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Archive for the ‘David Koch’ Category

How the Koch Brothers Fund the Climate Change Denial Machine

Triple Pundit

By Gina-Marie Cheeseman | March 18th, 2011 

The Koch brothers, owners of Koch Industries are major funders of organizations that create propaganda which denies the reality of climate change. David Koch expressed doubts to the New Yorker magazine last year that climate change is caused by human activity. He also extolled the benefits of climate change, if it happens, stating that it would result in longer growing seasons in colder climates. “The Earth will be able to support enormously more people because far greater land area will be available to produce food,” he said.

The Koch Industries website contains an article that begins by claiming that the company practices environmental stewardship. A couple of paragraphs down, the article states that the company also believes “over-zealous environmental regulation can be destructive.” The article goes on to criticize measures that would reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Greenpeace released a report last year about the Koch foundations supporting organizations that oppose “progressive clean energy and climate policy.” Koch gave $24.9 million from 2005 to 2008 to “organizations of the climate denial machine,” the report states.

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a conservative think tank, is one of the organizations that has benefited from Koch money. According to Greenpeace, ALEC’s total grants from 1997 to 2008 from the Koch foundations were $408,000.

The ALEC published a whitepaper titled, EPA’s Regulatory Train Wreck: Strategies for State Legislators. The whitepaper states that the “highest priority should be to get the state on record as calling on Congress to stop this regulatory train wreck.” It cites the “Resolution Opposing EPA’s Regulatory Train Wreck” as a model resolution. Wyoming and Indiana adopted the resolution this year.

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Scott Walker And Wisconsin Republicans Face Legal Battles Over Bill

Politicususa- By Sarah Jones
March 17, 2011

In the aftermath of his Draconian power grab, Governor Scott Walker has been smirking his way though celebratory dinners and being slapped on the back by national Republicans who whisper “Vice Presidential material” to him through the decayed orifices of their corporate mouths. Scott’s pleasure with himself is evident to all who are forced to watch this soulless Koch logo preen his way through a press conference.

But back in his home state, things don’t look very good for Scotty. Numerous lawsuits have been brought against Walker’s anti-union bill, the most important one of which calls for the bill to be voided. After reading numerous complaints, the Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne believes the Republicans violated the open meeting law of Wisconsin. He further requests a stay on publishing the bill until the court can hear these matters. In addition, several other suits have been brought against the Republicans for violating open meeting laws and passing a financial bill without the necessary quorum.

After receiving at least five complaints regarding the Republicans’ alleged violation of the open meeting law, the DA filed a lawsuit. The suit alleges that in the March 9 meeting during which Republicans passed Walker’s anti-union bill, killing collective bargaining, the special legislative committee (consisting of Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald of Juneau, Senate President Mike Ellis of Neenah, Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald of Horicon and Assembly Majority Leader Scott Suder of Abbotsford) violated the Wisconsin Open Meeting Law in several ways.

Firstly, the Republicans claimed they were in an emergency meeting and thus exempt from giving notice as required by open meeting law, but the DA found they do not meet the requirements for an emergency meeting. Secondly, Republicans claimed that Senate rules overrode the state law, but the DA determined that because they had both the assembly and the Senate in the meeting, the Senate rules do not apply. Thirdly, the Republicans held the meeting at a time when they restricted access to the Capitol to the public (as well as lawmakers) as well as holding it in a tiny room where there was no room for the public.

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Koch brothers quietly open lobbying office in downtown Madison

JUDITH DAVIDOFF | jdavidoff@madison.com | The Capital Times madison.com

February 23, 2011 3:00 am

The billionaire brothers whose political action committee gave Gov. Scott Walker $43,000 and helped fund a multi-million dollar attack ad campaign against his opponent during the 2010 gubernatorial election have quietly opened a lobbying office in Madison just off the Capitol Square.

Charles and David Koch, who co-own Koch Industries Inc. and whose combined worth is estimated at $43 billion, have been recently tied with Walker’s push to eliminate collective bargaining rights for public workers. The two have long backed conservative causes and groups including Americans for Prosperity, which organized the Tea Party rally Saturday in support of Walker’s plan to strip public workers of collective bargaining rights and recently launched the Stand with Scott Walker website.

Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity, acknowledged in a New York Times story Tuesday that he had encouraged Walker even before the election to mount a showdown with labor groups.

Koch Industries, which owns the Georgia-Pacific Corporation and the Koch Pipeline Company, operates gasoline supply terminals and a toilet paper factory in Wisconsin.

Koch Companies Public Sector LLC occupies a seventh-floor suite at 10 E. Doty St. According to an unidentified tenant there, the lobbying group moved in two weeks before Walker was elected governor on November 2. Jeffrey Schoepke, the company’s regional manager, did not return a phone call seeking more information on the firm.

