Paul Ryan
Credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

The corruption is right out in the open:

Just days after the House passed its version of the federal tax law slashing corporate tax rates, House Speaker Paul Ryan collected nearly $500,000 in campaign contributions from billionaire energy mogul Charles Koch and his wife, according to a recent campaign donor report.

Koch and his brother David spent millions of dollars to get the tax law passed and are spending millions more in a public relations campaign in an attempt to boost support for the law, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Koch Industries, one of the largest private corporations in the nation, operates refineries and manufactures a variety of products. The new tax law — which slices corporate tax rates from 35 percent to 21 percent, slashes estate taxes and includes a special deduction for oil and gas investors — is expected to save the Koch brothers and their businesses billions of dollars in taxes.

The GOP’s commitment to the defense of Donald Trump was in large part about this: helping their billionaire donors. The donors made it clear that they wouldn’t keep funding their bought-and-paid-for congressmembers without a tax cut payoff. And they needed a president with five working digits to sign the legislation.

It’s not all about that, of course. There was much speculation that Republicans would scuttle Trump after the tax cuts passed, but that hasn’t happened. They’re now eager to consolidate their gains by pushing brown people out of the country and slash benefits to the poor and the middle class.

But it’s interesting that Republicans and their donors don’t even feel the need to hide the corruption, and in turn make of a mockery of the conservative principle that money is speech.

Charles and David Koch made it clear that they would withhold their “speech” if they didn’t get a tax cut. Republicans passed a tax cut, and the Kochs were happy to “speak” their mind again.

But it’s not speech. It’s a straight-up bribe. And it ought to be illegal.

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Follow David on Twitter @DavidOAtkins. David Atkins is a writer, activist and research professional living in Santa Barbara. He is a contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal and president of The Pollux Group, a qualitative research firm.