WASHINGTON -- Koch Industries, Inc., the corporation led by conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch, is holding discussions with a coalition of strange bedfellows to tackle criminal justice reform.
In conversations with people like Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and organizations like the ACLU, the Koch brothers are homing in on reducing overcriminalization and mass incarceration, as well as reforming practices like civil forfeiture. Progressives, rather than giving the Kochs the stink eye, are welcoming their efforts.
Koch Industries general counsel and senior vice president Mark Holden told The Huffington Post that he met with Booker and his staff a few weeks ago. The New Jersey Democrat and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) are co-sponsoring the REDEEM Act, legislation that would give states incentives to increase the age of criminal responsibility to 18, among other reforms.
...Booker and Koch Industries also attended a criminal justice discussion held on Jan. 28 by the Constitution Project, a nonprofit. Joining them were Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) and Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.). Koch Industries shared a panel with former Obama administration official Van Jones. Jones has been a longtime critic of the conservative-cause financiers, but on criminal justice, they are finding common ground...
...Koch Industries is also speaking with other groups, like the ACLU, the Pew Charitable Trust Public Safety Performance Project and the Brennan Center for Justice, and helping Generation Opportunity and Families Against Mandatory Minimums produce a documentary on mandatory minimums.