Koch Brothers Exposed documentary began as a series of 13 two- to twelve-minute viral videos intended to portray David and Charles Koch’s negative impact on a variety of aspects of American life.
The billionaire Koch Brothers have been described as “the poster boys of the 1 percent.” Their conglomerate, Koch Industries, is one of the largest private firms in the nation, with estimated annual revenues in the range of $100 billion. Liberal organizations argue that their extraordinary wealth and overwhelming political influence harm many progressive causes, such as the environment, education, campaign finance, and labor rights.
Some of the alleged wrongdoing highlighted in the film includes:
- Efforts to gut Social Security. Spending more than $28 million, the Kochs have funded hundreds of reports, commentaries and books which popularized the fiction that Social Security is on the brink of collapse.
- Attempts at re-segregation. The film reports on Koch-funded efforts to remake a North Carolina school district’s diversity policy, in effect re-segregating the schools.
- Voter Suppression. Koch money has supported voter ID laws in 38 states. These laws are billed as a way to avoid voter fraud, but the film argues that they are actually intended to make it more difficult for Democrats to vote.
- Keystone XL. The Kochs use their influence to sway legislation regarding the Keystone XL pipeline. Koch Industries has a significant financial interest in this oil and gas project.
- Cancer in Crosset. A Koch paper plant pollutes the air and water of a community in Arkansas. The film explores a link with a cancer cluster in the small African-American community.
- Higher Education. The Kochs give millions of dollars to universities, with the stipulation that the schools must hire Koch-sympathetic professors.
Robert Greenwald attempts to evoke a visceral reaction from his viewers by telling the stories of individuals whose lives have been harmed by Koch activities. Regarding this film, he is quoted as saying, “You reach the heart first. What I always try to do is make the political personal."