Advocacy Journalism

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

More Agenda-Driven Journalism

Charles Lewis, who founded the Center for Public Integrity with funding by George Soros, is now a tenured professor of journalism at American University.  On June 30, he posted a study that he and his students affiliated with AU’s Investigative Reporting Workshop compiled about Koch.  Thousands of words in length, the study repackages nearly every false and misleading attack leveled against Koch over the past couple of decades.

According to a story accompanying the study, Mr. Lewis and his classes at AU began working on this project in 2010.  In light of recent disclosures, it is clear this timing was not a coincidence. 2010 was the same year that Koch became the target of an orchestrated campaign by the Obama administration and the partisan Left, with thousands of stories and blog postings attacking us that were written by the Center for American Progress, Mother Jones, The New York Times, Huffington Post, and other agenda-driven bloggers and media.

To illustrate the orchestration, 2010 was also the year that:

Although the Investigative Reporting Workshop began working on the study in 2010, Koch Industries had no inquiry from Mr. Lewis until we received this email from him four days prior to the study’s release on the evening of June 26:

I would like to request an interview with either Charles Koch or David Koch, or both.

For over 30 years, I have been a journalist and I am a professor at American University in Washington; here is my bio. Since 2008, I have also been the founding executive editor of the Investigative Reporting Workshop, the largest (out of 18) nonprofit reporting news organization based at a university in the U.S. and the only one in Washington, DC.

I would like to speak with one or both of them in detail about their extraordinary philanthropy over many years, in the context of nonprofit, public policy-related organizations throughout the U.S., and many related topics.

If possible, I’d like to speak with either of them in the days ahead.

Thanks very much for considering this request.

Best wishes,
Chuck Lewis

Mr. Lewis apparently gave another ideological ally, Jane Mayer of The New Yorker an advance look at his study, however, because on Thursday evening, June 27, she reached out to us with this inquiry:

If possible I’d like to get comment on a study being released by American University’s Investigative Reporting Workshop on Sunday, which focuses on Koch Industries. We’re publishing a short blog item about the study’s findings regarding the “No Climate Tax Pledge” promoted by Americans for Prosperity. In essence the blog piece says the pledge has been successful in discouraging the House of Representatives from passing legislation tackling climate change. According to the study, 411 current office holders nation-wide have signed the pledge.

The blog story will quote Charles Lewis, Executive Editor of American University’s Investigative Reporting Workshop saying that, “There is no other corporation in the U.S. today, in my view, that is as unabashedly, bare knuckle aggressive across the board about its own self-interest, in the political process, in the nonprofit policy advocacy realm, even increasingly in academia and the broader public marketplace of ideas.” 

Do you want to respond? We’d be glad to have a quote from you, or from anyone, reflecting the Kochs’ point of view. Please let me know if you’d like to add anything. We’ll close the blog tomorrow afternoon.

Many thanks.
All best wishes, Jane.

We declined to participate in either Mr. Lewis’s or Ms. Mayer’s stories as we knew they were predisposed to support a misleading and partisan point of view. Mr. Lewis has a long history of left-leaning advocacy journalism and has received funding in the past from left-wing donors as evidenced by his own webpage.  Ms. Mayer of The New Yorker has authored a number of ideologically-driven attacks on Koch and other job creators.

The study’s extreme bias and partisanship is exemplified by its reliance on an October 2011 Bloomberg Markets article that was debunked by us and widely discredited by many media outlets, including the Washington Post (three separate times), Bloomberg Business Week,and The Atlantic.

The study is filled with so many other inaccuracies and distortions that we won’t detail all of them here, since nearly all have been previously addressed on KochFacts. However, there are some overarching points we want to make:

Koch has been a consistent advocate for economic freedom and individual liberty, which benefits all people, for more than five decades regardless of which party was in power. Contrary to Mr. Lewis’ arguments, we take those positions even when the resulting policy would be detrimental to our short-term business interests, such as our longstanding opposition to subsidies of any kind. Government mandates and subsidies in energy are far more likely to result in corruption, cronyism and wasted resources than they are to foster innovations that benefit society. This is evidenced by the recent, well-documented failures of several government-subsidized alternative energy programs which cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.

When it comes to the issue of climate change, for Mr. Lewis, or any others, to assert that all of the funding given by Charles Koch and David Koch has gone to “climate skeptic organizations” is inaccurate, sloppy, unsubstantiated and counter to honest reporting. Koch supports having an open, honest and science-based debate about the extent to which human activity is responsible for climate change. We are advocates for the critical review that is the foundation of sound science, and have funded a wide variety of organizations, causes and studies.

