What do the Kochs want with Cato?

Bob Levy, current chairman of Cato, describes a conversation with David Koch:

In early November, David Koch met with Bob Levy, chairman of Cato’s board of directors, at Dulles International Airport. They were joined by Richard Fink, Koch’s chief adviser, and Kevin Gentry, a vice president of Charles Koch’s charitable foundation who’d been put on Cato’s board of directors. (Former Americans for Prosperity President Nancy Pfotenhauer had joined the board after the same meeting.)

“They said that a principle goal was to defeat Barack Obama,” remembered Levy. “The way David [Koch] put it was, ‘We would like you to provide intellectual ammunition that we can then use at Americans for Prosperity and our allied organizations.’ AFP and others would apply Cato’s work to advance their electoral goals.”

Levy asked them: “What gives you the impression that [Cato isn’t] providing intellectual ammunition?” He says now: “I never got a satisfactory answer. The only answer that makes sense was that Cato needed to be more responsive to their needs. We would take closer marching orders. That’s totally contrary to what we perceive the function of Cato be.”

Americans for Prosperity, by the way, has an upcoming rally that Rep. Michele Bachmann and Sen. Pat Toomey will headline.

You may have supposed that Bachmann and Toomey were something other than libertarian, and if you thought that, you were right.

They are something different — they’re called Republicans.

The Kochs might have built a new Republican-friendly institute, but instead chose to take an existing libertarian one and twist it into a servile, GOP-friendly paper-mill.

Cheaper, to be sure, but antithetical to an honest and independent libertarianism.

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