116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
' ... Politicians like Pat Murphy, taking thousands from the Republican billionaire Koch brothers.”
'Republican Koch brothers: government subsidies worth more than $166 million” and 'campaign to kill Social Security.”
Source of claims: Monica Vernon, a Cedar Rapids Democrat running for Iowa's 1st District, released the 30-second 'Fight for Us” ad on television and online the week of May 9.
Vernon and Pat Murphy, a Dubuque resident and former speaker of the Iowa House, are battling for the Democratic nomination for Iowa's 1st District, now held by U.S. Rep. Rod Blum, R-Dubuque.
Vernon's ad cites a Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier article from April 14, 2014, saying Murphy received $2,900 from the KochPAC in the 2006 and 2010 election cycles.
KochPAC is the political action committee for Koch Industries, an oil and gas company founded by Fred Koch. Two of his sons, Charles and David Koch, are among the biggest financiers of conservative political groups and candidates.
The PAC donated $2,500 to Murphy Jan. 5, 2006, according to filings with the Iowa Ethics & Campaign Disclosure Board. This was about 14 percent of the $17,551 Murphy took in from Jan. 1, 2006, through May 14, 2006, the filing shows. The group gave Murphy another $400 on Oct. 8, 2010, which was .3 percent of the $149,618 raised that period.
So it's true Murphy got thousands from KochPAC.
Next we're going to check Vernon's claims about KochPAC. First, she claims the Koch brothers received 'government subsidies worth more than $166 million.”
Good Jobs First, a Washington, D.C.-based watchdog group aimed at shedding light on economic development subsidies, reported Koch Industries and subsidiaries have received local, state and federal government subsidies worth $355 million since 1990.
The group describes its Subsidy Tracker 3.0 as the 'first national search engine for economic development subsidies and other forms of government financial assistance to business.” As such, it's hard to find other sources to quantify total subsidies. But an October column by Joe Nocera in the New York Times describes Koch Industries collecting part of $200 million in tax credits for investing in a new Arkansas steel mill.
The verbal track on Vernon's 'Fight for Us” ad says the Kochs want to privatize Social Security, but the written text says the brothers plan to kill the program that provides benefits to retirees or people who are unemployed or disabled.
When David Koch ran for vice president on the Libertarian ticket in 1980, the party's platform included ending Social Security, minimum-wage laws, gun control and personal and corporate income taxes, according to a 2010 New Yorker piece by Jane Mayer.
The brothers' public rhetoric has been more tempered since. They told the Wichita Eagle in 2012 that Social Security and other government programs were bankrupting the country.
'We're running well over a trillion-dollar-a-year deficits with our national debt climbing inexorably to greater and greater level,” David Koch told the Eagle.
In a 2015 interview with Fox News's Maria Bartiromo, Charles Koch said about Social Security: 'We need to allow innovation to occur rather than all these regulations ...”
Murphy did accept $2,900 from the KochPAC in the 2006 and 2010 election cycles. He's not the only Iowa Democrat to get money from the Republican mega-donors. Swati Dandekar, a Marion Democrat who ran against Vernon and Murphy in the 2014 primary for 1st District, got $500 from the KochPAC in 2006, when she was running for Iowa House.
Vernon's claims about the Koch brothers bear out. The Good Jobs First subsidy tracker shows Koch Industries and its subsidiaries received well over the $166 million in subsidies referenced in Vernon's ad.
Comments made by the Kochs about Social Security - especially David Koch's party platform in 1980 - indicate they have concerns about the cost of the program and would like to see changes. Whether they want to 'kill” it is hard to say.
Still, we give the claims measured in Vernon's ad an A
The Fact Checker team checks statements made by an Iowa political candidate/office holder or a national candidate/office holder about Iowa, or in advertisements that appear in our market. Claims must be independently verifiable. We give statements grades from A to F based on accuracy and context. If you spot a claim you think needs checking, email us at email@example.com.
This Fact Checker was researched and written by Erin Jordan.