Conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch are holding discussions with a coalition of strange bedfellows to tackle criminal justice reform, reports the Huffington Post. In conversations with people like Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and organizations like the ACLU, the Koch brothers are homing in on reducing overcriminalization and mass incarceration, as well as reforming practices like civil forfeiture. Progressives, rather than giving the Kochs the stink eye, are welcoming their efforts.
A Koch representative met with Booker and his staff a few weeks ago. The New Jersey Democrat and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) are co-sponsoring the REDEEM Act, legislation that would give states incentives to increase the age of criminal responsibility to 18, among other reforms. Booker and Koch Industries also attended a criminal justice discussion held on Jan. 28 by the Constitution Project, a nonprofit. Koch Industries shared a panel with former Obama administration official Van Jones, a critic of the financiers, though they are finding common ground on criminal justice. The Kochs are also engaged with the ACLU, the Pew Charitable Trust Public Safety Performance Project, the Brennan Center for Justice, and Families Against Mandatory Minimums.