Harry Reid's Senate website: The Koch brothers might not be paying any corporate taxes, you know

Via John McCormack of the Standard, who reminds us that this isn’t the first time Reid has idly accused a major player on the right of tax-dodging. The difference between this time and last time: When he smeared Romney, he did it in a private interview with HuffPo. His smear of the Kochs is being hosted on his official Senate website — on a webpage devoted exclusively to attacking them.

Dude, this is real.


Among the “facts” listed on the site is this one, which is lifted from a slideshow at Forbes:

“They are known for bankrolling conservative, Libertarian and Tea Party causes and became poster boys for corporate tax reform last year when an Obama Administration official suggested Koch is organized as an S Corp. and so pays no corporate level taxes.”

That last bit, as McCormack notes, is a reference to an offhand remark once made years ago by Obama econ advisor Austan Goolsbee, who suggested in a conference call that Koch Industries was organized in a way that would exempt it from paying corporate tax. The Kochs’ chief counsel disputed that; Robert Gibbs was eventually forced to walk it back; Goolsbee himself disowned the remark last year, claiming that he had confused Koch Industries with a different company owned by a different Koch brother after a Treasury investigation was launched to determine whether he had gotten his information by improperly accessing IRS info on the Kochs. (The results of the investigation are … secret.) All of which is to say that this smear was debunked long ago. If Reid’s team is still pushing it, it’s not because they don’t know it’s false. It’s because they don’t care. Which, in fact, makes it very much like his smear regarding Romney’s taxes.

Your homework assignment is this Mark Hemingway piece from last week comparing how, and how much, the Kochs spend on political advocacy to how Reid’s friends in labor spend it. To answer Ed’s question earlier about whether “Kochsteria” among Democrats is effective, I actually think it is — not for the party generally, which will suffer this fall no matter how many times this old man yells at this particular cloud, but for people like Reid who’ve taken the lead on it. Koch-bashing is Reid’s way of building goodwill with progressive chumps who eat this demagoguery up ahead of his reelection bid in 2016. He faces a tough race potentially against Brian Sandoval; he’ll need lots of money from the base, so he’s decided to start stroking their political erogenous zones often and early. It won’t save the Senate for Democrats but it might save Reid’s seat eventually.