What Mr. Lewis did get right in his story is the one fact that Koch companies employ 60,000 people around the globe. Our employees make products and services that people want and need – things like fuels for transportation, energy to heat and cool buildings, fibers for high-quality carpets and garments, water filtration and pollution control equipment, fertilizer, consumer products, building materials and more – products that undoubtedly benefit Mr. Lewis and his partisan allies. We believe in the efficient use of all resources and are committed to maintaining a clean, safe and healthy environment as evidenced by the more than 700 awards we’ve received for safety, environmental excellence, community stewardship, innovation and customer service since January 2009 when the Obama Administration took office.

Even though the content is recycled and countervailing facts are omitted from the reporting, in keeping with the Left’s orchestration, we can count on one thing – that  Mr. Lewis’s study will be picked up in all the usual places.

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Saturday, May 18th, 2013

Jane Mayer’s Agenda

As campaigns and attacks against Koch Industries and its shareholders go, the one led by Jane Mayer of The New Yorker has been consistent, if nothing else – consistent in its left-leaning bias, baseless accusations, and numerous inaccuracies.

Click Here For Full Post »

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Monday, May 13th, 2013

Incomplete Reporting on the Tribune Rumor

If there was ever any doubt that news media, follow news media, follow news media, the stories about rumors of Koch buying Tribune newspapers are a case study.

Since March 12, when rumor of Koch’s alleged interest in Tribune properties was reported in LA Weekly, literally hundreds of stories and blogs have raced to cover the “news.” Starting on March 12, we began providing this statement to news media:

Koch Statement
“As an entrepreneurial company with 60,000 employees around the world, we are constantly exploring profitable opportunities in many industries and sectors. So, it is natural that our name would come up in connection with this rumor. We respect the independence of the journalistic institutions referenced in today’s news stories, but it is our long-standing policy not to comment on deals or rumors of deals we may or may not be exploring. “

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Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

Mother Jones Gets It Wrong… Again

The partisan writers at Mother Jones have consistently gone out of their way, even in the face of facts, to disparage Koch.  Call it conspiracy-by-free-association, where the writer seizes on an unrelated tragedy in the news and then tries to blame Koch, no matter how far-fetched or dishonest.  We have documented this irresponsible method many times before on this site.

Writer Tim Murphy has another such piece published in Mother Jones on April 22 in which he tries to fault Koch for the circumstances that caused the tragic explosion at a fertilizer facility in West, Texas.  The facts of that terrible event are still unknown and are under investigation.  But even as memorial services are underway for those who lost their lives, Murphy expresses no empathy for lives lost. Instead, he uses the tragedy as a platform to promote his and his magazine’s partisan views.

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Friday, February 22nd, 2013

Confronting Inaccuracy and Journalistic Misconduct by Politico’s Ken Vogel

Multiple stories and blog posts have been written about Koch and its shareholders over the past several years.  Unfortunately, a great deal of what gets said is blatantly false or spun to confuse readers and leave a wrong impression.  A Politico story written by Ken Vogel, a former employee of the left-leaning and George Soros-funded Center for Public Integrity, is the latest in a long line of examples.

Although the reporter reached out to a number of others in formulating his story about Koch, and relied on anonymous sources, none of us at Koch were contacted by him. There were a number of inaccuracies in Vogel’s story, as well as a continuation of his practice of using anonymous sources to attack or speculate about Koch’s alleged activities. Rather than take on all the inaccuracies, we asked for a specific correction on one matter – the false linkage of Koch to a recent California ballot proposition.

As the email chain below illustrates, the reporter twice refused to correct his story. Finally, we sent a third email asking him to at least include a statement from us in his piece. Again, he refused. In all the interactions we’ve had with news media these past several years, we’ve never had an outlet refuse to include our comment.

To set the record straight, here is Koch’s statement On California’s Proposition 32 refuting the reporter’s piece:

“We have been on the record, since November 5th 2012, as definitively not involved in the Prop 32 issue in California. We did not support, either directly or indirectly, this ballot initiative which would have restricted public and private sector employees’ rights to contribute to candidates.”

Finally, we provide a link to the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics and include a few of their standards as a reminder of the conduct that should guide conscientious and balanced reporting.

  • Test the accuracy of information from all sources and exercise care to avoid inadvertent error. Deliberate distortion is never permissible.
  • Diligently seek out subjects of news stories to give them the opportunity to respond to allegations of wrongdoing.
  • Identify sources whenever feasible. The public is entitled to as much information as possible on sources’ reliability.
  • Always question sources’ motives before promising anonymity. Clarify conditions attached to any promise made in exchange for information. Keep promises.
  • Make certain that headlines, news teases and promotional material, photos, video, audio, graphics, sound bites and quotations do not misrepresent. They should not oversimplify or highlight incidents out of context.
  • Distinguish between advocacy and news reporting. Analysis and commentary should be labeled and not misrepresent fact or context.

