Ball State Expands Shilling for Koch Brothers

Muncie, Indiana NEWS – If you’re a current subscriber to Muncie Voice, then you are no stranger to the Koch brothers – Charles and David Koch. Their “free market” advocacy is nothing more than pure greed and self-interest. The Koch’s have inherited mountains of money derived primarily from coal and other dirty energy sources. They’ve been polluting our environment for two generations and use their wealth to systematically corrupt our local, state and federal governments. We’ve documented their acquisition of at least 24 governors, including Mike Pence, Governor of Indiana, who in last year’s State of the State address exclaimed, “Indiana loves coal”. Later in the year, he received a $100,000 check from the Koch brothers for his 2016 political campaign.

We needed a brief summary on the Koch brothers before we spoke about the recent article in our local newspaper addressing the $3.25 million donation to Ball State University by “Papa” John Schnatter and the Koch brothers to boost entrepreneurship at the university. According to the article:

The grant will help the university fund four tenure-track professorships, an operations manager, two graduate assistants, an Entrepreneurial Learning Academy and Entrepreneurial Leadership Academy, the Entrepreneurship Center, and other educational and research activities in the institute and the university’s economics department.

This sounds like an excellent idea, but considering how the Koch brothers do business, the press release is nothing more than smoke and mirrors – pure propaganda by the guys who created it.

If you want to know why the Republican Party has the largest segment of climate deniers in the world, it’s because of the Koch brothers and other Big Oil producers. They hire shills from the Cato Institute, Heritage Foundation, and Mercatus Center (George Mason University) and any other university willing to accept dollars from these corrupters, to refute climate change and publish articles in local newspapers across the country advocating for free markets or anti-government rhetoric.

Even Muncie’s local newspaper, owned by Gannett Corporation, regularly publishes the work of Cecil Bohanon and Michael Hicks – advocates of free markets. The newspaper alternates their articles in both the Opinion to Business sections hoping readers won’t discover the scheme. Cecil receives a check from the Indiana Policy Review which is funded by the Koch’s elaborate dark money network.

Papa John Schnatter isn’t a saint either since his hiring practices have been under attack for almost a decade. Lawsuits have been taken up against his franchisees for pizza delivery sub payments. Remember his anti-Obamacare rant about not being able to afford healthcare for full-time workers, even though he’s worth over $600 million.

In his press release, John Schnatter writes:

Schnatter was quoted in a news release as saying the grant will support the university’s goal to become a national model for values- and ethics-based entrepreneurship, developing research and talent to solve modern problems.

There is nothing ethical about the Koch brothers and Schnatter – he is a VIP donor to the American Legislative and Exchange Council (ALEC), which values money over people. The American working class has been shafted by this organization, and now the money they’ve extracted from poorly paid American workers finds its way into Ball State’s new “free enterprise” entrepreneurial center. The irony is thick, but sad. From Mother Jones:

The document lists VIP donors—including John Schnatter, the founder of the Papa John’s pizza chain—who were scheduled for one-on-one meetings with representatives of the political, corporate, and philanthropic wings of Kochworld.


The more than 40 donors courted by the Kochs include hedge fund and private-equity billionaires, real estate tycoons, and executives of top corporations, including Jockey International and TRT Holdings, owner of Omni Hotels and Gold’s Gym. A number of them have never been identified as members of the Koch donor network, including Schnatter, one of the more prominent names on the list. An outspoken opponent of the Affordable Care Act, he is a longtime Republican donor who hosted a fundraiser for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. The document notes that the pizza mogul was scheduled to meet with Ryan Stowers, the director of higher education at the Charles G. Koch Foundation. (Schnatter did not respond to requests for comment.)

While most Muncie and Indiana residents are oblivious to these characters, we are grateful to learn that Ball State students aren’t so easily fooled. We’ve heard from several of them today, and this opinion piece was published in the Ball State Daily News. What’s fascinating is this student written article is considered “opinion”, but has more facts than the article written by the newspaper – a concoction of press releases written by highly paid public relations staff.

By the way, both Ball State and John Schnatter use crisis management experts to handle their communications, since they both have image problems. What happened to being guided by ethics and values?

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Todd Smekens

Journalist, consultant, publisher, and servant-leader with a passion for truth-seeking. Enjoy motorcycling, meditation, and spending quality time with my daughter and rescue hound. Spiritually-centered first and foremost. Lived in multiple states within the USA and frequent traveler to the mountains.

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