Robert Greenwald is a producer, director, political activist, and Brave New Films founder and president.
If you live in one of 38 states, billionaire political operatives Charles and David Koch are trying to influence your and your neighbors' constitutional right to vote. The Koch brothers and their allies have already succeeded in shepherding voter suppression bills through seven states, which amount to about one third of the 270 electoral votes to win the White House.
Through their web of think tanks, nonprofit organizations, family foundations and political donations, the Koch brothers have bought access to democracy's lifeblood: elections. They've used their $42 billion in wealth to support state laws and legislators that erect barriers to the voting booth.
The Kochs' victims are young people, senior citizens, disabled individuals and people of color-- precisely the 99 percent of us who are opposed to the Koch brothers' political agenda.
In 34 states, the Kochs have supported legislation that makes a photo ID a prerequisite to voting. It's a Jim Crow poll tax of a different name, and the voter fraud it engenders the Kochs to silence whole communities. These Koch-supported voter suppression laws have the intended effect of transforming constitutional and civic obligations into an endless challenge for the elderly, disabled and young voters alike.
The Kochs enhanced their influence on state capitals through the American Legislative Exchange Council, a 30-year-old organization that brings lawmakers and corporations together to, literally, write model legislation together. The Koch Brothers even provided ALEC with a loan to help the organization start up. ALEC is an exclusive corporate-legislative hybrid that costs members membership dues in order participate in their secretive meetings. It is estimated that the Kochs have paid over $1 million to the organization and have been board members for years.
ALEC has institutionalized and codified the interests of the top 1 percent into laws at city halls, county boards of supervisors and state capitals. For their investment in ALEC, the Kochs have funded efforts to thwart 21 million Americans from voting.
Koch dollars helped write and propose voting suppression bills in Texas, Florida, California, Wisconsin and 34 other states. At the same time the brothers' Tea Party group, Americans for Prosperity, intents to spend $200 million on local political races with patently false advertisements.
The most decisive and unifying opportunity to deny the Kochs' power grab at the ballot box is appealing directly to Attorney General Eric Holder. Under the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act, Holder can deny states like Florida, South Carolina and others from imposing new voter restrictions. Their history of Jim Crow sets them apart from other states' voting rights. It's the responsibility of the Department of Justice to live up to its name and enforce the law, which calls for one person, one vote, not two billionaires and no votes for 21 million American students, seniors, people of color and disabled citizens who could be electorally blacklisted. These are citizens who could fall through the cracks in our system-- cracks exploited by the Koch brothers for their benefit.
Rather than supporting politicians who ensure every vote is counted fairly, the Koch brothers have paid more than $245,550 directly to elected officials who support voter suppression laws. A prime example is Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, whose largest out of state donors were the Koch brothers. In May, he signed a bill that requires voters present a photo ID before casting a ballot. Imposing restrictions on access does not build a more perfect union nor ensure the sanctity of everyone's vote.
We can stop this by giving Attorney General Holder the support he needs to act. Stand up for democracy and tell him to protect one person, one vote.
April 22nd, 2014
FRANCIS RICHARD MOORE, 92, of FLINT/DAVISON, MI Passed away on Saturday, April 19, 2014, in Escondido, CAHe was Frank to all who knew and loved him, and there were many. ...
January 28th, 2014
In the State of the Union address tonight, President Obama is going to call for a national minimum wage of $10.10. Then in their response ...
January 21st, 2014
My New Year's Day op-ed in the New York Times seems to have kickstarted a discussion about how to make Obamacare better. I hope you ...
December 18th, 2013
This morning it was announced by the Library of Congress and the National Film Preservation Board that my first film, 'Roger & Me', has been ...
December 14th, 2013
[View the story "Michael Moore Tweets on Eve of Newtown Anniversay" on Storify]
November 9th, 2013
Click here for this week's full schedule for the State Theatre and Bijou by the Bay in Traverse City, Michigan. The day has arrived. For ...
September 10th, 2013
[View the story "John Kerry's Accidental Diplomacy" on Storify]
September 11th, 2010
OpenMike 9/11/10 Michael Moore's daily blog I am opposed to the building of the "mosque" two blocks from Ground Zero. I want it built on ...
December 14th, 2010
Yesterday, in the Westminster Magistrates Court in London, the lawyers for WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange presented to the judge a document from me stating that ...
May 12th, 2011
"The Nazis killed tens of MILLIONS. They got a trial. Why? Because we're not like them. We're Americans. We roll different." – Michael Moore in ...
November 22nd, 2011
This past weekend I participated in a four-hour meeting of Occupy Wall Street activists whose job it is to come up with the vision and ...
September 22nd, 2011
I encourage everyone I know to never travel to Georgia, never buy anything made in Georgia, to never do business in Georgia. I will ask ...
December 16th, 2010
Dear Swedish Government: Hi there -- or as you all say, Hallå! You know, all of us here in the U.S. love your country. Your ...
November 2nd, 2010
This letter contains (almost) no criticisms of how the Democrats have brought this day of reckoning upon themselves. That -- and where to go from ...