Koch Facts Home

Friday, March 27th, 2015

Notable Links Digest – March 27, 2015

The Campus Climate Crusade

Conservative thought on campus these days is rare, though for some it’s still not rare enough. Witness the growing campaign by politicians, unions and environmentalists to intimidate into silence any academic or program that might challenge liberal ideology.

Congressional Democrats have grabbed most of the attention here, with their recent attempt to cow climate skeptics. Richard Lindzen, an emeritus professor of meteorology at MIT and a Cato Institute scholar, earlier this month described in these pages how House Rep. Raul Grijalva was targeting seven academics skeptical of President Obama’s climate policies, demanding documents about their funding and connections. A trio of Senate Democrats is working to muzzle more than 100 nonprofits and companies that have questioned the climate agenda, with a fishing expedition into their correspondence.

Largely unnoticed is that the congressional climate crusaders didn’t come up with this idea on their own. For several years a coalition of liberal organizations have been using “disclosure” to sully the names of conservative professors and try to shut down their programs. Their particular targets are academics who benefit from funding from the Koch Foundation, which has for decades funded free-market professors and groups on U.S. campuses.

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Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

Notable Links Digest – March 25, 2015

Those evil Koch brothers 11

Nothing infuriates the left more than the generosity of David Koch, he of the notorious Koch Brothers, who keep on pursuing both activist conservative politics and pure philanthropy.

Three dozen scientists, joined by groups like the Sierra Club and Greenpeace, are demanding that all science museums cut ties with any people or firms that, like the Kochs, “profit from fossil fuels.”

More: They want David Koch kicked off the boards of the Museum of Natural History in New York and of the Smithsonian — to which he’s given $70-plus million.

Why? The Koch brothers also fund groups that question the political consensus on climate change — so their money is “tainted.”

Now, both museums say they have no intention of booting Koch or anyone else. They also note that permanent exhibits he’s endowed at the Smithsonian specifically address the impact of climate change.

Anderson Cooper 360
Koch Industries General Counsel Mark Holden and CNN Political Commentator Van Jones discuss the importance of criminal justice reform.

Mark Holden wants you to love the Koch brothers
Yahoo! Politics

Over lunch in the gleaming “Café Koch” cafeteria, Holden said he thinks Charles Koch’s distaste for the spotlight and for showboating of any kind prevents him from taking more credit for his considerable philanthropy and empire-building.

“He should be celebrated, in my opinion,” Holden said. “Like Ford, Rockefeller, Steven Jobs, Carnegie — you know what I’m saying?”

Cohlmia, the head of public relations, agreed. “He is an American hero and an icon, and we want people to know,” she added.

Holden and others who work with Charles Koch believe that his Midwestern distaste for claiming credit has fueled his vilification — and that if people understood his views and his accomplishments, the negative mythology would mostly disappear.

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Tuesday, March 10th, 2015
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Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

Notable Links Digest – March 3, 2015

The Koch Brothers Just Launched a Lobbying Campaign to Eliminate an Obscure Government Agency. Here’s Why.
Mother Jones

On Tuesday, the industrial conglomerate run by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch sent a letter to Congress urging lawmakers to oppose the reauthorization of this obscure, 80-year-old institution, which otherwise will expire at the end of June. Signed by Philip Ellender, the president of Koch’s government affairs arm, the letter signals the start of a Koch lobbying effort aimed at shuttering the New Deal-era agency. The Ex-Im Bank has been living on borrowed time since September, when Congress temporarily extended its charter. But now Koch Industries wants Congress to eradicate the agency for good.

“The Ex-Im Bank is yet another example of the government intervening in the market to pick winners and losers,” Ellender writes. “It confers benefits granted by the American people as a whole to a small number of well-connected corporations. It socializes the risk of economic activity while benefiting relatively few companies.”


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Friday, February 20th, 2015

Notable Links Digest – February 20, 2015

So that’s it! Attacks on Koch brothers led to Dems’ midterm disaster, officials say
Washington Times

Democratic officials are second-guessing the party’s obsession with attacking … Koch …, saying it bears some of the blame for last year’s devastating election losses as the focus on the conservative billionaires diluted a party message already struggling for clarity.

Doubts about the relentless attacks on … Koch … surfaced as the Democratic National Committee held its annual meeting Thursday in Washington, where state party officials from across the country mulled what went wrong in 2014.

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Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

Notable Links Digest – February 18, 2015

Unlikely Cause Unites the Left and the Right: Justice Reform
New York Times

Koch Industries . . . and the center, a Washington-based liberal issues group, are coming together to back a new organization called the Coalition for Public Safety. The coalition plans a multimillion-dollar campaign on behalf of emerging proposals to reduce prison populations, overhaul sentencing, reduce recidivism and take on similar initiatives. Other groups from both the left and right — the American Civil Liberties Union, Americans for Tax Reform, the Tea Party-oriented FreedomWorks — are also part of the coalition, reflecting its unusually bipartisan approach.

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Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

Notable Links Digest – January 30, 2015

The Kochs Ride Again

One sign [America] is still a free country is that a band of like-minded people, devoted to principles they consider essential to the country’s thriving, can get together and try to effect them in public policy.

Unlikely bedfellows unite on criminal justice reform
Yahoo! News

Only one issue in Washington right now could bring together the Koch brothers’ top lawyer, an environmental activist, the former head of the NRA and Sen. Al Franken.

Criminal justice reform.

In a city best known for dysfunction and discord, the issue has stood out as a rare area of common ground between Democrats and Republicans.

