Why isn’t Dan Hannan MEP more open about his links to the Tea Party?


9:10 am - November 15th 2010

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contribution by Hengist McStone and Sunny Hundal

There are conflicting accounts of whether the Tea Party Movement, in the United States is grassroots or not. The recent film (Astro)turf Wars shows a slick, well-funded machine manipulating deluded activists across the country.

One writer in the UK who thinks he knows the truth is Daniel Hannan MEP, who blogs for the Daily Telegraph.

“The Tea Party is that rare beast, a genuinely spontaneous popular movement.” Mr Hannan insists, dismissing the claims of astroturfing.

But for a gentlemen who says he places a lot of importance on transparency, it’s curious that he fails to disclose to his readers his own associations with their funders – the Koch brothers.

Mr Hannan’s own agent confirms he recently addressed the brothers in question. Mr Hannan tells us by email that he did address a meeting of the Koch Foundation last year, but received no fee for doing so.


[Observer Cartoon]

The Tea Party movement
But let’s start a bit further back. A recent article in The New Yorker detailed how the vast majority of the millions flowing into Tea Party coffers comes from two brothers from Kansas: Charles and David Koch.

They also happen to be the billionaire owners of Koch Industries, America’s second largest private company, and have much to gain from the libertarian, pro-business and anti-environment agenda pushed by the Tea Party. David Koch likes to boast that theirs is the “largest company that you’ve never heard of”.

Nobody elected the Koch brothers, but they are hugely influential, and it’s impossible to gauge their full reach. One non-partisan commentator tells the New Yorker:

The Kochs are on a whole different level. There’s no one else who has spent this much money. The sheer dimension of it is what sets them apart. They have a pattern of lawbreaking, political manipulation, and obfuscation. I’ve been in Washington since Watergate, and I’ve never seen anything like it. They are the Standard Oil of our times.

A recent Greenpeace report names Koch as the “kingpin of climate science denial” vastly outspending even ExxonMobil in giving money to organizations fighting legislation related to climate change, underwriting a huge network of foundations, think tanks, and political front groups. A figure of $37 million is cited just on lobbying alone.

Dan Hannan
“The idea that the Tea Party is “Astroturf” (meaning fake grassroots) just won’t wash” writes Mr Hannan. He goes on to say:

The Koch brothers have been funding free market campaigns since the 1970s without ever sparking anything like this. Nor, by the way, is there anything wrong with rich men spending their money on causes rather than on themselves. On the contrary, we ought to celebrate political donations.

We can celebrate political donations, as long as it it’s clear who is making them and who they are connected to.

Mr Hannan’s declaration of interests from 2009 lists that various organisations paid for his flights to the United States. These were:

(1) American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC); (2) Regular Folks United (RFU); (3) Campaign for Liberty (CFL); (4) National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA)

Both ALEC and NCPA are funded by Koch Industries (click the link for more).

Regular Folks United have not been around long enough to file their 501 tax returns, but it was founded by Lori Roman, who also executive director of ALEC. She’s not exactly ‘regular folk’. (Campaign for Liberty is Senator Ron Paul’s group and not relevant to this article).

“I have no special brief for the Tea Party” claimed Mr Hannan recently.

Curiously, Mr Hannan’s recent blog posts in support of the Tea Party movement don’t disclose his links to organisations very closely connected to the ‘grassroots movement’.

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Reader comments


I think he’s made his links very clear. I’m not quite sure what else you feel he should explain.

Then there’s his appearances on the Glenn Beck show on FOX, the cheerleaders for the Tea Party…

So a guy who openly states he has links to people is criticised for not saying that he has links to people.

I am confused.

What you probably mean is that every single statement he makes is not then accompanied by a five page declaration of all his income and associates.

Can I ask where your declaration of interests is, and why wasn’t it attached to the bottom of your blog post?

4. Dick the Prick

Behave.

“A recent Greenpeace report names Koch as the “kingpin of climate science denial” vastly outspending even ExxonMobil in giving money to organizations fighting legislation related to climate change, underwriting a huge network of foundations, think tanks, and political front groups. A figure of $37 million is cited just on lobbying alone.”

Gosh, that’s amaaazing! Such huge numbers to put against Greenpeace’s $2 billion income over the last decade.

Boy, those billionaires sure do spread it around, don’t they?

Point the first…

The Koch brothers sounds like a bad vaudeville act.

Point the second…

Tories and ALEC? Colour me unsurprised…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Atlantic_Bridge#Funding_and_partnerships

Daniel Hannan has just gone up in my estimation.

