Thomas Beaumont Associate Press
MONKS – While conservative political groups are mobilizing to ban what they call critical race theory in schools, a prominent supporter of Republican causes and candidates is notably absent.
Leaders of the network built by the billionaire Koch family say they are opposed to government bans on teaching race and history in schools. While they note that they disagree with the ideas at the center of the struggle, they argue that government bans, now enacted in 11 states, stifle debate essential to democracy.
“Using the government to ban ideas, even ones we don’t agree with, is also contrary to basic American principles – the principles that contribute to social progress,” said Evan Feinberg, executive director of the Stand Together Foundation. affiliated with Koch.
This position is in keeping with the network’s long-standing libertarian streak. But it sparked new accusations of hypocrisy from critics of the megadonator. After spending years pouring money into conservative groups, Koch groups cannot distance themselves from the movement they helped build, they argue.
“They have this great position that they want to brag about from a public relations standpoint. But their money has gone to these groups which have the opposite effect on this program, ”said Lisa Graves, chair of the board of directors of the liberal watchdog Center for Media and Democracy.
The Koch organization made its position public last spring, as state lawmakers and conservative groups began to pass legislation banning specific concepts in classrooms, including the idea that racism is systemic in society and the American legal system.