Madison, Wisconsin — As I noted yesterday, the protestors here are obsessed with the Koch brothers. (Obsessed enough that most of them even know how to pronounce their name, which sounds like “coke,” not like the more phonetically intuitive pronunciation favored by former New York Mayor Ed Koch.) Yesterday afternoon a bunch of them migrated from the capitol to the office building where the lobbying firm Koch Companies Public Sector, LLC has an office.
As I said yesterday, it’s been reported that this office just opened — the Capitol Times sources that to “an unidentified tenant” of the building — but it’s worth noting that disclosure documents indicate that a Koch lobbyist had an office on the eighth floor of the building in 2009; the newer office on the seventh floor probably reflects that the firm has expanded to seven lobbyists from the five they had in 2009, hence larger office space (I left a message to confirm this but they may be ignoring calls from the media these days).
Koch Industries employs about 3000 people in Wisconsin; their interest in influencing legislation and regulation there is nothing new. The conspiracy theory among the protestors is that Governor Walker’s budget includes provisions to sell state-owned power plants to private companies on a no-bid basis, and these power plants must be going to the Kochs. But Koch Industries has said they “have no interest in purchasing any of the state owned power plants in Wisconsin and any allegations to the contrary are completely false.”
Robert Costa talked to Koch executive Richard Fink yesterday; “With the Left trying to intimidate the Koch brothers to back off of their support for freedom and signaling to others that this is what happens if you oppose the administration and its allies, we have no choice but to continue to fight,” he said.
More pictures after the jump.
And while it would be unfair to hold this against the protestors as a group, I’ll just note that, as with most left-wing protests, one of these guys showed up:
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