And I already thought he was awesome.

@Tim Worstall

The Koch Brothers are largely spending on political causes to improve the profits of Koch Industries. What’s wrong with that? Nothing if you are a shareholder in Koch Industries.
But if you believe that the legislative process should not be hijacked by plutocrats , or that as humble citizens we should be informed by the truth rather than propaganda to play our part in democracy then the exploits of the Koch brothers should very much be a matter of concern.

In contrast Greenpeace does not take corporate donations btw.http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/about/faq/where-does-greenpeace-get-its-funding-from

Hengist,

what exactly is your position here? Are you against the Koch brothers funding any political groups, think tanks or media operations? If so, on what basis? Their funding is hardly a secret – look up the word ‘kochtopus’.

I received funding from an organisation that the Kochs support to do some academic research that was completely unrelated to any of their business interests – it was on freedom of speech in the UK. I think they are rich supporters of a political philosophy that happens not to be wholeheartedly approved of on this website.

11

Wouldn’t the more pertinent question be: would they be as sanguine about funding “independent” research which went contrary to other causes they held dear?

And even if they would, if the amounts of such “pro bono” spending are simply a fig leaf for a more worrying general picture of the super rich funding things which are just plain wrong headed, that would tend to curb any enthusiasm we might have for the fact they funded the odd piece of research, no?

My, my, look at the butler class tory trolls defending their corporate masters. Their loyalty to the global elite is amazing. Of course, the rich elite could not give a rats shit for them in return. They are just cannon fodder to be used in in the battle to steal more money from the little people.

It is only recently that the Koch brothers have been exposed as funding so many Astroturf, bullshitting groups with apple pie names. Why do the Koch brothers hide behind these groups? Why are they so reluctant to come out into the open and admit that they hate freedom for all. These are the modern version of the French aristocracy, and if they don’t stop their greedy ways they could very well end up with the same outcome.

As for Hannan, he is a rich , lazy sack of shit. Who spouts the usual clap trap so loved by the butler class trolls.

Yay, Sally’s back!

“My, my, look at the butler class tory trolls defending their corporate masters.”

You tell ’em, Sally.

“It is only recently that the Koch brothers have been exposed as funding so many Astroturf, bullshitting groups with apple pie names. Why do the Koch brothers hide behind these groups?”

It’s hardly news. The Kochs have been funding stuff for decades, such as the Cato Institute.

http://www.lewrockwell.com/gordon/gordon37.html

“Wouldn’t the more pertinent question be: would they be as sanguine about funding “independent” research which went contrary to other causes they held dear?”

The same applies to almost any ‘independent’ research. I wouldn’t expect most UN funded research to be directly critical of the existence of the UN, or for EU funded research to be critical of EU integration (it funds a series of academic chairs and journals all designed to normalise EU citizenship). The Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the Nuffield trust tend to take lines on some things (although to their credit, they are, at least, eclectic in their preferences). No source is neutral. So its best if everyone declares openly who their supporters and interests are. Then we judge the research on its quality.

So a guy who openly states he has links to people is criticised

Where does he do that?

Can I ask where your declaration of interests is, and why wasn’t it attached to the bottom of your blog post?

I didn’t realise we were elected representatives. So much for Tory demands for transparency.

16

Agreed, but my main issue is exactly that the fact they are capable of funding your research on free speech (however laudible) is less impressive than if they were funding research into why global warming exists, or why astro-turfing is a bad idea. By all means give them credit for the fig leaf, but let’s not forget what it might be covering up eh?

I’m slightly confused by this “scandalous” lack of disclosure.

I mean it’s not as if Hannan is being paid/bribed to say stuff he doesn’t mean.

He does mean it. He quite likes those guys!

I’m slightly confused by this “scandalous” lack of disclosure.

Of course you are. Though if some lefty was advocating for and defending an organisation whose funders had paid for their flights you’d be copying and pasting that everywhere.

But what are you saying he is hiding?

That he is only “TP for pay”?

Here’s Daniel Hannan talking about hosting the first UK Tea Party event:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sOKtgLfC458

If he’s trying to cover up his links to the TP, he’s doing a terrible job!

If he’s trying to cover up his links to the TP, he’s doing a terrible job!

Just to clarify – could you and cjcjc point me to anywhere, where Dan Hannan has disclosed to his readers that he has had his flights paid to the US by these organisations?

Anywhere?

Oh we know he loves the tea party and wants to set one up here and has failed miserably. We’re talking about the disclosure above though.

I thought Butler cjcjc would be on here defending his corporate masters.