According to the Government Accountability Board’s website, the firm has seven lobbyists who “represent various Koch Industries Inc. companies on public affairs matters, including Flint Hills Resources, LP, an energy purchaser and refiner & transporter of petroleum and Georgia-Pacific, LLC a manufacturer of paper, wood products and building materials.” The group’s lobbying interests are listed as “the environment, energy, taxation, business, policy and other areas affecting Koch Industries, Inc. companies.”

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Think Progress- By George Zornick at 12:55 pm

Shortly before signing the controversial bill that ends collective bargaining rights for public employees in Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker appeared on Morning Joe today to lambaste the pernicious influence of “union bosses” and “outside money” on the debate in Wisconsin. Watch it:

It’s reasonable to expect national union leaders to be interested in “the largest assault on collective bargaining in recent memory.” Moreover, it is highly ironic for Walker to complain of supposedly shady outside interests.

Over two weeks after receiving a request from One Wisconsin Now, Walker’s administration has refused to release details of its contacts with lobbyists from Koch Industries, run by billionaire arch-conservatives Charles and David Koch. The group requested “all email and written communications between Koch Industries’ lead Wisconsin lobbyist and the office of Gov. Scott Walker and the Department of Administration,” but has not yet received the information.

Koch Industries was one of the biggest contributors to Walker’s election campaign. Americans for Prosperity, a group created and financed by the Koch brothers, has organized rallies in Wisconsin, and “[e]ven before the new governor was sworn in last month, executives from the Koch-backed group had worked behind the scenes to try to encourage a union showdown.” Apparently Walker isn’t troubled by “outside money” when it comes from rich conservatives with a purely ideological agenda.

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David H. Koch in 1996. He and his brother Charles are lifelong libertarians and have quietly given more than a hundred million dollars to right-wing causes.

Suzie’s Note: This article is from last August but definitely worth repeating.

Covert Operations

The billionaire brothers who are waging a war against Obama.

The New Yorker- by Jane Mayer August 30, 2010

On May 17th, a black-tie audience at the Metropolitan Opera House applauded as a tall, jovial-looking billionaire took the stage. It was the seventieth annual spring gala of American Ballet Theatre, and David H. Koch was being celebrated for his generosity as a member of the board of trustees; he had recently donated $2.5 million toward the company’s upcoming season, and had given many millions before that. Koch received an award while flanked by two of the gala’s co-chairs, Blaine Trump, in a peach-colored gown, and Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg, in emerald green. Kennedy’s mother, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, had been a patron of the ballet and, coincidentally, the previous owner of a Fifth Avenue apartment that Koch had bought, in 1995, and then sold, eleven years later, for thirty-two million dollars, having found it too small.

The gala marked the social ascent of Koch, who, at the age of seventy, has become one of the city’s most prominent philanthropists. In 2008, he donated a hundred million dollars to modernize Lincoln Center’s New York State Theatre building, which now bears his name. He has given twenty million to the American Museum of Natural History, whose dinosaur wing is named for him. This spring, after noticing the decrepit state of the fountains outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Koch pledged at least ten million dollars for their renovation. He is a trustee of the museum, perhaps the most coveted social prize in the city, and serves on the board of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, where, after he donated more than forty million dollars, an endowed chair and a research center were named for him.

One dignitary was conspicuously absent from the gala: the event’s third honorary co-chair, Michelle Obama. Her office said that a scheduling conflict had prevented her from attending. Yet had the First Lady shared the stage with Koch it might have created an awkward tableau. In Washington, Koch is best known as part of a family that has repeatedly funded stealth attacks on the federal government, and on the Obama Administration in particular.

With his brother Charles, who is seventy-four, David Koch owns virtually all of Koch Industries, a conglomerate, headquartered in Wichita, Kansas, whose annual revenues are estimated to be a hundred billion dollars. The company has grown spectacularly since their father, Fred, died, in 1967, and the brothers took charge. The Kochs operate oil refineries in Alaska, Texas, and Minnesota, and control some four thousand miles of pipeline. Koch Industries owns Brawny paper towels, Dixie cups, Georgia-Pacific lumber, Stainmaster carpet, and Lycra, among other products. Forbes ranks it as the second-largest private company in the country, after Cargill, and its consistent profitability has made David and Charles Koch—who, years ago, bought out two other brothers—among the richest men in America. Their combined fortune of thirty-five billion dollars is exceeded only by those of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett.

