Controversial WV Legislation Tied to Shadowy Billionaires’ Network

CHARLESTON, W. Va. – The right-to-work bill and prevailing-wage repeal just passed by the Legislature have ties to Kansas oil billionaires Charles and David Koch and their shadowy network, watchdogs say.

According to the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), the bills were based on model legislation from the Koch-funded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Lisa Graves, executive director of CMD, says ALEC is part of a national network of funders and front groups carefully designed to promote a pro-corporate agenda.

“The Kochs playing a ventriloquist role through these different organizations,” says Graves. “Cookie-cutter ALEC bills, cookie-cutter talking points, ad campaigns by Americans for Prosperity and willing, pliable politicians who want to please these billionaires.”

CMD says Senate President Bill Cole is a member of ALEC. The Charleston Gazette reported he attended what Graves called “Koch Fest,” an annual closed-to-the-public donors retreat at a resort in Palm Springs, California. Cole’s office said he attended in his “official capacity” and denied it was a “political event.”