The Koch brothers are getting under the skin of some Cato scholars. And by getting under their skin, I mean creating a stir. And by creating a stir I mean they want to kick the brothers' asses.
One senior fellow, Jerry Taylor, who's worked there for 21 years, even threatened to quit.
Scholars at the Cato Institute are waging an aggressive and methodical campaign to persuade Washington, D.C.'s conservative leaders to support them in their feud with Charles Koch, the billionaire conservative who helped found the institution.
Michael Cannon, director of health policy studies at Cato, called Chucky Koch's attempt to seize control of the nonprofit as an "existential threat" at a private meeting hosted by Grover Norquist, another paragon of virtue.
"This misguided attempt at corporate control of an independent, nonpartisan think tank is bad for the Cato Institute and bad for the libertarian movement," read the memo, posted later on Cato's blog. "We hope that everyone will come to see that, soon, before any more damage is done."
Cannon stopped short of threatening mutiny, but other senior employees have said they would abandon the highly respected think tank if Charles Koch and his brother, David, do not drop their lawsuit seeking to dramatically increase their control over the organization.
Cannon went on to say that the kerfuffle would "feed the left-wing narrative — what we call Koch derangement syndrome — that the Kochs control the entire conservative movement."
Wait, they're calling us deranged?
Wait, the Kochs don't control the entire conservative movement?
Jerry Taylor, who I mentioned earlier, understands the Kochs all too well. He responded to the members who dared to speak out against the brothers by saying, "After all this, if the Koch apparatus seizes control, their careers are over."
Meantime, Common Cause wants an IRS investigation of the Koch brothers, saying that they're trying "to use Cato's corporate structure and tax-exempt status to serve their own political and economic interests."
Me oh my. Whatever would make them say such a thing?
Interestingly, Grover Norquist wouldn't comment. Guess who's on the receiving end of a hunk of that Koch Kash, hmmm?
Charles Koch released a statement:
"We view recent events as evidence that Cato's leadership has turned its back on these core principles... Some have speculated that we would micro-manage the enterprise. Others have suggested we would turn Cato into a partisan Republican organization. These rumors are absolutely false."
Of course they are, dear.
Roll Call has a lot more here.