The Kochs are longtime libertarians who believe in drastically lower personal and corporate taxes, minimal social services for the needy, and much less oversight of industry—especially environmental regulation. These views dovetail with the brothers’ corporate interests. In a study released this spring, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst’s Political Economy Research Institute named Koch Industries one of the top ten air polluters in the United States. And Greenpeace issued a report identifying the company as a “kingpin of climate science denial.” The report showed that, from 2005 to 2008, the Kochs vastly outdid ExxonMobil in giving money to organizations fighting legislation related to climate change, underwriting a huge network of foundations, think tanks, and political front groups. Indeed, the brothers have funded opposition campaigns against so many Obama Administration policies—from health-care reform to the economic-stimulus program—that, in political circles, their ideological network is known as the Kochtopus.

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AlterNet- Posted by Robert Greenwald at 11:49 am
March 10, 2011
Today Brave New Foundation announces our latest campaign. A campaign where we will take on one of the single greatest threats to our democracy: The Koch Brothers.

With Outfoxed, we exposed the unbalanced propaganda that is Fox News.

With Wal-Mart we uncovered the damage done to our country by the high cost of low prices.

We exposed the war profiteering in Iraq For Sale, and we were on the frontline of questioning what we are doing, and doing wrong, in Rethink Afghanistan.

We fought against insurance company greed in the battle for health care with Sick for Profit.

We halted the history channel from smearing President Kennedy.

And now we aim our focus at the Koch brothers.

With a net worth of 43 Billion the Kochs have already spent decades of their lives and over 324 Million of their wealth exerting their influence. The Kochs accomplish their goals by funding a massive array of right wing front groups, think tanks and tea party efforts. They largely operate outside of the public eye, and target their funding to infiltrate public opinion, the media, judicial decisions and legislation. Over three dozen organizations are funded by the brothers, and they spend additional money lobbying and backing conservative candidates. Everything the Kochs do is to fight for a country free from protections and any degree of a social safety net for working Americans.

You might recognize names of some of the organizations that the Koch brothers fund. Americans for Prosperity is their Tea Party effort. They fund the Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Reason Foundation, the Institute for Justice, the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies, the American Legislative Exchange Council, and many many more. Through their massive funding efforts, they have fought against health care and are fighting against protecting social security, as well as fighting efforts to halt climate change, and fighting against LGBT rights, Immigration rights, unemployment insurance, environmental protections, the rights of unions to organize and educational opportunity, just to name a few areas they focus on.

When we started our research four months ago – inspired by Jane Mayer’s brilliant New Yorker article and Lee Fang’s great investigative work at ThinkProgress – we thought that a big part of our job was to bring attention to the Koch brothers. Boy have things changed over those months!

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Billionaires List: Koch Brothers, Right Wing Bankrollers

Forbes- Clare O’Connor

Mar. 10 2011 – 2:41 pm |

As well as ranking the rich by net worth on this year’s Forbes Billionaires List, we looked at the moguls making the most social impact beyond their wealth. Of course, if you’re looking to save the oceans, explore space or build schools, it helps to be loaded — but we’re looking at the billionaires setting the agenda outside of their respective businesses.

In the U.S., look no further than the country’s richest brothers, oil heirs Charles and David Koch, tied for #18 on the Billionaires List.

The Koch brothers — America’s wealthiest industrialists — had a direct hand in the resurgence of the right during November’s midterm elections. Americans for Prosperity (AFP), the conservative nonprofit that David founded, spent $45 million bankrolling right-wing candidates, many of them Tea Partiers. AFP outspent the Democratic Governors Association by more than three to one. That same election cycle,  Koch Industries subsidiary Flint Hills Resources contributed $1 million to California’s failed Proposition 23, that ballot that would have killed legislation cutting back greenhouse gas emissions.

Weeks later the billionaire brothers convened their secretive biannual retreat of rich, influential Republican donors at a resort in Palm Springs; Forbes 4oo power players Rich DeVos, Ken Langone and Diane Hendricks all reportedly attended to strategize for the 2012 elections. Waiting for them: a thousand protesters (Greenpeace flew a blimp over the rally, its banner reading “Koch Brothers: Dirty Money”).

Their tremendous spending power and influence — dubbed “the Kochtopus” by some media — gained further unwanted attention in February after Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker was pranked by a blogger posing as David. When the fake Koch offered to fly the governor to California to thank him for his union-crushing efforts, Walker jumped at the chance.

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Dems File Complaint Against Walker For Threats, Intimidation of Public Employees

Crooks & Liars- By Susie Madrak

March 08, 2011 07:00 AM

The Plum Line’s Greg Sargent has a copy of the complaint Wisconsin Dems are filing against Gov. Scott Walker during a call he thought was from David Koch, and he says it builds a persuasive case:

The complaint, which reflects a sense among Dems that all bets are off in this standoff, makes an interesting argument. By any reasonable standard, it says, Walker’s conduct should undermine “public trust” and fell well short of standards designed to ensure “the faith and confidence of the people of this state in their state public officials and state employees.”

