Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I., Vt.) former foreign policy adviser, who now occupies a think tank perch funded by the Charles Koch Institute, accused the Republican megadonor Charles Koch of "blatant political corruption" for supporting Republican politicians.
The comments from Matt Duss, a visiting scholar in the Carnegie Endowment’s American Statecraft program—which is underwritten by a $4.5 million grant from the Charles Koch Institute—came in response to a CNN report about the Koch donor network’s spending plans for the 2024 Republican presidential race.
Today in oligarchy. https://t.co/5AH6uT8ozh
— Matt Duss (@mattduss) February 5, 2023
"Today in oligarchy," wrote Duss, linking to the CNN story that reported Koch’s funding network was "preparing to throw its money and weight behind a single Republican candidate."
"It’s wild how we talk about blatant political corruption like it’s the weather," Duss continued, linking to another article about Koch’s Republican primary spending in the New York Times.
"Maybe we should have a system where a handful of ultra wealthy people don’t get to determine who becomes president," he added. "We could call it ‘democracy.’"
Duss did not comment on whether the Koch network's decision to underwrite think-tank programs like the one he works in is also a symptom of oligarchy or if this only applies to Koch's support for Republican politicians.
Duss and his former boss Sanders have been vocal critics of Koch’s political spending for years, accusing him of trying to "buy elections" and install an "oligarchy."
After the Washington Free Beacon reported on Duss’s role at the Koch-backed think tank last year, Duss told the Washington Post that he shared a similar foreign policy view with Charles Koch "around the question of restraint. There's a space within which progressives and conservatives tend to agree that the interventionist foreign policy of the last several decades has not produced good outcomes for the American people or for the world."
The Charles Koch Institute announced a $4.5 million grant to the Carnegie Endowment in 2021 to support work "aimed at better shaping and defining a more restraint-oriented foreign policy."
The Koch network has pushed an isolationist foreign policy through its think tank funding, including support for the American Statecraft Program and the Quincy Institute, an anti-war policy shop also financed by left-wing philanthropist George Soros.