Did Russia interfere in or influence the 2016 presidential election, resulting in Donald J. Trump becoming the POTUS? Yes. No. Maybe. However, there is a much more insidious, nefarious threat to the United States than Russia, and it is Charles and David Koch and their seemingly endless wealth and political influence.

They, and their billionaire and multimillionaire cronies (including the DeVos family), have managed to all but take over the U.S. government, which they want to decimate so they can continue polluting our air, water and land unfettered by legal restrictions in pursuit of more and more wealth. How? They and their cronies fund benign-sounding nonprofits through which they launder millions of dollars to force their political agenda on the people of this country.

These 501(c)(4) and 501(c)(6) nonprofits aren’t required to identify their donors, and therefore, can funnel money to whatever purpose suits them. This money has directly influenced many election outcomes at local and state levels.

Through gerrymandering and their political chicanery, they reshaped North Carolina, a historically liberal Democratic state, into a far-right Republican state (which helped change Congress’ demographics). They, more than anyone or anything, are responsible for the debacle that is our government in Washington. (Mitch McConnell’s and Paul Ryan’s campaigns were heavily funded by the Kochs’ financial shenanigans.)

This money also influences the curriculum at many colleges and universities by funding courses and professors that are in line with their political agenda. These courses have benign-sounding names but are designed to target young minds in order to mold their thinking into becoming advocates for the political agenda of the Kochs, et al. The Kochs and their cronies are far more dangerous to U.S. democracy than Russia.

Beth Miller