What do billionaires do with all the money they save by dodging taxes? Buy political influence and impose their values on other Americans.
What does tax cuts on billionaires have to do denying women control over their bodies? Or influencing who sits on the Supreme Court? Or workers right to a living wage? Follow the money to see how it they are connected, and what you can do to unrig the system. Take this quiz to check your understanding. Answers below.
- Which billionaires fund the Texas group pushing to ban abortions?
- Where are most of the remaining abortion clinics in the US located?
- What is the net worth of the billionaire fighting minimum wage for Walmart employees?
- Can you be sued under Texas SB8 if you live outside Texas?
- How far is the closest women's healthcare clinic from Houston?
- Which former lobbyist and now Facebook VP supported Justice Kavanaugh's nomination to Supreme Court?
- Which billionaire and major Republican donor is on the board of Facebook?
- Which billionaire is a major investor in both Facebook and Fox News?
Tax dodging billionaires impose their values on others
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"The billionaire Wilks brothers, who have become generous donors to right-wing politicians and Republican Party committees. While both Farris and Dan have given to conservative groups and candidates, it is older brother Farris whose foundation has become a source of massive donations to Religious Right groups and to the Koch brothers' political network. Farris also funds a network of "pregnancy centers" that refuse, on principle, to talk to single women about contraception. Married women need to check with their husband and pastor." - Prospect
"In the 10 years leading up to the enactment of Texas’ highly restrictive abortion law, a “dark money” organization called the Texas Right to Life Committee and its network of political and educational organizations spent millions funding the state’s anti-abortion movement."
"Top donors to the Texas Right to Life PAC include Farris and Daniel Wilks, billionaire brothers who made their money from an oil company. They contributed a combined $1.5 million to the PAC." - Open Secrets
Facebook - Zuckerberg & Kaplan
Joel Kaplan, is Facebook's vice president of global public policy. Kaplan is a longtime Republican functionary, who participated in the notorious “Brooks Brothers” riot to stop the vote recount in Florida during the 2000 election and later served as deputy chief of staff under George W. Bush. "The right has won a major victory in its campaign to cow Facebook. To placate his right-wing critics, Zuckerberg elevated some prominent conservatives into positions of power, most notably Joel Kaplan, the vice president of global public policy." - The Nation
“Since he was hired, Facebook spent over $71 million on lobbying — nearly 100 times what it had spent before Kaplan joined,” Warren tweeted. As Facebook now faces at least three confirmed separate antitrust probes, Warren said “Kaplan is flexing his DC rolodex to help Mark Zuckerbeg wage a closed-door charm offensive with Republican lawmakers.” - Daily Mail
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"Facebook in particular has a long history of caving to right-wing pressure — going back to 2016. Facebook executives have held multiple meetings with top conservatives, made Breitbart a trusted news partner and changed the Facebook algorithm to avoid cries of censorship from the right. They even went so far as to intentionally suppress news from progressive sites like Mother Jones on the Facebook news feed in order to elevate conservative sources.
It was Kaplan who set up the 2016 meeting between Zuckerberg and prominent right-wing media personalities like Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham in order to assuage their concerns about anti-conservative bias in Facebook’s trending topics. Facebook’s own internal report had found “no evidence of systematic political bias” in the trending topics section, yet, following the meeting. And while conservatives claim censorship is rampant on the platform, the hard truth is that Facebook has an active Republican operative — vice president of public policy Joel Kaplan — at the center of these stories who repeatedly sided with right-wing misinformation peddlers. Kaplan continues to shape Facebook’s policies into advocacy tools for right-wing chicanery and partisan interests." - NBC News
TakeAway: Use StoryMaps to show how billionaires dodging their fair share of taxes hurt all Americans.
1. Dan & Farris Wilks
2. Check this map.
3. Jim Walton. $60.2 billion.
4. Yes. Section 171.210 (Page 11). NY Times
5. 269 miles or about a 4.5 hour drive
6. Joel Kaplan, Facebook VP
7. Peter Thiel, Palantir
8. Larry Fink, BlackRock
Credit: Special thanks to Greyson Harris with Place-Data for assistance with this map.