Behind the Koch Caricature
National Review Online

In fact, the Kochs are hardly the biggest spenders. In 2012, reports the Center for Responsive Politics (a nonpartisan outlet that tracks political spending), 13 of the 20 most generous organizations making donations to outside spending groups (i.e., those not affiliated with candidates’ official campaigns) leaned Democratic. Koch Industries was No. 136 on that list. The Kochs did not even appear on the list of the top 100 individual donors (to outside spending groups that required the disclosure of donor names — some, such as 501(c)(4)s, do not).

Charles Koch: ‘We don’t rest on our laurels’
Wichita Business Journal

In his speech, Koch said, “Americans have taken an important step in slowing down the march toward collectivism,” but that “we don’t rest on our laurels.” He urged work toward freedom and a “society that maximizes peace, civility and well-being.”

Koch Brother Teams Up With Liberals on Criminal Justice Reform

The Kochs’ commitment in criminal-justice reform dates to the mid-1990s…

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Sunday, January 11th, 2015

Notable Links Digest – January 11, 2015

Congress doesn’t have to be a joke
Detroit Free Press

The federal criminal justice system’s onerous mandatory minimums and the culturally retrograde stripping of felons’ voting rights have long been an issue for the nation’s liberal constituencies. But they are also an affront to libertarian interests that generally find their home on the political right.

Last week, billionaire Charles Koch, a mega-funder for the GOP’s most conservative causes and candidates, penned a moving and articulate opinion piece pledging that he would focus on criminal-justice reform issues in 20

Charles Koch’s views on criminal justice system just may surprise you
The Wichita Eagle

Ten years ago, [Charles Koch] began giving money to support efforts by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers to help train defense lawyers and reverse what some see as a national trend to get tough on crime, which has resulted in the tripling of the incarceration rate since the 1980s and has stripped the poor of their rights to a legal defense.

He’s going to give more to that effort, he said.

“Over the next year, we are going to be pushing the issues key to this, which need a lot of work in this country,” Koch said. “And that would be freedom of speech, cronyism and how that relates to opportunities for the disadvantaged.”

The nation’s criminal justice system needs reform, “especially for the disadvantaged,” Koch said, “making it fair and making (criminal) sentences more appropriate to the crime that has been committed.”

Truth is, there’s no one behind the wheel
Chicago Tribune

Meanwhile, for every rich conservative out there, there’s a rich liberal cutting checks, too. In other words, the one-percenters who supposedly run everything aren’t some homogenized class of economic overlords; they are, in fact, at war with each other. And, trust me, Charles and David Koch, Sheldon Adelson and Foster Friess no more think they are running the country than liberal super-donors Michael Bloomberg, George Soros and Tom Steyer do.

Corporate Good Guy of the Week: Koch Industries

Most big businesses that decry “big government” and “Washington interference” also lobby heavily for favorable tax treatment and anti-competitive regulations.  So it is worth noting that Koch Industries (cue evil mustache-twirl music now if you are a mindless liberal) is publicly arguing right now to let expire all of the “temporary” tax “extender” measures that Congress likes to roll over every year and that benefit a number of Koch’s own business ventures.  In other words, Koch is advocating policies that will raise its own tax bill.  But they are doing this consistent with their free market principles.

Principle centered leadership: The Koch brothers story
Midland Daily News

Every now and then, you come across exceptional people who by their leadership, courage, vision, principles, and imagination have literally changed the world. Charles G. and David H. Koch are two such people.

The Kochs have been criticized in many circles for their belief in, passion for, and support of the traditional values that have made America great. Charles and David are unequivocal believers in and advocates for free enterprise, private property rights, limited government, the rule of law, and individual responsibility. Simply put, the Koch brothers are concerned that government consumption of GDP in the U.S. is too high, taxes on U.S. businesses are too high, the U.S. national debt is too high, and the U.S. regulatory structure is handcuffing America’s ability to compete and create jobs in today’s complex global economy.

Perhaps all of us should be more concerned with the same issues the Koch brothers are.

Chris Rodel: Kochs give plenty to nonpolitical causes
Cap Times

Dear Editor: It still amazes me how people around here want to use the Koch brothers as the standard of all that is evil in society today. The letter that appeared recently, calling out the spending habits of the Kochs as opposed to the Frautschi/Rowlands or Morgridges (those folks have done admirable things for our community — thank you!) missed out on an opportunity to show how wealthy people across the entire nation support great nonpolitical causes.

The Koch brothers have spent hundreds of millions supporting medical research (David Koch is a prostate cancer survivor), higher education and science (being major donors to the Smithsonian and American Museum of Natural History), the fine arts (over $150 million to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Lincoln Center).

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Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

The Overcriminalization of America

How to reduce poverty and improve race relations by rethinking our justice system.

[Originally Published on January 7, 2015 in POLITICO]

By Charles G. Koch and Mark V. Holden

As Americans, we like to believe the rule of law in our country is respected and fairly applied, and that only those who commit crimes of fraud or violence are punished and imprisoned.  But the reality is often different. It is surprisingly easy for otherwise law-abiding citizens to run afoul of the overwhelming number of federal and state criminal laws. This proliferation is sometimes referred to as “overcriminalization,”which affects us all, but most profoundly harms our disadvantaged citizens.

Overcriminalization has led to the mass incarceration of those ensnared by our criminal justice system, even though such imprisonment does not always enhance public safety.  Indeed, more than half of federal inmates are nonviolent drug offenders.  Enforcing so many victimless crimes inevitably leads to conflict between our citizens and law enforcement.  As we have seen all too often, it can place our police officers in harm’s way, leading to tragic consequences for all involved.