Emails between Koch and Politico

—– Original Message —–
From: Ken Vogel
Sent: Thursday, February 21, 2013 06:32 PM
To: Tappan, Rob
Subject: RE: Today’s article on Koch

Hey Rob:
Sorry we didn’t connect this afternoon; I was handling a breaking story.
I would welcome the chance to get coffee sometime next week or the following, and also to give you a tour of Politico and introduce you around, if you’re interested.
Regarding Koch Industries’ stance on Proposition 32, we don’t feel an update is justified, because our story does not assert that Koch Industries took a stance on Proposition 32.
Thank you for taking the time to correspond on this point — I look forward to meeting you in person!
From: Tappan, Rob
Sent: Thursday, February 21, 2013 5:21 PM
To: Ken Vogel
Subject: RE: Today’s article on Koch


Thanks for your note. Sorry we weren’t able to connect by phone this afternoon.

On the contrary, I would most definitely like to take you up on your offer to meet for coffee sometime in the near future.

With regard to the item that we’ve been trading emails on for the past day or so, it looks as though we agree to disagree. The repeated references to Koch certainly could lead a reader to believe the Kochs were somehow involved in Prop 32, and I would think a responsible journalist and a respected news outlet would want to make sure there was no such confusion if we’ve stated that we were not.

Let me make a suggestion that might suit both of our respective viewpoints.

I ask that you please post this short statement as either an update to your story or as an addendum at the end of the piece. In that way, we can put this particular matter in your story to rest:

Statement by Koch Industries regarding California Proposition 32 (2012):

“We have been on-the-record– since November 5th 2012– as definitively NOT involved in the Prop 32 issue in California. We did not support, either directly or indirectly, this ballot initiative which would have restricted public- and private-sector employees’ right to contribute to candidates.”

I think this is a reasonable request. Happy to discuss. Thanks.


–Rob Tappan


—–Original Message—–
From: Ken Vogel
Sent: Thursday, February 21, 2013 12:33 PM
To: Rob Tappan
Subject: RE: Today’s article on Koch

Thanks for emailing me back, Rob.
I take it from your response you’re not interested in getting that coffee.
Just to keep you in the loop, after I emailed you last night, I reached out to [a Koch consultant] to ask whether I should continue routing Koch-related inquiries through him. He said I should, so perhaps you and he could figure this out on your end, and then let me know the resolution.
As for your puzzlement with my response, it may stem from your mischaracterization of it. I did not write, as you assert, that I “did not make ‘any kind of an assertion’ as to Koch concerning this issue.”
I wrote something quite different: “we did not make an ‘incorrect assertion’ – or any kind of assertion – that the Kochs or Koch Industries took a stance on Proposition 32, nor did we make any assertion that the Kochs or Koch Industries ‘contribute[d] to any group with the intent of passing or defeating Proposition 32 in California.’”
The above is accurate, as is the language in the story regarding this issue, so, again, a correction would be inappropriate.
As to your comment that you had “many issues” with the piece, if you would be so kind as to identify specific instances in which you believe there were errors, I will address them specifically, as I have done above.
My invitation for that coffee and tour of Politico still stands, as does my willingness to address any additional concerns on this or any other story.
Thanks again,

—–Original Message—–
From: Rob Tappan
Sent: Thursday, February 21, 2013 10:44 AM
To: Ken Vogel
Subject: RE: Today’s article on Koch

Dear Ken:

Thanks for getting back to me.

With regard to your inquiry to [a Koch Consultant], [he] is not a Koch employee.  In the past, you have contacted us directly on occasion and I ask that you contact me in the future if you have any questions concerning Koch.

We had many issues with your piece yesterday, but that is not unusual, given, among other things, your reliance on your prior flawed reporting as support for many assertions in the piece, as well as your typical practice of using anonymous sources to comment on what they believe motivates Koch.

Rather than go through all of that, we instead decided to focus on the issue I raised in my email to you concerning the false linkage of Koch to a recent California ballot proposition.  I am puzzled by your response that you did not make “any kind of an assertion” as to Koch concerning this issue.  If you didn’t make any assertion concerning Koch and the California issue, then why did you even mention it and why did you use language that suggests, at a minimum, Koch was involved in some way in the activity that the California Fair Political Practices Commission is investigating?  It appears that you were trying to raise the specter of some connection with Koch through your detailed discussion of it or otherwise falsely link us to the issues, which is why we believe it is important to clarify that Koch had no involvement in those issues.