The complaint focuses on several aspects of the prank call, but I think these two may be the most interesting:

16. Respondent states during the Call that he has the Attorney General’s office “looking into” strategies to force the Democratic senators to return. This constitutes a misuse of the independently elected office of the Attorney General for primarily political motivations.

And:

19. Respondent states during the Call that he will send out 5,000-6,000 layoff notices to public sector employees in an attempt to “ratchet up” pressure on the Democratic Senators. This use of threat against, and intimidation of, public sector employees for political purposes constitutes an unfair labor practice in violation of Wis. Stat. Section 111.84.

The complaint also alleges that it was improper for Walker to suggest to Koch that Republicans in swing areas might need shoring up, since this smacks of illegal coordination, though to my mind it isn’t clear what he was asking for. It also says that Walker’s claim that he “thought about” planting troublemakers in the crowd “constitutes a conspiracy to recklessly endanger public safety,” though here too it’s not quite clear what Walker really considered doing.

That said, even those examples were eyebrow-raising, and the complaint is worth reading, because it’s a reminder that taken together, Walker’s shenanigans on the call add up to conduct that by any reasonable measure should raise serious questions about Walker’s judgment and approach to his office. Some in the national media were quick to exonerate Walker after the call, but reading the complaint, the Wisconsin Democratic Party’s claim that his conduct risks undermining the public trust in state government doesn’t seem particulary unreasonable.

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REPORT: How Koch Industries Makes Billions By Demanding Bailouts And Taxpayer Subsidies (Part 1)

Think Progress- By Lee Fang on Mar 1st, 2011 at 1:00 pm

Koch Industries, the international conglomerate owned by Charles and David Koch, is not only the second largest private company in America, it is the most politically active. As ThinkProgress has carefully documented over the last three years, Koch groups have spent tens of millions to influence government policy — from financing the Tea Parties, to funding junk academic studies, to undisclosed attack ads against Democrats, to groups promoting climate change denial, to a large network of state-based and national think tanks. In an opinion column for the Wall Street Journal today, Koch Industries CEO Charles Koch fired back at his critics, who have grown more vocal as it has become clear that Koch groups are providing the political muscle for Gov. Scott Walker’s (R-WI) union-busting power grab.

In his piece, Charles portrays himself as simply an ideological advocate, and says his money to political groups is only meant to “enhance true economic freedom.” He chides special interests that have “successfully lobbied for special favors,” claiming “crony capitalism is much easier than competing in an open market.” But in reality, the focus of the Koch political machine is geared towards “crony capitalism” — corrupting government to make Charles and his brother David Koch richer. Koch’s Tea Party libertarianism is actually a thin veneer for the company’s long running history of winning special deals from the government and manipulating the market to pad Koch profits:

– The dirty secret of Koch Industries is its birth under the centrally-planned Soviet Union. Fred Koch, the founder of the company and father of David and Charles, helped construct fifteen oil refineries for Joseph Stalin before expanding the business in the United States.

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On First Day Of New Congress, Koch Operatives Met With GOP Chairman Planning To Gut The Clean Air Act

Think Progress- By Lee Fang at 10:00 am

In January, ThinkProgress interviewed billionaire plutocrat David Koch about his views on climate science, his Tea Party movement, and his political plans for the future. On the day of our interview, we also discovered that he planned to hold a party for the new Republicans he helped elect. As we have documented, Koch not only financed the rise of the anti-Obama Tea Party, he has also helped guide the movement to support the narrow business priorities of his conglomerate Koch Industries: Koch funds rallies for young children that attack the EPA, Koch’s front groups spread doubt about climate change, and Koch’s Americans for Prosperity hands out Tea Party talking points attacking clean energy. Building on this research, the Los Angeles Times reported this weekend about the central influence of Koch in the new GOP Congress.

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latimes.com

Koch brothers now at heart of GOP power

The billionaire brothers’ influence is most visible in the makeup of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, where members have vowed to undo restrictions on greenhouse gases.

By Tom Hamburger, Kathleen Hennessey and Neela Banerjee, Los Angeles Times

February 6, 2011

Reporting from Washington

The billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch no longer sit outside Washington’s political establishment, isolated by their uncompromising conservatism. Instead, they are now at the center of Republican power, a change most evident in the new makeup of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Wichita-based Koch Industries and its employees formed the largest single oil and gas donor to members of the panel, ahead of giants like Exxon Mobil, contributing $279,500 to 22 of the committee’s 31 Republicans, and $32,000 to five Democrats.

Nine of the 12 new Republicans on the panel signed a pledge distributed by a Koch-founded advocacy group — Americans for Prosperity — to oppose the Obama administration’s proposal to regulate greenhouse gases. Of the six GOP freshman lawmakers on the panel, five benefited from the group’s separate advertising and grass-roots activity during the 2010 campaign.

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