How did we get in this situation?  It began with well-intentioned lawmakers who went overboard trying to solve perceived or actual problems.  Congress creates, on average, more than 50 new criminal laws each year.  Over time, this has translated into more than 4,500 federal criminal laws spread across 27,000 pages of the United States federal code.  (This number does not include the thousands of criminal penalties in federal regulations.)  As a result, the United States is the world’s largest jailer — first in the world for total number imprisoned and first among industrialized nations in the rate of incarceration.  The United States represents about 5 percent of the world’s population, but houses around 25 percent of the world’s prisoners.

We have paid a heavy price for mass incarceration and could benefit by reversing this trend.  It has been estimated that at least 53 percent of those entering prison were living at or below the U.S. poverty line when their sentence began. Incarceration leads to a 40 percent decrease in annual earnings, reduced job tenure and higher unemployment.  A Pew Charitable Trust study revealed that two-thirds of former inmates with earnings in the bottom fifth upon release in 1986, remained at or below that level 20 years later. A Villanova University study concluded that “had mass incarceration not occurred, poverty would have decreased by more than 20 percent, or about 2.8 percentage points” and “several million fewer people would have been in poverty in recent years.”

African-Americans, who make up around 13 percent of the U.S. population but account for almost 40 percent of the inmates, are significantly affected by these issues.  According to Harvard sociologist Bruce Western: “Prison has become the new poverty trap.  It has become a routine event for poor African-American men and their families, creating an enduring disadvantage at the very bottom of American society.”

Reversing overcriminalization and mass incarceration will improve societal well-being in many respects, most notably by decreasing poverty.  Today, approximately 50 million people (about 14 percent of the population) are at or below the U.S. poverty rate.  Fixing our criminal system could reduce the overall poverty rate as much as 30 percent, dramatically improving the quality of life throughout society — especially for the disadvantaged.

To bring about such a transformation we must all set aside partisan politics and collaborate on solutions.  That is why we have partnered with the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers for more than 10 years to bring about positive changes in our justice system.

We support a five-step approach to criminal justice reform:

First, “do no more harm.” Legislators must resist the temptation to criminalize activities that do not fit a common-sense understanding of what is a “crime.” Criminal laws should not impose liability if the accused did not knowingly and willfully intend to commit the bad act. This explosion of criminal laws has led to imposing liability on activities that ordinary citizens would have no reason to believe would be criminal such as converting a wild donkey into a private donkey, bathing in the Arkansas Hot Springs National Park without a doctor’s note, and agreeing to take mail to the post office but not dropping it off.  It has led to criminal liability for amateur arrowhead collectors who had no idea their hobby could be a federal crime, as well as criminal charges and a conviction for a former Indianapolis 500 champion who got lost while snowmobiling during a blizzard and unwittingly ended up on federal land.

Second, we must address prosecutorial abuses – especially in the discovery and grand jury processes.  Even the late Senator Ted Stevens fell victim to prosecutorial abuse in his trial when during the discovery process, federal prosecutors systematically concealed evidence that supported the senator’s defense and testimony. Prosecutors must disclose all evidence favorable to the accused to ensure that every American should be treated equally and fairly under the law, whether the accused is a disadvantaged urban teenager or a wealthy corporate executive.

Third, we must ensure that all those charged with a crime receive their Sixth Amendment right to representation by a lawyer. Inadequate or no legal representation results in devastating consequences for criminal defendants and their families.

Fourth, end unduly harsh sentences and resulting disparities by eliminating mandatory minimum sentences that dictate punishment unrelated to the nature or harm of the underlying crime and facts.  We must honor the ideal of the punishment fitting the crime by allowing judges to exercise discretion.

Finally, after a sentence is served, we should restore all rights to youthful and non-violent offenders, such as those involved in personal drug use violations.  If ex-offenders can’t get a job, education or housing, how can we possibly expect them to have a productive life?  And why should we be surprised when more than half of the people released from prison are again incarcerated within three years of their release?

Hopefully, every lawmaker and committed citizen will support these proposed reforms.  Overcriminalization leads to mass incarceration, undermines race relations and ultimately keeps more people in poverty.  We believe the proposed reforms will improve well-being for all Americans, especially the most disadvantaged.

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Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

Letter in opposition to H.R. 5771.

December 3, 2014

Dear Member of Congress:

On behalf of Koch Industries, I am writing to urge you to oppose the business tax extenders package, H.R. 5771, being considered in the House of Representatives. This package will reinstate corporate subsidies like the Wind Production Tax Credit, which expired on December 31, 2013. We believe this corporate credit, like many others in the current package, distorts the marketplace by allowing the federal government to pick winners and losers arbitrarily. We point to the Wind Production Tax Credit in particular, as it represents 20% of the entire business tax extenders package. That means more than $9.5 billion in taxpayer dollars being transferred to corporations.

First enacted in 1992, the PTC’s initial intent was for the federal government to foster and support a nascent wind energy industry. But over time, like all subsidies and mandates, good intentions have led to harmful unintended consequences, turning a hand-up to an industry in its infancy into a $23 dollar-per-megawatt-hour hand-out for big companies looking to pad their bottom-line. At a time when our nation is facing monumental economic challenges, this is the antithesis of the path we should be pursuing toward a simpler and less burdensome and wasteful tax code.

As such, we oppose ALL subsidies, whether existing or proposed, including programs that benefit us, which are principally those that are embedded in our economy, such as mandates. The Wind Production Tax Credit is a prime example of how government hides the cost of electricity mandates by rewarding investors while saddling taxpayers and ratepayers with higher electricity costs. The Wind Production Tax Credit artificially distorts the market to give an advantage to a politically-favored industry over other technologies by transferring the actual costs to taxpayers.