“could you and cjcjc point me to anywhere, where Dan Hannan has disclosed to his readers that he has had his flights paid to the US by these organisations?”

Shameful.

Tea party stooges love their corporate wefare.

“could you and cjcjc point me to anywhere, where Dan Hannan has disclosed to his readers that he has had his flights paid to the US by these organisations?”

Well, it’s in his declaration of interests, as your article states. His PR company page states:

“He has recently addressed the Koch Foundation, the Reboot Britain conference and the American Legislative Exchange Council.”

http://www.pfd.co.uk/client/daniel_hannan/public_speaking/

And here he is addressing the Cato Institute, which is part of the Kochtopus:

http://www.cato.org/weekly/index.php?vid_id=186

So, again, I ask, what’s the problem? Do you really think his readers, those that like him I mean, are bothered about him flying to the US and speaking to these groups? Do you think that if they read your article they will feel betrayed by Hannan?

Do you actually have a point to make? If you are calling for new laws to limit donations to political groups or think tanks, then spell it out. Otherwise, this just seems like sour grapes that these particular brothers want to spend their money on things you don’t agree with.

Do you really think his readers, those that like him I mean, are bothered about him flying to the US and speaking to these groups?

Errr yes – actually I do think it’s relevant that you disclose these things. You’ll see that a lot of journos at reputable publications do disclosures when they write about orgs.

Of course you’re not bothered – you think it doesn’t matter. These groups are benign to you. Not for others.

@Trooper Thompson,
No , I don’t think those that like Dan Hannan will feel betrayed by Hannan, IMHO it will take a great deal more to dislodge his loyal followers . But through his constituency he represents millions of people in South East England, to the European Parliament, his duty is to everyone in that constituency. That is the constitutional role he enjoys, he has no constututional duty whatsoever towards the billionaires of Wichita Kansas.
However in his Telegraph blog he defends the billionaires of Wichita Kansas, and pretends to make impartial judgments that the causes founded by the billionaires of Wichita Kansas are “popular” and “spontaneous”.
And still, Daniel Hannan enjoys the patronage of the billionaires of Wichita Kansas, a point we thought you ought to know.

Okay, you don’t like Hannan, the Koch brothers and the Tea Party, but you’ve got nothing on Hannan, because the links between these three are clear as day.

By the way, I’m no particular fan of Hannan or the Kochs: I’m a Misesian – Rothbardian kinda guy, although I’m not sure the distinction will save me from Sally’s wrath.

I always thought being a butler would be a great job.

Bruce Wayne’s Alfred the obvious role model!

28

Butler…. ideal job for Cleggy post election when no doubt he’ll be in need of gainful employment?

Though if some lefty was advocating for and defending an organisation whose funders had paid for their flights you’d be copying and pasting that everywhere.

Oh come off your high horse. They didn’t pay for his flights to have a holiday in the sun. They paid for his flights to come and speak at their event. Just a refund of legitimate expenses.

This is absolutely fascinating. A list of major donors in Federal US politics over the last few decades.

http://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/list.php?type=A

Koch Industries is number 86 on the list.

Many of those above them are, erm, unions.

13 of the top 15 financial donors in the US donate to the Democrats (the other two sit on the fence, donating to both)? Surely not! I thought only the Republicans were in the grip of corporate interests!

Clearly I need to get my news somewhere other than Sunny TV (“Fair and Balanced”).

Now that a bunch of right wing activist thugs (sorry the supreme court of the US) has decided, that corporations can donate as much money as they like to political campaigns, and do not have to reveal their backing, Tim’s idiotic list will change very quickly over the next ten years. Billions will be poured into negative attack ads against any liberal candidates, but of course the public will be kept in the dark about who these people are and what the stand for.

Always funny to see the tory trolls grumbling about democratically, and open trade unions while defending unaccountable and secretive rich corporations. But the butlers must serve their masters.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    Why isn’t Dan Hannan MEP more open about his links to the Tea Party? http://bit.ly/a1vIkk

  2. irene rukerebuka

    RT @libcon: Why isn’t Dan Hannan MEP more open about his links to the Tea Party? http://bit.ly/a1vIkk

  3. Hazico_Jo

    RT @libcon: Why isn’t Dan Hannan MEP more open about his links to the Tea Party? http://bit.ly/a1vIkk

  4. Ben Cadwallader

    RT @libcon: Why isn’t Dan Hannan MEP more open about his links to the Tea Party? http://bit.ly/a1vIkk

  5. James Brown

    RT @libcon: Why isn’t Dan Hannan MEP more open about his links to the Tea Party? http://bit.ly/a1vIkk

