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Alex Kotch

Investigative Journalist

Brooklyn, NY

Alex Kotch

Independent investigative journalist focused on money in politics, education and the environment.

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The Koch Brothers Are Using This State as Their Right-Wing Laboratory

The state of Arizona will shell out at least $5 million per year to free-market academic centers established with funding from billionaire industrialist and Republican political donor Charles Koch at two of its public universities. Part of a series of budget bills that passed the Republican-dominated state House and Senate, the funding decision met the ire of professors and students concerned that the state had earmarked funds for ideological centers tied to big business and a partisan political figure.
AlterNet Link to Story
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Solar Battle Continues In North Carolina As Nonprofit Fights Duke Energy

In one of the remaining four states that explicitly ban third-party solar sales, a small nonprofit is continuing its fight against the nation’s biggest utility over the right to sell solar power to churches and other nonprofits without the utility’s involvement. North Carolina Waste Awareness and Reduction Network (NC WARN), a 28-year-old environmental nonprofit with an annual budget of around $1.1 million, is fighting Duke Energy, a massive energy company that raked in $23.5 billion in revenue in 2015 and is valued at $54.4 billion.
DeSmogBlog Link to Story
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Activists Push For Climate Justice, Fair Elections This Week In Washington

This week, thousands of activists converged in Washington, D.C. for Democracy Spring, a series of rallies, marches and sit-ins to protest big money in politics, voter suppression, and the Senate’s obstruction of President Obama’s Supreme Court nomination. Central to these forces are environmental activists from all over the country.
DeSmogBlog Link to Story
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Businesses opposing N.C.'s HB2 helped elect legislators behind it

Over 120 companies including Dow Chemical, Red Hat, American Airlines, Apple, PayPal, Cisco, IBM and Google have stated their opposition to the law. CEOs of many of these companies sent a letter to Gov. Pat McCrory (R) last week opposing the law. But many of these same businesses funded two outside political groups that helped elect five of the bill's sponsors, 13 other legislators who voted for it, and McCrory, who immediately signed the measure into law. But many of these same businesses funded two outside political groups that helped elect five of the bill's sponsors, 13 other legislators who voted for it, and McCrory, who immediately signed the measure into law.
Facing South Link to Story
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The Kochs are brainwashing us: Inside the billionaire industrialists’ chilling economics curriculum

In recent years, student activists and investigative journalists have exposed another of Charles Koch’s hats: mega-donor to hundreds of colleges and universities, often funding free-market-focused academic centers housed at public and private schools alike. One Koch-funded program is advocating cutthroat economics to grade school students, even sacrificing lives for profits.
Salon.com Link to Story
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Bipartisan Bills and Civil Protests Mount Against Duke Energy's Obstructionism

Around the nation, big utility companies are successfully lobbying lawmakers and regulators to restrict individual and corporate access to solar power, denying people significant savings on electricity bills and the opportunity to take part in the growing green energy economy. In third-party solar financing, a non-utility company installs solar panels on a customer's property at little or no up-front cost, sometimes selling the solar energy back to the customer at rates typically lower than a utility would charge.
Truthout Link to Story
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Why the North Carolina GOP Has Brought Chaos to the 2016 Election

Because of a slew of election law changes passed in recent years, the North Carolina Republican Party has thrown the state’s 2016 elections into chaos. Racial gerrymandering, unconstitutional judicial election methods, and a confusing voter ID law have created a bewildering mess in a state once praised for its accessible elections.
AlterNet Link to Story
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Charles Koch gave $90 million to influence higher ed in the South

The foundation funds academic programs, professorships, scholarships, conferences, lecture series and economics centers, all for the purpose of promoting the free-market agenda embraced by Koch and his brother David. The chancellor has come out in support, and on Dec. 4 the school's trustees will vote on the fate of the Center for the Study of Free Enterprise, which would launch with $2 million from the Charles Koch Foundation over five years and $1.4 million from the university.
Facing South Link to Story
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ISS REPORT: Despite state's growing diversity, North Carolina politics still dominated by white donors

In the political battleground of North Carolina, the racial demographics of the state's voters are rapidly changing, with African-American, Asian and Latino communities giving rise to a more diverse electorate. But the big donors that bankroll the state's elections don't reflect this growing diversity, according to a new report by the Institute for Southern Studies.
Facing South Link to Story
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Proceed with caution: Lessons from New Orleans' charter school takeover

Following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, New Orleans did something unprecedented: The local school system fired all of its teachers and staff and converted almost all of its schools to charters. Last fall, 92 percent of the public schools in New Orleans were charters, which are publicly funded but independently managed and subject to less oversight than traditional public schools.
Facing South Link to Story
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NC Judicial Candidates Set to Spend Record Sums to Get Elected

This year, seven seats on North Carolina’s highest courts are up for election — an unusually large number of open seats that could affect the ideological balance of the NC Supreme Court and NC Court of Appeals. This year’s judicial elections will also be the first in a decade without the state’s “clean elections” program that curbed spending on court races, and a new analysis by Facing South reveals that judges are poised to spend record sums in the coming weeks to get elected.
BillMoyers.com Link to Story
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Republicans Make Big Advances Thanks to Citizens United

This article originally appeared on Facing South, a website published by the Institute for Southern Studies. It's been more than four years since the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, a ruling that expanded the ability of corporations and unions to influence politics.
The American Prospect Link to Story

About

Alex Kotch

I’m an independent investigative journalist based in Brooklyn, NY. My stories about money in politics, the environment and education have appeared at AlterNet, DeSmogBlog, Salon, The American Prospect, BillMoyers.com, Truthout, Truthdig, Raw Story, National Memo, Facing South, EcoWatch, Vocativ and The Brooklyn Rail.

I've made TV and radio appearances on The Big Picture, The Thom Hartmann Program, The Real News Network, Time Warner Cable News and Georgia Public Broadcasting.

My research and reporting have been featured in The New York Times, Esquire, The Atlantic, National Journal, Salon, Jacobin, Media Matters, Harvard Political Review, The Raleigh News & Observer, Triangle Business Journal, The Charlotte Observer, Greensboro News & Record, and the Wilmington Star-News, among others publications.

I have a Bachelor's in music from Brown University and a Masters and PhD in music composition from Duke University. I'm an active producer and DJ of electronic dance music.

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Skills

  • Social media
  • Data visualization
  • Investigative reporting
  • Research