide advance appropriations to ensure monthly compensation and pension as well as education payments are protected from future budget battles. The bill also offers in-state tuition protection for recently transitioned veterans, improves access to mental health and treatment for victims of sexual assault in the military, and authorizes construction of more than 20 Community Bases Outpatient Clinics to serve veterans in rural and remote communities.” [Veterans of Foreign Wars, 1/23/14

    Paralyzed Veterans Of America: S.1982 “Would Accomplish Some Of The Highest Priorities For Paralyzed Veterans And Its Members.” “Paralyzed Veterans of America (Paralyzed Veterans) urges its members and all veterans to contact your senators and ask them to support S. 1982 (formerly S. 1950), the “Comprehensive Veterans Health and Benefits and Military Retirement Pay Restoration Act of 2014,” introduced by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. This legislation marks one of the most comprehensive bills to ever be considered in the Senate or House. If enacted, S. 1982 would accomplish some of the highest priorities for Paralyzed Veterans and its members.” [Paralyzed Veterans of America, 1/22/14

  • Veterans Package Would Have Provided Advanced Appropriations So That Veterans Benefits Would Not Be Affected By Future Government Shutdowns. “The legislation also addresses another high priority for Paralyzed Veterans. Specifically, the bill provides advance appropriations authority for VA’s mandatory funding accounts (compensation and pension, education benefits, dependency and indemnity compensation, etc.) to ensure that in the event of a future government shutdown, veterans’ benefits payments would not be delayed or put in jeopardy. The need for this change was revealed during the partial government shutdown that occurred in October 2013.” [Paralyzed Veterans of America, S. 1982, accessed 3/18/15

    JOHNSON HAS A NEARLY 90% LIFETIME RATING FROM AMERICANS FOR PROSPERITY 

    Johnson Had A Nearly 90% Rating From Americans For Prosperity. [AFP Scorecard, Accessed 11/13/15

    JOHNSON RECEIVED MORE THAN $50K IN KOCH CASH & WAS CLOSE TO THE KOCHS 

    Members Of The Koch Family, Including Charles And David Koch, Have Contributed $16,800 To Johnson. [Influence Explorer, Accessed 11/15/15; Federal Election Commission, Ron Johnson for Senate, Filed7/20/15]

    Koch Industries’ PAC And Employees Contributed $34,700 To Johnson And His Leadership PAC. [Influence Explorer, Accessed 11/15/15; Federal Election Commission, Ron Johnson for Senate, Filed 7/20/15

    Politico: Johnson Was “Well-Liked” By The Koch Brothers “Who Are Sure To Support His Reelection.” “He’s also well-liked by the big-spending Koch brothers, who are sure to support his reelection. The well-honed political machine of newly reelected Republican Gov. Scott Walker could be a difference-maker too.” [Politico, 4/5/15

    Slate: Johnson Was “Fairly Close To The Kochs.” “Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson had actually gotten fairly close to the Kochs, dining with David Koch at the 2012 Republican National Convention and appearing at their donor conferences.” [Slate Magazine, 6/2/14] 

  • Johnson Dined With David Koch At The 2012 Republican National Convention And Has Appeared At His Donor Conferences. “Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson had actually gotten fairly close to the Kochs, dining with David Koch at the 2012 Republican National Convention and appearing at their donor conferences.” [Slate Magazine, 6/2/14] 

Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, November 19, 2015
Contact: Sadie Weiner, Lauren Passalacqua – 202-545-3518 

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