We do not believe government should be picking “winners and losers” by subsidizing or mandating certain industries or products. The record at doing so- both here and abroad- is abysmal, causing the loss of jobs and the waste of resources.

Koch’s government and public affairs activities are based on the principles that bring about the greatest well-being in society—freedom and property rights—core values that are recognized and valued by most Americans. Koch will continue to lobby for the repeal of subsidies and mandates, as we work to make people’s lives better. We believe history has proven that this is the best course to foster job creation, opportunity, and prosperity.

The Wind Production Tax Credit expired once for good reason. Let it expire for good. We urge you to oppose the business tax extenders package in its current form.


Phillip Ellender

President, Government & Public Affairs

Koch Companies Public Sector, LLC

600 14th Street, NW
Suite 800
Washington, DC 20005


Letter in opposition to H.R. 5771

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Monday, October 27th, 2014

Notable Links Digest – October 27, 2014

Did You Hear the Koch Brothers Just Gave a Million Bucks to NPR to Cover Healthcare?
Inside Philanthropy

Come to think of it, I didn’t recall any controversy when RWJF gave National Public Radio $5.6 million to report on healthcare between 2008 and 2011, during a period when this was among the most politicized of all topics.

You’d think that somebody would at least have raised an eyebrow, given that RWJF is a strong proponent of the Affordable Care Act, as well as other healthcare policy positions on the progressive side of the spectrum.

God bless that foundation, if you ask me. But as a thought experiment, imagine if the Koch brothers had given the same amount of money to NPR to cover healthcare.

People would have gone nuts.

A Rare Victory for Public Defense
New York Times

On the same day as the New York settlement, it was announced that the Koch brothers had made a six-figure grant to the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers to help train public defenders and fund research aimed at improving public defense.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo was right to stop fighting the lawsuit, which settled only on the eve of trial. New York had faced the embarrassment of being the first state to stand trial over its inability to provide public defense.

The Truly Daffy Demonization of the Brothers Koch

As Wichita’s Koch family has learned the hard way, the surest way to make mortal enemies in contemporary America is to build a hugely successful business, stick to your principles, and care about the future of your country.

A bantam-weight among those enemies is The Kansas City Star. Not above the occasional rabbit punch, Star editors jabbed away with a recent story headlined, “Conservative Koch group launches TV ad attacking Orman in Kansas Senate race.”

Never mind that the Kochs are libertarians, not conservatives. What intrigues about the story is that hundreds of groups run ads every campaign season. To single out just one sponsor by name when that sponsor is running perfectly legal ads in its own state suggests something deeper than a bias. It suggests a disease, specifically KDS—Koch Derangement Syndrome

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Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

Notable Links Digest – October 22, 2014

Koch Industries Funds Legal Defense For the Poor
Wall Street Journal

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers announced this week that it’s getting a “major grant” from Koch Industries Inc. to support the group’s indigent defense training programs and to study how states can do a better job of delivering legal services to the poor.

“We are supportive of the NACDL’s efforts to make the Sixth Amendment’s guarantee of an individual’s right to counsel a reality for all Americans, especially those who are the most disadvantaged in our society,” Charles G. Koch, the chairman and CEO of Koch Industries, said in a statement about the grant, which is believed to be in the six figures.

Tom Steyer and the Right to Free Speech
Commentary Magazine

Democrats have spent much of the last year trying to fuel outrage about the efforts of what they claim is nothing less than a plot by rich conservatives to purchase American democracy. At the center of that campaign is an effort to demonize the Koch brothers with a secondary role being played by Sheldon Adelson. But, as the New York Times reports today, liberal environmentalist Tom Steyer has now exceeded Adelson as the country’s largest donor to Super PACs with at least $55 million dollars donated in the last year to help defeat Republicans in the 2014 midterms. While Steyer is within his rights to spend his money as he likes, his move into first place in the Super PAC rankings effectively demonstrates not only the hypocrisy of attacks on the Kochs but the disingenuous nature of the Democrats’ claim that the GOP is buying the election.

Exclusive: Right to Counsel Is the Kochs’ New Cause
New York Times

Koch Industries, in partnership with the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, is financing a program to provide scholarships and training for public defenders. The grant will also pay for a review of indigent defense programs to see what works in providing legal representation to those who can’t afford it.

Charles G. Koch, the chairman of Koch Industries, said in a statement that the grant was a way “to make the Sixth Amendment’s guarantee of an individual’s right to counsel a reality for all Americans, especially those who are the most disadvantaged in our society.”

Koch Industries gives grant to NACDL “to address the nation’s profound indigent defense crisis”
Washington Post

You hear a lot about the Koch brothers these days, but this press release from the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers cuts against the usual narrative:

Washington, DC (Oct. 21, 2014) – The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), the nation’s preeminent organization advancing the mission of the criminal defense bar to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing, has been selected by Koch Industries, Inc. to receive a major grant in support of NACDL’s efforts to address the nation’s profound indigent defense crisis.

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Thursday, October 16th, 2014

Notable Links Digest – October 16, 2014

Hey, Big Spender
National Review Online

Then, of course, there is the experience of the Koch brothers, Charles and David, who have been featured in dozens of television ads, verbally flayed by Senate Democrats throughout the election cycle, and lambasted by Reid for everything from “actually trying to buy the country” to being flat-out “un-American.”

The Kochs, who in 1986 sat for a lengthy New York Times profile chronicling the family’s disputes and dramas, are today in virtual hibernation. Many Republican donors have followed suit.

“All the attacks on us definitely sent a message to people that if you support what we’re for and what we’re doing, you’re going to pay a price,” says Mark Holden, who serves as general counsel for Koch Industries. “And while some people are still willing to go forward, other people, understandably, aren’t willing to pay that price.”

