I recently wrote a post about the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) accepting a $25 million grant from Koch Industries Inc. and the Charles Koch Foundation on June 6 of this year. Well, it looks like I’m not the only one who thinks this was a foolish, hypocritical move on the part of the UNCF. Buzzfeed.com says:
One of the nation’s largest public-sector unions is severing its ties with the United Negro College Fund because the group accepted donations from the Koch brothers and its president spoke at a Koch-funded summit.
In a letter sent Tuesday, AFSCME President Lee Saunders wrote that the UNCF has taken actions “deeply hostile” to public employees, which he considers a “profound betrayal of the ideals of the civil rights movement,” and that the union will end its relationship with UNCF.
So why the extreme response by the union? One look at the record of the Koch Brothers’ political dealings, and you’ll see why. The billionaire Koch’s have spent millions to advance conservative, libertarian political causes in recent years. Of the many things they advocate are voter ID laws, which unofficially are meant to suppress the votes of minorities, the elderly, and the disabled- the very demographic conservatives and libertarians care little for, and are not supported by in elections.
Buzzfeed.com quoted AFSCME President Lee Saunder describing the Koch brothers as:
“the single most prominent funders of efforts to prevent African Americans from voting.”
Despite this, the UNCF has stood by its decision to accept the money. What a shame. I will not be surprised if other organizations cut ties with it, as well. The UNCF’s purpose is to help fund the education of poor, black college students, yet they accept money from people who work (and spend) to take away the black vote! Money is important, but so are principles and values.