Cato vs. The Kochs

Rather than fighting to control the Cato Institute, the Koch brothers ought to concentrate on using their $50 billion fortune to rid us of Obama.

The Los Angeles Times reports:

The markets can’t solve everything: Billionaire brothers and libertarian icons Charles and David Koch are taking to the courts to solve an ownership dispute involving the Cato Institute.

The president of the institute, a longtime pillar of free-market thinking in Washington — calls the move an attempt “to transform Cato from an independent, nonpartisan research organization into a political entity” with a “partisan agenda.”

The oil-rich Kochs — champions for the business-minded right and reviled by the left — have donated hundreds of millions to charitable causes but are better known for backing tea party groups and influencing battles over climate change and federal regulation.

They preside over an ideological network some call “the Kochtopus.” The network consists of an array of politically influential nonprofit groups and foundations espousing libertarian views; one of those is the Cato Institute.

The Cato Institute spent $11.5 million in 2010 researching areas such as healthcare, economic, environmental and international policy “in order to promote and disseminate libertarian philosophy and ideas,” according to tax records. It spent $7 million more producing dozens of papers and analyses, 12 audio CDs, 10 books, and almost 500 forums and seminars.

In the philosophy of libertarianism, ownership is often everything, and the Kochs’ lawsuit — filed in Johnson County, Kansas, where the Cato Institute has an office — plunges into an internal battle over who owns 25% of the institute’s shares. The Kochs hold 50% of the shares and possibly stand to hold more if they win the suit.

“We view [Charles] Koch’s actions as an attempt at a hostile takeover, and intend to fight it vehemently in order to continue as an independent research organization, advocating for individual liberty, limited government, free markets and peace,” Cato Institute President and co-founder Ed Crane said in a statement to The Washington Post…

Read the entire report.

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