RFK JR.’S Unhinged Attack On The Kochs Besmirches The Kennedy Name

Koch has contributed roughly $1.3 billion to charity for medical research, education, culture, the arts, and policy studies.

It’s an incredible story. Besides the Met museum, he just announced a $100 million donation to New York Presbyterian Hospital. He’s given $185 million to MIT, and another $100 million to Lincoln Center. The list goes on and on.
At the end of that speech at the Met, David Koch said he hoped his legacy would be that he “did his very best to make the world a better place.” That legacy is firmly in place.

Robert Kennedy Jr. should be ashamed of himself. Blissfully unaware of the scientific facts and existing solely in his self-centered world, he insults one of America’s great benefactors and stains the greatness of his uncle, John F. Kennedy, and his father, Robert F. Kennedy.

Democrats outraising Republicans as election nears
Fox News

Despite outrage from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and other Democrats about billionaires like the Koch brothers donating to the GOP, statistics show Democrats are outraising Republicans this election season.

Sheila Krumholz of the Center for Responsive Politics estimated, “the Democratic senatorial campaign committee has raised $111 million compared to $82 million for their Republican counterpart.”

Even when you take all sources of money, from all donors for all races, the Democrats still lead. “It’s about $595 million for the Democrats, and about $450 million for the Republicans,” Krumholz said.

Begich, Reid lead the league in hypocrisy
Alaska Dispatch News

But Reid, Begich and Co. have an ugly secret. The campaign against the Kochs is a lie – a very big, very bold, very calculated lie. The Kochs, it turns out, are not the problem when it comes to big money in Alaska elections – not by a long stretch.

Federal Election Commission records analyzed by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics show hypocritical Harry Reid is the problem when it comes to big outside money flooding into campaigns.

He is closely linked to an independent expenditure group, the Senate Majority PAC. It is the top outside spender when it comes to campaigns, the FEC says – and not just in Alaska but across the entire nation. At last report, it had spent $34.5 million. In Alaska, it almost single-handedly is paying for Begich’s independent re-election effort.

The Koch brothers? They are nowhere near the top of the list.

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Monday, October 6th, 2014

Notable Links Digest – October 6, 2014

Is Another Obama Administration Scandal About To Explode?

Austan Goolsbee directed Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board and later chaired his Council of Economic Advisers. In August 2010, Goolsbee conducted a telephone press briefing in which, according to the Washington Post, he purported to reveal confidential taxpayer information

There are three possibilities here: either Goolsbee just made up the claim that Koch Industries doesn’t pay corporate income taxes; or he learned Koch’s tax status from some proper, legal source; or else he illegally accessed Koch’s tax returns and used the information he learned for political purposes in a call with reporters.

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Friday, October 3rd, 2014

Notable Links Digest – October 3, 2014

Reid calls out Kochs, but Dem pac spends more


Editorial: Leave Muppets out of it!
The Boston Herald

The presence of the billionaire philanthropist and promoter of libertarian and conservative causes on WGBH’s board is subverting its “mission,” according to Forecast the Facts, which has helped organize repeated protests at ’GBH aimed at Koch.

That’s a particularly hollow charge, given the millions Koch has donated to the network and specifically to the science program “Nova,” which has produced endless hours of coverage about climate change and its impact on the planet. Call that Exhibit A that Koch has little influence over the network’s editorial decision-making.

Are Liberals Fund-Raising Hypocrites?
By Thomas B. Edsall
The New York Times

Mark Holden, general counsel at Koch Industries, contends that the Democracy Alliance orchestrates the activities of a permanent “left infrastructure” with ties to 172 organizations, each determined to attack the Koch brothers’ agenda of free enterprise and democratic capitalism…

The Democracy Alliance is an organization of roughly 100 very rich men and women who agree to contribute at least $200,000 annually to a list of roughly 20 liberal think tanks and advocacy groups, according to documents obtained by Politico. The Alliance itself makes no contributions. Nor does it pay for television ads or engage in other direct campaign activity.

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Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

Notable Links Digest – October 2, 2014

Top Spending PAC Aims To Keep The Senate In Democratic Hands

KORVA COLEMAN: For months Senate Majority leader Harry Reid has made a sport of bashing billionaires David and Charles Koch for donating millions to tax exempt groups pushing to win back Republican control of the Senate. But it turns out, the biggest spending outside group in this election cycle isn’t the Koch brothers, it’s a super PAC with ties to Senator Reid. NPR’s Peter Overby reports.

PETER OVERBY: The consultants who run Senate Majority PAC say they have just one goal, keeping the Senate in Democratic hands. To do that, they’ve spent 33 million dollars so far. That puts Senate Majority PAC at the top of the list, according to Federal Election Commission data, as analyzed by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.

None Can Call It Treason 
National Review Online

A couple of weeks ago at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, several hundred people went to their feet to applaud a speech delivered by David H. Koch. The occasion was the opening of the Met’s new façade on Fifth Avenue. It runs four city blocks, and is complete with new fountains, paving, lighting, landscaping, and seating areas for visitors. Mr. Koch contributed the entire $65 million cost of the project, which took years to complete.

And the people kept applauding. For several minutes. They wouldn’t stop in their gratitude for Koch’s generosity toward New York and one of the world’s great museums.

The Left demonizes David Koch and his brother Charles for their free-market views, their political donations, and the fact that they run a substantial energy company. Harry Reid has made a new career of it, calling them “un-American.” But on the platform that morning were liberal Democrats Jerrold Nadler and Carolyn Maloney. Ms. Maloney was particularly gracious when she said, “There is hope for the world when Koch and I can agree on something. On this we agree 100 percent.”

