White House confers with Koch Industries on criminal justice reform

CBS

The White House says key administration officials met Thursday with representatives of Koch Industries to build support for criminal justice reform.

The issue appears to represent a unique instance in which frequent political enemies are working together. Billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch are major donors to Republican political candidates. Just this past summer, the Koch brothers tangled with President Obama on the issue of government subsidies for clean energy.

Yet Thursday, the two sides had a "productive conversation about the importance of focusing legislative efforts on areas in which there is strong bipartisan agreement," according to the White House.

Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett and White House Counsel Neil Eggleston met with Koch Industries General Counsel Mark Holden, and and they discussed a range of topics, including the adverse impact of overly harsh fines and bail systems on the poor, as well as the need to support re-entry programs for those who have served time.

All agreed that the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015 would be an important first step forward. The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the bill in October.

Criminal justice reform is the rare issue that has unitedconservatives looking for ways to size down government and liberals interested in a more equitable justice system. This past October, President Obama went on a national tour to push for criminal justice reform, visiting areas around the country that have taken initiative in improving policing and rehabilitation strategies.