The Koch-Cain connection: Presidential candidate a ‘brother from another mother’

He isn’t the fifth Beatle. But Herman Cain just may be the fifth Koch brother.

The former Godfather’s Pizza CEO received a rock star ovation at an Americans for Prosperity summit in Washington, D.C., on Friday when he declared he feels a kinship with the Koch brothers.

“I’m proud to know the Koch brothers. I’m very proud to know the Koch brothers,” he said.

“They make it sound like we’ve had time to go fishing together, hunting together, skiing together, golfing together. But just so I can clarify this for the media – this may be a breaking news announcement for the media — I am the Koch brothers’ brother from another mother. Yes. I’m that brother from another mother! And proud of it!” Cain exclaimed as Republicans roared with approval and one of the Koch brothers leaped to his feet, danced a jig and pumped his fist.

Cain has never been shy about his affinity for the Koch brothers (there are four total: billionaire oil tycoons Charles and David, coal baron William and art collector Frederick). He once held an official position with the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity and he has been a featured speaker at their rallies. The chief of staff for Cain’s presidential campaign, Mark Block, is the former president of Americans for Prosperity’s chapter in Wisconsin where he was fined for election misdeeds.

Charles and David Koch, who operate the nation’s second largest private company, Koch Industries Inc., actively fund politicians who roll back environmental and financial regulations, and the brothers are spending vast sums of money in their bid to unseat President Barack Obama. Americans for Prosperity recently launched a campaign criticizing Obama over the Solyndra loan controversy just as a powerful group of congressmen the Kochs support subpoenaed the White House.

The two brothers are the poster boys of the so-called 1 percent that Occupy Wall Street protesters rail about, and just outside the conference where Cain declared he was “the Koch brothers’ brother from another mother,” a large mob representing the 99 percent waved picket signs decrying the Kochs’ influence on politics. In a moment of irony, David Koch, along with his body guards, walked through the Occupy protesters unrecognized after he left the dinner, according to a report in the American Spectator. The protest eventually erupted in violence, resulting in multiple injuries and arrests.

At one of their conferences in Colorado this summer, Charles Koch warned 2012 would be “the mother of all wars.” As such, the brothers are funding a $2.5 million national database that will connect like-minded laissez faire voters through social media in a project dubbed “Themis, after the Greek goddess who imposes divine order on human affairs,” according to The Guardian.

“This increases the Koch brothers’ reach,” Josh Hendler, the Democratic National Committee’s former director of technology, told The Guardian. “It will allow them to become even greater coordinators than they are already – with this resource they become a natural center of gravity for conservatives.”

Troy Hooper covers environmental policy for the American Independent News Network. His work has been published in The Denver Post, Rocky Mountain News, Huffington Post, San Francisco Weekly, Playboy, New York Post, People and dozens of other publications. Hooper has covered the Winter Olympics in Italy, an extreme ski camp in South America and gone behind the scenes with Hunter S. Thompson on election night in 2004. Born and raised in Boulder, Hooper has a bachelor's degree in English from the University of California at Santa Barbara.