MSNBC Ridicules Democrats’ Hypocritical And Ineffective Koch Brothers Strategy
Washington Free Beacon

“This Koch brothers thing, it’s ridiculous,” Scarborough said. “Especially when they’re getting tons and tons of money on their side.”

Scarborough was alluding to a recent revelation that while Democrats frequently decry big money in politics, they in fact are the main recipients of big donor money.

“It doesn’t even work in Manhattan, where people thank God for David Koch,” Scarborough said. David Koch has donated nearly $300 million to New York City medical and cultural institutions.

“If you go to the hospital for special surgery because you’re mortally injured you will be thanking David Koch,” co-host Mika Brzezinski said.

Morning Joe co-host Willie Geist, equally perplexed, said Reid’s obsession with the Koch brothers has become a national strategy for Democrats but has been ineffective in moving the needle in midterm battleground states.
On The Cover Of The Rolling Stone


Rolling Stone has declined badly since the days when it employed P.J. O’Rourke as its foreign correspondent. The magazine falls a little farther with this month’s issue, which features the most uninspired hit piece on Koch Industries yet to appear in print. Timed to reinforce the Democrats’ campaign theme, Tim Dickinson’s article contains no original reporting, but merely regurgitates tired and discredited stories about Koch’s alleged misdeeds over the decades.

Dickinson’s problem isn’t just impenetrable ignorance, however. He contacted Koch Industries with a series of questions, and Koch responded with 3,200 words of history, fact and analysis-99 of which made it into the Rolling Stone article. You can see the information that Koch gave to Dickinson, and that Dickinson ignored, on KochFacts, where the entire email exchange between Dickinson and Koch is reproduced. The inescapable conclusion is that Dickinson knew that his article was a tissue of lies, misrepresentations and misleading statements and omissions, but published it anyway.


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Friday, September 26th, 2014

Setting the Record Straight in Arkansas

You may have seen political ads on TV that misrepresent Koch companies and our presence in Arkansas. The truth is, we’ve expanded and added more employees in the state. Get the facts in this short video:

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Thursday, September 25th, 2014

Response to Rolling Stone Story

When Rolling Stone magazine’s Tim Dickinson reached out to us for a story about “a detailed, longitudinal examination of the rise of Koch Industries to become one of the largest private firms in America,” we were open and honest with him. As our emails with Mr. Dickinson show, however, we told him we were skeptical of his intentions and whether he would write an objective and balanced story about Koch Industries and our 100,000 dedicated employees, including 60,000 in the United States. Instead, we explained, he seemed to be simply “checking a box” and going through the motions of saying he tried to get our perspective. We also expressed our concerns that given his and Rolling Stone’s past distorted and dishonest coverage of Koch, we were doubtful that he would be fair and objective with us.

We noted that his storyline seemed almost identical to many other unbalanced, agenda-driven pieces in the past, such as a widely panned and discredited Bloomberg Markets story. It appeared to us that he was simply regurgitating and cribbing from past pieces hostile to Koch. Mr. Dickinson insisted that he was “attempting to engage in a good-faith discussion” and denied that his reporting was aided by any of the agenda-driven attack groups that have long peddled misinformation about Koch for ulterior political purposes. This despite the fact that Mr. Dickinson has made a career at left-wing outlets like Mother Jones or that topics in this article track almost in lockstep with the prior work of other reporters who share his ideological commitments.

Despite our well-founded reservations, we provided detailed responses to Mr. Dickinson’s questions and requested that he use our responses in full. We asked that if he felt the need to omit any of our responses that he engage us in a discussion, as any ethical journalist would. Judging from the resulting article, it’s clear he wasn’t interested in being fair or honest.

Mr. Dickinson’s blatantly dishonest and misleading article published by Rolling Stone this week has numerous willful omissions, and contains no new or newsworthy information. We provided on-the-record responses to each of his several dozen questions and topics — answers amounting to more than 3,200 words in total — yet Mr. Dickinson quoted just 99 words in his more than 9,000 words. In addition, his article covers many topics that he never raised with us. Given that he used less than five percent of the information we provided, it is likely that he would have ignored further input in any event.

Any pretense at objectivity is belied by Mr. Dickinson’s efforts to hype his article on social media with hyperbole like, “From toxic pollution to toxic assets — everything you need to know about how the Koch brothers got so rich.” The caricatured illustration that accompanies the piece is appropriate, since the article, too, is a subjective distortion of reality.

Here is a link to all the information we provided on the record to Mr. Dickinson – information that he hid from readers. And here are further links that provide previously existing public responses from Koch and material that we provided Mr. Dickinson — nearly all of which was ignored:

•   Mr. Dickinson makes a number of broad negative claims about Koch’s environmental record, but only passing reference to the more than 900 awards for safety, environmental excellence, and community stewardship Koch has received since 2009 alone - information that we provided to Mr. Dickinson. In an article ostensibly about Koch’s relationship with regulators, the fact that EPA has repeatedly praised Koch for a productive and collaborative approach is surely relevant to Rolling Stone readers. In addition, he excised our explanation of the long and continuing path to improve and enhance our environmental, health, and safety performance. He also ignored the discussion about our ongoing efforts to ensure we understand and meet the expectations of the EPA and other regulators, our communities, and our shareholders.