From your response, it appears that you are admitting that you knew Koch had no involvement in these issues, so we would ask that you amend your story to clarify this issue so as to avoid any confusion among those who might happen to read your story.   Indeed,  as discussed below, given that Koch previously made a statement concerning this very issue back in November, at a minimum, you should include reference to that in your story, and it is irresponsible to do otherwise.


–Rob Tappan

—–Original Message—–
From: Ken Vogel
Sent: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 9:13 PM
To: Rob Tappan
Subject: RE: Today’s article on Koch

Hey Rob:
Thanks for contacting Maggie, then me, and sorry it took a few hours to get back to you. Busy day.
I reached out to [a Koch consultant] on Monday as I was writing the story with a request for comment and some specific questions, but he didn’t provide any response. In the future, should I reach out to you, instead?
Either way, I would welcome the chance to chat with you over a cup of coffee, and would be happy to give you a tour of Politico and introduce you to some folks here, if you’re interested – and don’t mind trekking out to Rosslyn!
As for the concerns you expressed in your email to me, below, we did not make an “incorrect assertion” – or any kind of assertion – that the Kochs or Koch Industries took a stance on Proposition 32, nor did we make any assertion that the Kochs or Koch Industries “contribute[d] to any group with the intent of passing or defeating Proposition 32 in California.”
So we don’t believe a correction is appropriate.
Please let me know if you have any additional concerns on this or any other story, or if you’re amenable to grabbing that cup of coffee.
Thanks again for reaching out,


—–Original Message—–
From: Tappan, Rob
Sent: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 5:42 PM
To: Ken Vogel
Subject: FW: Today’s article on Koch

Dear Ken:

We’ve not yet met formally. I work here in the DC offices of Koch Industries, and I sent a note earlier to Maggie regarding an aspect of your piece that appeared in today’s edition and online.

Please take a look at the note below and let me know if you’d like to discuss. We’re looking for a correction to an incorrect assertion that was made in the piece.

Many thanks.

–Rob Tappan


—– Original Message —–
From: Maggie Haberman
Sent: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 03:43 PM
To: Rob Tappan
Subject: Re: Today’s article on Koch

Hey Rob – I looked again at the story and I really think you need to talk to Ken. Sorry I can’t be of more help here.

Sent from my iPhone


—–Original Message—–
From: Tappan, Rob
Sent: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 4:32 PM
To: Maggie Haberman
Subject: Today’s article on Koch

Dear Maggie:

Thanks for speaking with me earlier today regarding the piece that appeared in today’s Politico.

As I mentioned to you, one inaccuracy in particular compels us to write you and request that you run a correction to the story.

·         As we discussed, this has to do with the false implication that Koch was involved in some way with the California Proposition 32 initiative that was up for consideration in this past November’s election. That is clearly not the case, as we have been on-the-record– since November 5th 2012– as definitively NOT involved in the Prop 32 issue. We did not support, either directly or indirectly, the recent Proposition 32 ballot initiative that would have restricted public- and private-sector employees’ right to contribute to candidates. Proposition 32 would have prohibited both unions and corporations from using any payroll deductions from employees’ paychecks for political purposes.

·         Here is the link to our Nov. 5th statement:

·         We have consistently fought for the protection of Americans’ First Amendment right to free speech and to participate in the electoral process. We believe that government-imposed restrictions on free speech and political activity will destroy a free society.

·         To reiterate, we did not contribute to any group with the intent of passing or defeating Proposition 32 in California.

Please feel free to reach out to me if you would like to discuss this further. Thanks.

–Rob Tappan

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Monday, October 29th, 2012
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Friday, October 26th, 2012
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Sunday, October 14th, 2012

Koch Companies Response to Mike Elk Concerning Employee Communications

The following email was sent to Mike Elk on Sunday, October 14, 2012.


We received your request to provide a response to your story about Koch Industries and Georgia-Pacific. Given the timing late yesterday, we were not able to provide a response prior to your article appearing. However, we are providing the following responses to your story and respectfully ask you to update it accordingly.

Regarding the recent mailing to employees,
The mailing contained various pieces of information we believe are important for employees to know about, most importantly, our companywide employee newsletter that contained important information about our Guiding Principles.

Based on requests from many employees, the packet also contained information employees commonly ask about, such as voter registration deadlines and early voting options for their state of residence. And, also based on frequent requests, it provided a list of candidates in their state who are among those that have been supported by the Koch companies and KOCHPAC, our employee political action committee.

