The Associated Press delves into Herman Cain's history with Charles and David Koch, the billionaire brothers who for years have helped to bankroll conservative political organizations and rallies, stiffening the spine of the movement that would become the Tea Party. Turns out they go back a long ways.
Cain, who is steadily rising in Republican primary polls on a call for tax cuts and reduced government, worked with Americans for Prosperity, the political committee founded by the Koch brothers to advocate lower taxes and spending cuts. Cain traveled the country as the group's chief spokesman in 2005 and 2006, the AP says, working alongside Mark Block, the Republican operative who is now Cain's campaign manager.
And a friend from AFP days, Rich Lowrie, inspired Cain's "9-9-9" plan for tax reform: a nine percent corporate tax rate, a nine percent national sales tax, and a nine percent flat income tax rate.
Cain's close ties to the Koch brothers seem unlikely to hurt him with Republican primary voters. Those voters certainly have not been eager to turn on the Kochs, even as they have come to take the place of previous conservative benefactors (think Richard Mellon Scaife) in the pantheon of influential people loathed by Democrats. The AP wonders if the connection to the Kochs might tarnish Cain's cherished status as the outsider in the Republican field — the fed-up businessman just trying to talk some sense into his competitors.