It isn't easy being a politically connected billionaire. At a private political strategy summit earlier this year, Charles Koch lamented that he and his brother David were being unfairly persecuted for their fight against liberalism and socialism.
According to audio of the June 16 event that was obtained by The Undercurrent and shared exclusively with The Huffington Post on Wednesday, the billionaire oil industrialist claimed he and his brother were "put squarely in front of the firing squad."
The Koch brothers have funneled millions of dollars to Republican and tea party groups, and GOP politicians frequently pay homage to the Kochs' electoral network. In an April op-ed for The Wall Street Journal, Charles Koch insisted that all of this political money was actually serving as a crusade against corruption.
"Far from trying to rig the system, I have spent decades opposing cronyism and all political favors, including mandates, subsidies and protective tariffs -- even when we benefit from them. I believe that cronyism is nothing more than welfare for the rich and powerful, and should be abolished," he wrote.
Democrats have targeted the Koch brothers for years, but their rhetoric against the conservative mega-donors has intensified ahead of the Nov. 4 midterm elections.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), in particular, has vilified the Koch brothers as "un-American," often invoking their names from the Senate floor on almost any issue. His one-man campaign against the Kansas oil magnates culminated earlier this year after he introduced a constitutional amendment that would bar big money donors from having an outsized impact on the nation's elections. The measure is unlikely to garner the two-thirds of senators it would require for passage. But Democrats hope repeated votes on the matter will serve as effective political messaging ahead of the November midterm elections.
The Kochs don't have a monopoly on the billionaire blues. Venture capitalist Tom Perkins penned a letter to WSJ earlier this year, titled "Progressive Kristallnacht Coming?", in which he compared liberals' treatment of the "one percent" to Nazi Germany's treatment of Jews.