  6. Andy S

    RT @libcon: Why isn’t Dan Hannan MEP more open about his links to the Tea Party? http://bit.ly/a1vIkk

  7. sunny hundal

    Why isn’t Dan Hannan MEP more open about his links to the Tea Party? A little @libcon investigation http://bit.ly/a1vIkk

  8. TeresaMary

    RT @sunny_hundal: Why isn’t Dan Hannan MEP more open about his links to the Tea Party? A little @libcon investigation http://bit.ly/a1vIkk

  9. Brian Moylan

    RT @sunny_hundal: Why isn’t Dan Hannan MEP more open about his links to the Tea Party? A little @libcon investigation http://bit.ly/a1vIkk

  10. Pucci Dellanno

    RT @libcon: Why isn’t Dan Hannan MEP more open about his links to the Tea Party? http://bit.ly/a1vIkk

  11. sunny hundal

    @bengoldacre fyi… Dan Hannan MEP and his links to the Tea Party http://bit.ly/a1vIkk

  12. sunny hundal

    @bengoldacre fyi… Dan Hannan MEP and his links to the Tea Party and climate change deniers http://bit.ly/a1vIkk

  13. Fraser Fulton

    Tory MEP Dan Hannan: I don't meet lobbyists http://t.co/4A2eSbPG But he accepts free flights from Tea Party orgs http://t.co/CYF2HW1M

  14. Purbeck Pashmina

    Tory MEP Dan Hannan: I don't meet lobbyists http://t.co/4A2eSbPG But he accepts free flights from Tea Party orgs http://t.co/CYF2HW1M

  15. Mark Willis

    Tory MEP Dan Hannan: I don't meet lobbyists http://t.co/4A2eSbPG But he accepts free flights from Tea Party orgs http://t.co/CYF2HW1M

  16. Richard Bartholomew

    Tory MEP Dan Hannan: I don't meet lobbyists http://t.co/4A2eSbPG But he accepts free flights from Tea Party orgs http://t.co/CYF2HW1M

  17. Craig Brown

    Tory MEP Dan Hannan: I don't meet lobbyists http://t.co/4A2eSbPG But he accepts free flights from Tea Party orgs http://t.co/CYF2HW1M

  18. Jill Hayward

    Tory MEP Dan Hannan: I don't meet lobbyists http://t.co/4A2eSbPG But he accepts free flights from Tea Party orgs http://t.co/CYF2HW1M

  19. Ian

    Tory MEP Dan Hannan: I don't meet lobbyists http://t.co/4A2eSbPG But he accepts free flights from Tea Party orgs http://t.co/CYF2HW1M

  20. Paul Wood

    Tory MEP Dan Hannan: I don't meet lobbyists http://t.co/4A2eSbPG But he accepts free flights from Tea Party orgs http://t.co/CYF2HW1M

  21. Niknam Hussain

    Tory MEP Dan Hannan: I don't meet lobbyists http://t.co/4A2eSbPG But he accepts free flights from Tea Party orgs http://t.co/CYF2HW1M

  22. Jon

    Tory MEP Dan Hannan: I don't meet lobbyists http://t.co/4A2eSbPG But he accepts free flights from Tea Party orgs http://t.co/CYF2HW1M

  23. Revealed: Liam Fox and Werrity’s links to the Tea Party | Liberal Conspiracy

    […] has also paid for flights for Daniel Hannan MEP to the United States, just before he started getting very complimentary about the Tea Party […]

  24. Scott Redding

    "Why isn't Daniel Hannan more open about his links to the Tea Party?" – http://t.co/pqScf5WB

  25. sunny hundal

    Also: Tory MEP Dan Hannan received free flights from that org, ALEC, in the past. No wonder he loves the Tea Party http://t.co/CYF2HW1M

  26. Asaf Hussain

    Also: Tory MEP Dan Hannan received free flights from that org, ALEC, in the past. No wonder he loves the Tea Party http://t.co/CYF2HW1M

  27. Paul Krishnamurty

    Also: Tory MEP Dan Hannan received free flights from that org, ALEC, in the past. No wonder he loves the Tea Party http://t.co/CYF2HW1M

  28. Will King

    Also: Tory MEP Dan Hannan received free flights from that org, ALEC, in the past. No wonder he loves the Tea Party http://t.co/CYF2HW1M

  29. Martin

    Also: Tory MEP Dan Hannan received free flights from that org, ALEC, in the past. No wonder he loves the Tea Party http://t.co/CYF2HW1M





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