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A Koch brother's favorite Democrats

Uniting around prison reform

Why is the Charles Koch Foundation, whose billionaire industrialist founder is well known for his support of libertarian and Tea Party causes, showcasing Delaware's Democratic Gov. Jack Markell, ex-Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter and others associated with activist government at a conference in New Orleans on Nov. 4-6?

Markell will give the first-day keynote speech and Cutter will serve on the summing-up panel at Advancing Justice 2015, a Koch-backed conference that will discuss prison reform. Markell won Koch's attention -- not with his industrial policies supporting risky projects like Fisker Auto, Bloom Energy and the Newark data center -- but with his Justice Reinvestment Act, which provides job-training, health care and housing to ex-offenders and prevents state agencies from asking applicants if they are convicted criminals.

Why do Koch-style small-government people care? A hint: Cutter's partner on her panel is Grover Norquist, longtime head of the influential anti-tax, pro-small-government Citizens for Tax Justice. It's nice to see liberals and conservatives sharing the idea that too many Americans are in prison, we're spending too much keeping them there, and there have to be better ways. But let's hope somebody in this group is focused on results: The largest city in Markell's Delaware, after all, is Wilmington, where the murder rate has soared on his watch to the highest among cities its size, with many of the crimes unsolved.

UPDATE: California engineer and green-energy-subsidies critic Lindsey Leveen sends this blog post he wrote on the complex relationship between Markell and his programs and the Koch Industries group and its own energy interests.