In the explosive secret recording released today by The Nation, Sen. Mitch McConnell is heard giving a candid speech at the Koch Brothers summit earlier this year, in which he pledges to continue adhering to the billionaires’ agenda if Republicans regain control of the Senate.
“This speech gives us the real Mitch McConnell: one that is only concerned about creating a political system of, by, and for the wealthy few,” said David Donnelly, president and CEO of Every Voice. “Kentuckians ought to beware of the millions Mitch took from special interests before he decided student loans and unemployment insurance weren’t worth his time.”
The recording captures McConnell pledging to block votes on raising the minimum wage, extending unemployment insurance, and providing relief for student loan borrowers. If he is reelected “we’re not going to be debating all these gosh darn proposals. All we do in the Senate is vote on things like raising the minimum wage, extending unemployment. The student loan package the other day, that’s just going to make things worse.”
McConnell has received millions from opponents of these issues: $2.6 million in contributions and outside assistance from special interests specifically opposed to the minimum wage; $470,000 from banks and interests that lobby on student loan issues.
He also spoke about the Citizens United decision, saying it gave us “the most free and open system we’ve had in modern times” and “leveled the playing field for corporations.”
Americans disagree – a broad, bipartisan majority of Americans support efforts to rein in campaign spending. A CBS news poll from May found that 71 percent of Americans think contributions should be limited. Our own polling of Senate battleground states found 73 percent of likely voters support a constitutional amendment overturning Citizens United.
“Thank you, Charles and David [Koch], for the important work you’re doing,” McConnell says in the recordings. “I don’t know where we’d be without you.”
Indeed. Mitch McConnell has received $94,000 in campaign contributions from Charles and David Koch, their wives, and the Koch Industries PAC over the years.
“Mitch McConnell has been bought and paid for by billionaires and special interests,” said Donnelly. “Just before his last vote against the minimum wage he took in $45,000 from corporate opponents of the issue—so it’s no wonder he is fighting tooth and nail to keep billionaire’s influence on politics as strong as possible. The facts are clear: if Mitch wins this election, Kentucky loses."