Click Here For Full Post »

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Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

Confronting Irresponsible Attacks and Intellectual Dishonesty from the New York Times Managing Editor

In a speech on June 16, New York Times Managing Editor Jill Abramson tried to justify the paper’s biased and obsessive coverage of Koch with a comparison to the Nixon administration that was divorced from reality and unhinged from the facts.  Speaking from prepared remarks to a trade group, Abramson said, “I’m tremendously proud of the enterprise stories we’ve done [because] the Koch brothers may be the most important behind-the-scenes players in this election, especially considering Watergate history, an environment where there are giant, secret campaign contributions is ripe for even more investigations.”

Abramson’s analogy is false, misleading, and ludicrous in several respects.  Every contribution to a state or federal political campaign made by Koch or any other person or group must be disclosed to the government and publicly catalogued.  Indeed, Koch scrupulously complies with all disclosure requirements, which the New York Times and other partisan media have used as a way to harass and attack us in the past.

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Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

Setting the Record Straight with MSNBC

As we have been documenting over recent months, Koch has been the target of numerous, false disparagements on MSNBC. Details on many of those instances can be found hereherehereherehere, and here.  The senior executive for standards and practices at NBC has agreed with us that MSNBC’s coverage of Koch has been journalistically improper — most recently when Democratic operative Karen Finney dishonestly accused Koch of involvement in the Trayvon Martin tragedy.

In an effort to set the record straight, Koch’s General Counsel, Mark Holden, agreed to appear on the Martin Bashir show on May 17, 2012 to hold Ms. Finney and MSNBC accountable for having deceived viewers. Prior to the broadcast, MSNBC President, Phil Griffin, acknowledged that the network and Ms. Finney had erred, agreeing that what Ms. Finney said was “wrong.”  He also said he hoped that MSNBC’s coverage of Koch can move beyond “bomb-throwing.”

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Monday, May 14th, 2012

UPDATE Inside Climate on Koch in Canada

A story that appeared on Reuters on May 10 deceives readers by falsely suggesting that industry analysts have said Koch will somehow benefit from the Keystone XL pipeline project.  The article, written by professional eco-activist David Sassoon, indicated that “Analysts say that Koch Industries…and other industry titans, stands to profit handsomely as pipelines that connect Alberta’s landlocked oil to global markets come online. … That includes the Keystone XL pipeline.”  Notice Mr. Sassoon never says who those multiple analysts are.  But as if to support his point, he then quotes a single analyst, Jan Stuart of Credit Suisse, as saying “The winners will be the companies upstream in the production end in Canada, the pipeline builders, and the mid-continent refiners all the way down to the Gulf coast.”

Yet, when we subsequently contacted Mr. Stuart directly, he said he had never cited Koch and declared “I am making no connection between Koch and the Keystone XL project.”  We will be requesting a formal correction from Reuters along with an explanation for why they continue to permit an agenda-driven activist to masquerade as an objective reporter.

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Monday, April 2nd, 2012

Fringe Video Maker Upset That Koch Defends Itself by Revealing the Serial Dishonesty in his Latest Attacks on the Company

From Mark Holden, General Counsel, Koch Industries, Inc.

Robert Greenwald continues to be dishonest about Koch in an effort to raise money for and draw attention to his latest attack video.  In a March 31st blog posting, Mr. Greenwald again repeated many of the false story lines that have been refuted over the past year hereherehere, and here.

He claims his new video is the result of a “year-long investigation” and that Koch is trying to intimidate him.  From what we understand about this re-packaged video, it, like his prior videos about us, is not factual or original.  It consists of the derivative rehashing of distortions and fabrications made by far-left bloggers, diatribes based on the most attenuated of relationships between Koch and some third-party group’s real or alleged activities, or outright smears.

His “investigation” consisted of having his employees harass us with multiple, staged phone calls that were not intended to get our point of view, but instead to create material for his new video. (Unfortunately, many of Mr. Greenwald’s employees have not mastered the art of hanging up the telephone, and their motivations and false intentions were revealed, as we have shown here and here).

At the same time that we have been the target of death threats, as well as threats of physical violence and attacks on our facilities, Mr. Greenwald’s employees attempted to conduct ambush interviews of one of our owners to ask him how many homes he owns. Mr. Greenwald himself has never acknowledged the many homes he apparently owns in the LA-area alone. In addition, he had film crews show up at our owners’ residences to videotape and ask questions – a tactic we understand he plans to employ again as he has tried to hire a camera crew to stalk our employees in Wichita over the next couple of weeks.

