Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 23, 2014

‘Koch Brothers Exposed’ Film Premieres, but Democrats Take No Questions

scotus 075 100813 440x306 Koch Brothers Exposed Film Premieres, but Democrats Take No Questions

‘Koch Brothers Exposed’ has been championed by Democrats like Sanders as they talk about needing to reform campaign finance law. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Call it a screening, a press conference, a meeting, or a get-together of like-minded friends. Regardless, the [insert event term here] for the “Koch Brothers Exposed: 2014 Edition” documentary still happened Tuesday evening in the Capitol Visitors Center despite Republican accusations of Democratic impropriety.

“The Koch brothers’ tentacles have sunken deep into our democracy and deep into the Republican Party,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., told the few dozen interested people and reporters in attendance.  “That’s evident by the fact they even tried to stop us from having this meeting.”

Controversy swirled around the screening as Republicans charged that the event focusing on billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch violated rules about film premieres on Capitol grounds. Democrats responded that the rules did not apply to the room in the CVC and that the event was a press conference.

But a press release characterized the event as a screening.  Although the release advertised a Q&A with Pelosi and Reid, neither took questions after their speeches.

Pelosi ducked out to speak on the House floor during legislative debate and Reid was pulled out of the room by a staffer during Sen. Bernie Sanders’ remarks.

Sanders also did not take questions from the press, but CQ Roll Call caught up with him as he was leaving. Sanders maintained holding the screening in the CVC was appropriate given the film’s message.

“I didn’t make that decision but I think it’s important that we do hold it,” the Vermont Independent said.  “We’re dealing with campaign finance reform.  And if you’re interested in education, climate change, health care, any other major issue facing this country, you have got to be concerned about campaign finance reform.”

The film’s director, Robert Greenwald, also said the decision to premiere the film in the CVC was connected to its focus on campaign finance reform. “This is an issue that must be debated and resolved in the political universe.  And this is the center of all of that: Washington, D.C.”

The film itself highlights the Koch brothers’ influence on the political process and incorporates ominous music and a narrator with a Southern drawl.  It updates Greenwald’s 2012 Koch brothers film and focuses on their role in the Citizens United decision and their opposition to raising the minimum wage.  Roughly half of the 2014 edition includes new content, including interviews with Reid, who has launched a crusade against the Kochs in Congress.

Tuesday’s event showed two clips from the film: an overview of the Kochs’ political donations and the story of Erica Jackson, a minimum wage worker, who called the Kochs’ opposition to a federal rate increase “ridiculous.”

A description for the film in a press packet given to reporters at the event described it as being created “for activists and communities to use as ammunition in the struggle to take the country back from the wealthiest and the politicians they fund.”

For a limited tine, Brave New Films is streaming the film for free online.

  • Manny G

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  • YONATAN C

    THE REPUBLICANS HAVE DENIED 2.6 MILLION UNEMPLOYED FAMILIES, UNEMPLOYMENT EXTENSION BENEFITS SINCE LAST DECEMBER. WHILE THEY CONTINUED TO HOLE THE EXTENSION BILL “HOSTAGE” IN THE SENATE, THESE FAMILIES HAVE LOST EVERYTHING. FOR THE PAST FIVE MONTHS THEY HAVE USED THESE UNEMPLOYED FAMILIES AS BARGAINING CHIPS FOR POLITICAL LEVERAGE TO FURTHER THEIR PARTY’S POLITICAL AGENDA. MILLIONS OF THESE FAMILIES HAVE FACED EVICTIONS, HOME FORECLOSURES, PERSONAL BANKRUPTCIES, AND HOMELESSNESS IN THE PROCESS. THE REPUBLICANS HAVE DELIBERATELY MADE DELAY AFTER DELAY, MONTH AFTER MONTH, SO THAT EVENTUALLY THE BILL WOULD BE TOO LATE TO VOTE ON IN THE SENATE. THEY HAVE STOOD ASIDE, WHILE THESE FAMILIES SUFFERED AND STRUGGLED TO FEED AND SHELTER THEIR CHILDREN. THEY PUT THEIR POLITICAL AGENDA BEFORE THE WELFARE OF THESE NEEDY FAMILIES. THEY HAVE DEMONSTRATED A TOTAL LACK OF COMPASSION AND COMMON HUMAN DECENCY. I ENCOURAGE ALL AMERICANS WHO HAVE BEEN AFFECTED BY THIS BILL, OR KNOW SOMEONE WHO HAS SUFFERED BECAUSE OF THIS ISSUE, TO NOT VOTE FOR THE REPUBLICAN PARTY IN THE NEXT ELECTION. THEY HAVE SHOWN US THAT THEY DO NOT CARE ABOUT US, LET’S NOT VOTE FOR THEM..

  • paul radcliff

    You should never again vote for any Republican, ever, for any reason. Their whole party is corrupt and only serves evil hearted wealthy and powerful interests. It is like voting for Satan.

    • basno

      Mmmmm, kool aid good.

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