Rather than augment his big government agenda to assuage growing public opposition, President Obama has pivoted to yet another attack on private business, this time getting personal and targeting Charles and David Koch, owners of Koch Industries. Hoping to distract from what was anything but a “recovery summer,” the White House has taken issue with David Koch, who founded the free-market advocacy group Americans for Prosperity several years ago. The group, which works to promote free-market, pro-growth policies, obviously has little interest in supporting the Keynesian agenda of the current White House, a crime the President is using to fashion the Koch brothers into his latest private sector bête noire.

The President, who has made his antipathy to free speech well known in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, has claimed that the danger of David Koch-enabled speech is that he could just as easily be a “foreign-controlled corporation” or “insurance company whose bottom line …” funding Koch’s advocacy. This, presumably, is problematic for a White House that understands free speech not as a right entitled under the First Amendment but a dangerous weapon against its public relations camp.

It is hardly surprising, then, that the Obama administration was not satisfied with simply whining about Koch’s audacity to be involved with groups who are critical of the President.  The Weekly Standard reports that a White House official told reporters classified information about Koch Industries’s tax status in an on-the-record briefing in August. The exchange, which the White House has neglected to confirm or deny, alluded to the confidential tax status of Koch Industries in a broader discussion of corporate taxes, though the White House has not commented on why Koch Industries would be the singled-out in the conversation. The President’s recent interest in the Koch brothers’ political activity seems to be the likely culprit.

This is not the first time we’ve seen the White House bully private enterprise to protect its own interests and detract from its failures. Recall the Toyota Congressional circus in the wake up the car manufacturer’s recall – spurred by complaints of “sudden acceleration” that turned out to be caused by driver error. The Koch Crusade is even more troubling; it raises serious concerns about access by White House officials to classified information regarding private businesses and individuals – are bureaucrats privy to information on all Americans’ tax filing statuses? Or can they just access it to be used as political collateral when their political sensibilities have been offended?