Compared to Mr. Greenwald’s and his employees’ stalking and harassing behavior, what we have done is point out that Mr. Greenwald’s assertions are false, baseless, distorted, and/or misleading.  We also pointed out his history of making extremely biased, false, and misleading videos about other entities that he and the far-left do not like.  Mr. Greenwald, like many of the groups he is aligned with politically, does not like it when the targets of his attacks defend themselves by relying on the truth to show the falsity of the attacks.

In his most recent post he has offered to debate us.  After Mr. Greenwald’s March 30 appearance on MSNBC’s Martin Bashir show, however, we are confused about what there is to debate.   During his appearance, Mr. Greenwald, in a rare moment of honesty about Koch, stated that “what they do is legal.”  While he later reverted to his dishonest ways and tried to retract this truthful statement, he apparently reviewed the tape of his statement and realized even he could not lie his way out of it, deleting his tweet in the process.

Below we again address his false claims about us.  In so doing, we deal solely with the facts:

1.  With regard to the Crossett facility, we have explained that Georgia-Pacific operates in compliance with its government-issued and regulated permits and the law; that the individuals in Mr. Greenwald’s video have undisclosed, ulterior financial or other motives in attacking us; and that the allegations about us have been reviewed and dismissed by the regulators in the past.

In his post, he attempts to denigrate Koch’s exemplary environmental performance by referring to a study prepared by a member of the Union for Radical Political Economics that has nothing to with compliance with EPA-issued permits, and lists many major US-based manufacturers, given that the study is based on outputs from facilities in the U.S.  We work hard to comply with our permits and work cooperatively and innovatively with federal and state regulators to ensure compliance. We have been recognized by the EPA for doing so  — see here and here.  Koch’s commitment to compliance with environmental, health, and safety laws is shown by the more than 450 awards we have received since President Obama took office.

With regard to formaldehyde, Koch companies comply with all laws and regulations.  Along with many other individuals, environmental groups, NGOs, government agencies, and companies, we provided comments on the EPA’s proposed regulations, as is provided for under the law.

Mr. Greenwald’s insinuation that we are responsible for any cancer that any individual is unfortunately suffering from is maliciously false and irresponsible.  We, of course, have sympathy for anyone suffering from cancer.  We are sickened by his attempt to exploit someone else’s suffering in a dishonest way so that he can line his own pocket and garner publicity for himself, as well his gratuitous and disgraceful reference to Koch employees who have battled this disease.

2.  Mr. Greenwald falsely ties us to laws designed to combat voter fraud based solely on our membership in ALEC.  As we have explained, we are not involved with these initiatives.  Consistent with our  longstanding support for the Bill of Rights and individual liberty, we support voter education and voter registration efforts.   ALEC is a non-partisan association for state legislators who share a common belief in limited government, free markets, and individual liberty — ideals that Koch has long supported.  Many hundreds of other individuals, organizations, and companies also support ALEC, including General Electric and Unilever, Ben and Jerry’s corporate parent.  This includes Democrats and Republicans alike, representing all various demographic groups across the social and political spectrum.  However, membership in an organization does not mean that Koch is actively involved with or interested in everything done by the organization.

3.   As we have explained, Koch was not involved in any way in the decisions made by a Wake County, North Carolina school board.  Mr. Greenwald doesn’t even try to suggest that Koch was somehow directing what this local school board and the parents decided concerning their children’s education.   Typical of his other allegations, he bases this one on alleged actions by an AFP chapter.  He rehashes facts we have long acknowledged: that David Koch is the chairman of AFP Foundation, and that some Koch employees are among the more than 2 million members and 90,000-plus individuals who contribute to AFP and AFP Foundation.  He complains that AFP doesn’t disclose its donors (it is not required to do so under the law).  He fails to note, however, that it appears his own organization, Brave New Foundation, and his former funder, Democracy Alliance, don’t reveal their donors.  Mr. Greenwald’s other false allegations and irresponsible race-baiting concerning AFP’s alleged involvement in Wake County are largely based on false allegations by the far-left ThinkProgress, which were refuted in January 2011 by Newsweek and the Washington Post.  The Post decried ThinkProgress’ misrepresentations of fact and irresponsible race-baiting, which Mr. Greenwald continues to repeat.

