In the Doghouse

Koch Bros' American Future Fund Supports Stalled PA Privatization Effort

January 10, 2015

Charles and David Koch's American Future Fund (AFF) recently announced a 2015 statewide media and advocacy blitz with 3 priority areas, one of which is privatizing liquor sales in Pennsylvania. According to The Center for Responsive Politics, the AFF is a 501(c)(4) tax-exempt organization that is supposed to spend resources for social welfare purposes. However, the AFF plans to strong-arm passage of retail liquor sales privatization and put the health of Pennsylvanians at risk, courtesy of the Koch Brothers' influence, money, and power. Never mind the fact that state lawmakers and citizens have rejected privatization year after year.

Privatization efforts in Pennsylvania have not succeeded for decades, despite election promises and incumbent threats, for good reason. State-controlled alcohol systems make sense on many levels. They bring much-needed funds to state coffers, and they help reduce consumption and harmful consequences. Based on analysis and findings from the U.S. Community Preventive Services Task Force, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends against privatization, which has a negative impact on public health. Increased consumption resulting from privatization results in increased alcohol-related harm and economic costs - to government, private businesses, and families.

Privatization proponents say the sale of the state's liquor stores will bring a boon to the economy, but any initial economic boon will soon be outpaced by the increasing costs of related harm, along with losses in state alcohol sales revenues. Any economic benefit will be seen by Big Alcohol and the Koch Brothers, while the public pays the price.

Pennsylvania has admirably withstood the onslaught of pro-privatization campaigns and influence over the years, but the Koch Bros. and Big Alcohol only need to win once for long-lasting harm to commence in Pennsylvania. States that privatize are very unlikely to reinstate monopolies on alcohol sales.