•  While he never raised the issue with us, Mr. Dickinson refers to a University of Massachusetts-Amherst report from a radical group that names Koch as an alleged major “polluter” in the United States. Here again he omits key context to mislead readers. As we detailed here in a statement readily available to Mr. Dickinson, that report included virtually every major manufacturer in the United States today, which combined form the lifeblood of the economy and provide good-paying manufacturing jobs to millions of Americans. Moreover, the emissions cited in the report are legal and regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). EPA itself notes that Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) information alone does not indicate that the use or release of these chemicals poses a risk. EPA has compiled TRI data for facilities with the same U.S.-based parent company. A parent company is defined as the highest-level company, located in the U.S., which owns at least 50 percent of the voting stock of the manufacturer. These parent companies are ranked by EPA based upon the total volume of production-related waste managed by those facilities. Koch Industries, Inc. is the parent company for the Koch companies. Due to the size and nature of our U.S.-based manufacturing presence, Koch has been among the top 10 parent companies for the last three years. More than 100 Koch company sites submit TRI reports—significantly more than the other top-10 parent companies, which have between 1 and 65 sites reporting.

•   The article states that Koch made the difficult decision to convert a Flint Hills Resources refinery in North Pole, Alaska to a terminal, after “the discovery that a toxic solvent had leaked from the facility, fouling the town’s groundwater.” Mr. Dickinson ignored all the information we provide him on this topic. He deceptively omits the undisputed facts that the off-site contamination existed long before Koch bought the refinery in 2004, that the contamination was not disclosed to Koch by the prior owner, and that once discovered, Koch quickly and voluntarily began providing alternative water to the community. He also ignores that Alaskan public officials like Senator Mark Begich and Governor Sean Parnell empathized with Flint Hills’ difficult decision and that Flint Hills has worked to retain as many of the affected employees as possible at other Koch companies.

•   The article falsely claims that Koch’s petroleum coke business at its KCBX North facility in Chicago is endangering the “health of South Side residents,” despite the fact that we provided Mr. Dickinson the Congressional Research Service researchfindings from the city of Chicago that “there are no known illnesses or health effects associated with pet coke dust,” and EPA’s own conclusion that “petroleum coke itself has a low level of toxicity and that there is no evidence of carcinogenicity.” Nor does Mr. Dickinson note that KCBX was honored with the Good Neighbor award from the Southeast Environmental Task Force in 2001 and again in 2005.

•   Mr. Dickinson rehashes regulatory and legal issues from the 1970s and 1980s regarding Nixon Administration price controls and oil lotteries that have long since been settled. In some instances, Mr. Dickinson fails to note the responses we provided him.

•   The article falsely declares that Koch “stole” oil from American Indian lands in the 1970s and 1980s. In fact, no oil was “stolen” and there was no finding of theft of any kind in this case. We detailed this to Mr. Dickinson before publication and provided him with a statement and substantiation explaining the issue. He ignores all of it.

•   In discussing Koch facilities in Minnesota, Mr. Dickinson accuses us of “treating the Mississippi [River] as a sewer” during the 1990s. This is inaccurate and one-sided. In fact, between 1998 and 2001, Koch Petroleum Group entered into a series of agreements with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and EPA to resolve issues at Koch’s Rosemount, Minnesota refinery, taking full responsibility for past discharges from an aviation fuel tank leak, part of which reached a wetland adjacent to the Mississippi River, though not the river itself. We pointed Mr. Dickinson to the fact that our Minnesota refinery is recognized for its exemplary environmental performance, and its cooperative and productive relationships with regulators, environmental groups, and neighbors. His story omits these facts.

•   Mr. Dickinson says Koch was convicted of a “felony count for covering up the fact that it had disconnected a key pollution-control device” at a Corpus Christi facility. In fact, in 1995 an individual Koch employee filed a false report in this case, was terminated for doing so, and Koch voluntarily disclosed the incident to the Texas environmental regulatory agency. We provided Mr. Dickinson with this information in detail, including information demonstrating that someone altered evidence during the grand jury process. The official Texas state government meeting record showed when Koch first learned of the issues in 1995, our employees openly and directly told the state regulator that the refinery was out of compliance and advised they would come back to the regulator when they better understood all the details. In fact, later government records show that our employees did just as they promised. The meeting record that was used by the federal grand jury had that key exculpatory information excised. Ultimately, the 97-count indictment Mr. Dickinson mentions was dismissed after the government’s case cratered when Koch finally had a chance to challenge the evidence in front of the trial judge. As part of a settlement, Koch pled guilty to the incident stemming from the event we voluntarily disclosed back in 1995. The government required the four individuals who were wrongly accused to waive their rights to sue for malicious prosecution as part of this settlement. We gave Mr. Dickinson all this information and provided him copies of the documents, which are in our responses above. He intentionally ignores all of this to repeat the same dishonest and misleading story that many others have written about over the past 13 years.

•   The article shamefully uses the circumstances of a tragic 1997 fatal accident—the only such accident of its kind in the history of Koch Pipeline Company—in a cowardly effort to smear Koch as more concerned with a “10 percent” increase in profit than with human lives. As with so many other issues, Mr. Dickinson omits our point of view, even though we have publicly addressed the accident on multiple occasions since it happened–the only such accident of its kind in the history of Koch Pipeline Company) and have always accepted responsibility for this tragedy.

•   Mr. Dickinson quotes former EPA administrator Carol Browner negatively on Koch, and seems to suggest that Koch’s 2000 Clean Air agreement with the EPA is evidence of misdeeds. In fact, Ms. Browner described that very agreement as “innovative and comprehensive” and praised the “unprecedented cooperation” of Koch in stepping forward ahead of its industry peers. The agency also deemed the agreement as a “major step in fulfilling the promise of the Clean Air Act.”