4.   Mr. Greenwald falsely claims Koch is undermining worker rights.  He bases this on allegations that Koch was behind Wisconsin’s budget repair bill — allegations that have been debunked here and here.  Koch, in fact, has productive, respectful, and longstanding relationships with the unions that represent thousands of our employees.  In fact, last year a senior union official praised Koch for providing “among the best-paid manufacturing jobs in America,” and stating that Koch “in practice and in general has positive and productive . . . relationships with its unions.”  In contrast, Mr. Greenwald’s past relationships with his workers and unions have not been as positive or productive.  In 1992, Teamsters drivers at a North Carolina movie production site staged a strike when Robert Greenwald Productions paid them only $100-a-day ($152-a-day, or $39,520 annually in 2009 dollars), 33% below the union’s $150-a-day minimum requirement. ($228-a-day, or $59,280 in 2009 dollars).  “It was a case where they were trying to make a low-budget movie and pay low salaries,” said R.V. Durham, president of Teamsters Local 392. “We fixed it.”  (The News & Observer (Raleigh), 4/16/92 and 4/18/92).  Mr. Greenwald also continues to be dishonest about the false representations he made in his Wal-Mart attack video concerning a Wal-Mart store in Middlefield, Ohio.   As one third party commentator put it“The High Cost Of Low Price” is a hatchet job on the big China seller. So here is the “$64,000 Question”:  WHAT IN THE BLOODY HELL IS H&H HARDWARE DOING IN A MOVIE WHICH FEATURES BUSINESSES THAT WERE PUT UNDER BY WAL-MARTS? Good question, because H&H was hemorrhaging for four or five years before it went out of business and actually sold all of its remaining inventory and went lights out THREE MONTHS BEFORE WAL-MART EVER OPENED! . . . So now do you smell a rat? This Greenwald is very, very deceptive. You’ve just got to see this film to believe it.”

In sum, Mr. Greenwald is the one “hiding” and “distorting the truth.”  Koch has been and will continue to be truthful and direct concerning Mr. Greenwald and his false allegations.  We hope that Mr. Greenwald’s recent video is seen for what it is: a desperate attempt by an obscure video maker to make money off of the orchestrated partisan political attacks against Koch that have been going on for the past few years.  We recommend that people read for the truth.  While it appears unlikely that reasonable people will watch Mr. Greenwald’s video, we hope that those who do will make the same decision about Mr. Greenwald and his work that the Democracy Alliance did.


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Friday, March 30th, 2012

Greenwald Exposed on MSNBC

In a rare moment of honesty, Mr. Greenwald conceded that what we do is legal. His words are captured at the conclusion of the video above. Greenwald then tried to retract his remarks and failing that attempted to corrupt the record by posting the following message on Twitter:


Caught in yet another lie, Greenwald deleted that deliberately misleading tweet. We post it here as further evidence of his serial dishonesty.

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Friday, March 30th, 2012

Statement Regarding Robert Greenwald

UPDATE Please be aware that MSNBC would neither present our full statement on air nor link to it on their website despite our requests, and instead misled viewers about what we said in it and read only a portion of it on air.

Robert Greenwald is a fringe, left-wing video maker who was recently de-funded by the George Soros-backed Democracy Alliance.  Perhaps due to the fact that he lost his source of funding, Mr. Greenwald is desperately seeking attention for a new video that attacks Koch Industries, Charles Koch, and David Koch.  If Mr. Greenwald’s past works are any indication, this current effort will be a partisan hatchet job that has no credibility.

Mr. Greenwald has made other shoddy videos that falsely attacked Wal-Mart and Fox News, and were filled with lies, distortions, and misleading assertions.  For example, in his Wal-Mart video, he falsely claimed that the opening of a Wal-Mart store in Middlefield, Ohio led to the closure of a locally owned hardware store, even though the hardware store had closed three months before Wal-Mart opened.  While one can argue whether these pieces are fatally flawed due to Mr. Greenwald’s obvious extreme bias or to abjectly sloppy research and journalism, the end result is that he consistently produces videos riddled with false statements and inaccuracies, and no semblance of objectivity or credibility.

Given Mr. Greenwald’s pattern of dishonesty and the childish antics of his employees who have been harassing us by phone, we are certain his video about Koch will contain outright lies, distortions of our true record, and misstatements of fact.  For example, Mr. Greenwald has falsely claimed that Koch is behind various voter ID laws passed by state legislatures (it isn’t) and that Koch was the impetus for some Wake County, North Carolina school board decisions (it wasn’t).

Explore KochFacts to find the truth concerning these issues, as well as information concerning the Koch companies’ exemplary environmental performance record.

Mr. Greenwald’s dishonesty on these issues is troubling.  However, he reached a new low even for him with a video last fall concerning Georgia-Pacific’s Crossett, Arkansas mill that contains false statements and misrepresentations of fact, which we understand he has included in his latest video.

As we have explained on this site, Mr. Greenwald relies on testimonials of individuals who have previously sued the company (and subsequently settled their claims), an environmental activist who has repeatedly misrepresented the company’s performance, and others who ignore or distort the true facts and environmental performance of the mill.  Most egregious is Mr. Greenwald’s baseless claim that the mill is linked to cancer.  While we are, of course, sympathetic to those who are suffering from cancer, there is no evidence that Georgia-Pacific’s operations are linked to any of these ailments.

