The letter sounds passionate and personal. It is motivated, the author explains, by a desire to “speak up for what is best for my kids.” And it fervently conveys the author’s feelings to school leaders: “I do not believe little kids should be forced to wear masks, and I urge you to adopt a policy that allows parental choice on this matter for the upcoming school year.” But the heartfelt appeal is not the product of a grass roots groundswell. Rather, it is a template drafted and circulated this week within a conservative network built on the scaffolding of the Koch fortune and the largesse of other GOP megadonors.
The Koch brothers. But of course. But which one of their astroturf projects is promoting it?
That makes the document, which was obtained by The Washington Post, the latest salvo in an inflamed debate over mask requirements in schools, which have become the epicenter of partisan battles over everything from gender identity to critical race theory.… The letter was made available on Tuesday to paying members of the Independent Women’s Network, a project of the Independent Women’s Forum and Independent Women’s Voice that markets itself as a “members-only platform that is free from censorship and cancellation.” Both are nonprofits once touted by their board chairman and CEO, Heather Higgins, as part of a unique tool in the “Republican conservative arsenal” because, “Being branded as neutral but actually having the people who know, know that you’re actually conservative puts us in a unique position.”
Indeed, because nothing is more conservative than wanting your kids to catch a deadly virus to make the Cult Leader happy.
As a nonprofit, Independent Women’s Forum is exempt from disclosing its donors and paying federal income taxes. But the group, which reported revenue of nearly $3.8 million in 2019, has drawn financial and institutional support from organizations endowed by billionaire industrialist Charles Koch and his late brother, David, according to private promotional materials as well as tax records and other public statements.
I’m not sure how the Koch’s are profiteering off of this (most of their fortune comes from the extraction industries), other than keeping the hornets stinging so no one is paying attention to something else that they’ve got cooking.