•   Mr. Dickinson never raised with us many of the issues in Koch’s financial and trading operations that he later addresses in the article, and on other issues he again fails to note the responses we provided. In discussing a legal settlement with Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) over energy trading, for instance, Mr. Dickinson fails to note that CFTC praised Koch for full cooperation with its investigation (and also omits that it was a 50-50 joint venture between Entergy and Koch Trading). This was an industry-wide effort by CFTC, Mr. Dickinson fails to mention, and not focused solely on Entergy-Koch Trading (EKT). And in a lengthy discussion of futures trading issues, Mr. Dickinson appears to rely heavily on an article published by left-wing activists in the spring of 2011, despite the fact that the article and its author, Lee Fang, were thoroughly and utterly debunked at the time by multiple independent sources.

•   Despite providing Mr. Dickinson with links to the many mainstream media pieces that mocked, discredited, and criticized a Bloomberg Markets article on a Koch foreign subsidiary’s lawful business in Iran, he fails to include any of that information. Koch directly addressed the rank falsehoods emerging from the story multiple times, a repetition made necessary by political partisans and agenda-driven activists who spread known falsehoods in much the same way Mr. Dickinson does here. If he would have bothered to include our statement or link to our responses or other media coverage, he would have seen key information that impeaches the credibility of Bloomberg Market’s key source for his story – a former European employee who praised the company previously and never raised any issue about trade with Iran before he left. In any event, the fact that last decade a European subsidiary did some limited business in Iran is irrelevant since, as we have explained multiple times, that was permissible under the law at that time. We ultimately made a voluntary decision not to do business in Iran even when U.S. law allowed it. If Mr. Dickinson had any desire to be open and honest with his readers, he might have noted that many companies continued to do business in Iran long after Koch ceased doing so voluntarily, and that some still do business there.

•   Mr. Dickinson’s discussion of the Keystone XL pipeline is inaccurate and contradictory. He implies that Koch stands to gain from approval of the pipeline—a claim refuted here and more than a dozen times since such as here,  herehere, and here. Yet in the next breath Mr. Dickinson admits that the approval of Keystone XL would actually “eat into [Koch] profit margins.” He then offers a third distinct claim, that uncertainty over whether Keystone XL will be approved benefits Koch.

•   Other bizarre internal contradictions emerge throughout the article. For instance, Mr. Dickinson first implies Koch was guilty of patent infringement nearly a century ago, then pages later notes that the patent decision against Koch was thrown out when it was discovered the other party had illegally bribed the judge in the case, and that Koch in fact won at the Supreme Court and successfully countersued for anti-trust violations. Elsewhere in the article, Fred Koch is criticized for being both too soft on Stalinism and too “rabidly anti-Communist.”

Any reasonable reader will conclude that this article is nothing more than a thinly veiled “hit piece.” We believe that Rolling Stone readers would have benefitted from an open and honest discussion of the issues Mr. Dickinson decided to write about. We are confident that if the true facts had been presented, Rolling Stone readers might have learned something about us that was contrary to the misinformation that Rolling Stone and other media have rehashed and regurgitated over the years. Apparently Rolling Stone and Mr. Dickinson do not trust or respect their readers enough to provide them with balanced information and an objective narrative, nor do they want their readers to make up their own minds.


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Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

Notable Links Digest – August 27, 2014

Koch Brothers Take On Camo-Wearing Cops
The Daily Beast

Groups on the left have been among the loudest voices condemning police actions in Ferguson, Missouri, after the fatal shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown this month. But the Koch brothers, boogeymen of national Democrats, have long funded libertarian groups that laid the intellectual groundwork for opposing police militarization, a phenomenon that now has been discussed and denounced much more widely.

The militarization of police in particular is an issue the Koch brothers view as necessary to tackle and which they have spent years fighting, a spokesman said.

“We need to address issues such as overcriminalization, excessive and disproportionate sentencing, inadequate indigent defense that is inconsistent with the Sixth Amendment, and the militarization of police,” Mark Holden, general counsel of Koch Industries Inc., told The Daily Beast. “We have deep respect for the moral dignity of each and every person and because of this, we’ve worked for decades to support those who defend the full range of individual rights.”

Why I stand with the Koch brothers
The Star Tribune

Every day, another media personality or politician criticizes Charles and David Koch. Even our two Minnesota senators — Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar — regularly attack these two brothers, as has their boss, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who called them “un-American.” The Kochs, who have created hundreds of thousands of jobs and donated hundreds of millions to charity, earned such scorn for promoting free-market policies.

I agree with the Kochs. … We share a common vision: a society where opportunity and innovation improve well-being for everyone. We want to protect the American dream for future generations.

We believe that everyone should be free to chart his or her own path to success. They should be free to start and grow a small business into an economic powerhouse. And they should be free to do all of this without politicians and bureaucrats blocking the path.

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Thursday, August 14th, 2014

Charles Koch: How to really turn the economy around

[Originally published in USA Today]

By Charles Koch

Government, business and workers need to address values and incentives.

For years, Washington politicians have said that our economy is turning the corner. They said it in 2011, in 2013 and again last week — every time they report a quarter with 4% economic growth. But each time, the economy has turned sluggish again.

Like most Americans, I am deeply concerned about our weak economic recovery and its effects on millions of families. Opportunity, especially for the young and disadvantaged, is declining. High underemployment has become our new norm.

The effects of underemployment are not just economic, they are also social and psychological. Real work is an important part of how we define ourselves. Meaningful work benefits both us and others. Those who lack real jobs often end up depressed, addicted or aggressive.

Today, opportunities for such work are not what they should be. We need a different approach, focused less on politics and more on basic principles.

Read the full article at USA Today

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