Mr. Greenwald’ statements are maliciously false and misleading, and we urge the news media not to republish them.  That Mr. Greenwald would use other people’s ailments as a means to falsely attack Koch is irresponsible and disgraceful, but not surprising, given his track record.

All one really needs to know about Mr. Greenwald is revealed by a statement he made several years ago:  “There is a great quote: ‘The truth is too important to let the facts get in the way.’”  In his latest project, he has lived up to those words.

– Mark Holden, General Counsel, Koch Industries, Inc.

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Thursday, March 29th, 2012
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Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

Responding to Bob Beckel — A Public Statement from Mark Holden, General Counsel, Koch Industries

During a discussion on a Fox News program on Monday, March 19, partisan left-wing commentator Bob Beckel made outrageous and maliciously false statements about Koch. In reference to GOP presidential candidates, Beckel said, “the rest of them are taking money from the Koch brothers who are Iranian arms sellers.”

Mr. Beckel made the remarks in a bizarre effort to rebut concerns that the Obama campaign had accepted contributions from donors that have made disparaging remarks about women. He added, “But [Koch] traded arms with our enemies [and] I think that’s a lot worse.”

Mr. Beckel’s comments are reckless and wrong in many different ways. We assume he was referring to allegations contained in a widely criticized Bloomberg Markets article from last October. First, Koch has never manufactured, bought, sold, or traded arms of any kind or for any purpose — neither with Iran nor anyone else. Second, unlike many large contributors to the President and the Democratic party that Mr. Beckel is affiliated with that either continue to do business in Iran or did it at a much larger level for a longer time than Koch did, Koch voluntarily ceased all business in Iran several years ago.
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Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

UPDATE New Yorker tries to resist correction despite demonstrable facts.

Pamela McCarthy, Deputy Editor
The New Yorker

Pamela – thank you for your note. We are surprised that your apparent understanding of the word “preemptive” does not match the dictionary definition, which is this:

pre·emp·tive : taken as a measure against something possible, anticipated, or feared; preventive; deterrent.

All the best,

Melissa Cohlmia
Director, Corporate Communication
Koch Companies Public Sector, LLC

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Sunday, January 8th, 2012

UPDATE Confronting Bias and Fixation at the New York Times

From: Cohlmia, Missy
Sent: Friday, January 13, 2012 10:43 AM
To: Art Brisbane
Cc: Cohlmia, Missy
Subject: RE: Koch Industries

Dear Mr. Brisbane:

I appreciate your offer of continued dialogue and thank you for your time. Your candor, especially on the Times’ liberal leanings and how that lack of diversity of perspective can lead to “very predictable” and “dull” reading, deserves praise and we certainly share your view of it.

In answer to your question on specific examples of bias in the news coverage, here is a link to more than a dozen such instances which reveal the Times provides a frequent and high platform for the grievances of left-wing advocacy groups and the Democratic party about us.

We would still like to hear some justification from senior Times editors about why the articles involving us are so heavily weighted — in topic, frequency, and content — toward the left wing perspective.  I would be grateful if you could endeavor to get an answer from them about that.

Kind thanks,
Melissa Cohlmia
Director, Corporate Communication
Koch Companies Public Sector, LLC

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Friday, December 2nd, 2011

Irresponsible Journalism from Stanley Crouch, Mike Lupica, and the New York Daily News

Once again, New York Daily News columnist Stanley Crouch has resorted to insults and ad hominem arguments in a column attacking Koch.  But when it comes to addressing the actual merits of the public discussion, like the ones we raised with him twice before, Mr. Crouch has nothing to say for himself. His colleague Mike Lupica has also remained silent after we pressed him for specifics on an inaccurate and intellectually dishonest piece he wrote recently.

Here are but a few examples of the flawed reasoning in Crouch’s writing:
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Friday, October 21st, 2011

We Respond to Further Misrepresentations made by Bloomberg Reporters on WBEZ

Transcript Excerpts:  Worldview, WBEZ October 12, 2011

Host Jerome McDonnell:  Koch Industries finds itself in a PR nightmare from accusations it sold millions of dollars of petrochemical equipment to Iran in an end-run around a U.S. trade ban. The company has also made improper payments to win business in Africa, India and the Middle East.

REBUTTAL:  Not exactly.  Koch has addressed every issue that Bloomberg Markets presented and those responses can be found at Bloomberg ignored most of it though, which is why numerous media critics and bloggers have discredited the reporting.
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