Setting The Record Straight

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

UPDATE Confronting False Allegations about the George Zimmerman Case

Statement from July 17, 2013

Contrary to rumors that are circulating, Koch companies, Koch affiliates, and the Koch family have no connection to or involvement whatsoever, either direct or indirect, with George Zimmerman. We did not and are not paying his legal fees. This is another completely false and baseless rumor. In addition to this statement, we published the statement below on April 19, 2012. Snopes.com has also stated that the rumor alleging we paid his legal fees is false.

Statement from April 19, 2012

Contrary to an irresponsible rumor that began circulating online on April 18, Koch has no involvement whatsoever with the defense of George Zimmerman, the defendant in the Trayvon Martin case.

The exact origin of that rumor remains to be seen but similar falsehoods made by partisan activists in recent days have intentionally sown confusion about Koch.  On March 23, Democratic party operative Karen Finney wrongly accused Koch of a connection with the tragic circumstances surrounding the Trayvon Martin matter.  We provided MSNBC with a formal statement and demonstrable proof that Ms. Finney was deceiving viewers — and yet the network refuses to air those remarks or post them online.

Just days later, former White House aide Van Jones appeared on MSNBC and remarked, “You’ve got all of the passion around Trayvon and what a horrible injustice that was and you can draw a direct line to the Koch brothers.”  We confronted the network about that lie as well and again they refused to air our statement.

Despite MSNBC’s appalling disregard for basic journalism standards, we will continue to set the record straight on this issue as often as necessary.

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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!
Ken
________________________________________
From: Tappan, Rob
Sent: Thursday, February 21, 2013 5:21 PM
To: Ken Vogel
Subject: RE: Today’s article on Koch

Ken:

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.

Sincerely,

–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,
Ken

________________________________________
—–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.

Thanks.

–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,
Ken

________________________________________

—–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:  http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/california-politics/2012/11/koch-brothers-california.html

·         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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Friday, February 8th, 2013

UK’s The Independent and Editor Steve Connor Mislead Readers about Koch

Two slanted articles by Steve Connor in the UK Independent published on January 25 got many basic facts about Koch wrong. In response, we submitted a letter pointing out the errors and omissions in Connor’s stories. Unfortunately, the newspaper edited our letter without our knowledge and without notice to its readers, in the process censoring key information and important context. Here below is the full version of what we sent to the Independent, and here is a link to the altered letter that appeared in the newspaper.

Dear Editor:

Two stories in your January 25 issue by Steve Connor were predictable in repeating tired and debunked partisan accusations about Koch Industries and its shareholders, Charles Koch and David Koch. The approach starts with a reporter working hard to “prove” his theory about the Kochs and climate change, thus offering readers just one side of the story. This is called advocacy journalism.

The pieces are littered with language intended to demonize the subjects of the stories and rally activists by using loaded words such as “secretive,” “anonymous,” “billionaire,” “undermine,” “closet skeptics,” and so on.

The reporter asserts that much of the Kochs’ funding given to a wide variety of organizations is tied to “promote skepticism towards climate change.” He states this with no evidence, only innuendo to support his theory. Quite to the contrary, Charles and David Koch believe it is important to understand the primary and secondary effects that proposed costly initiatives to reduce greenhouse gases will have on the earth’s overall climate and public health, relative to the cost of implementation.

Are Charles Koch and David Koch secretive? No.  Like the owner of The Independent, they own and operate a private company. If the reporter had done some research, he could easily find that the Kochs have openly advocated for free-market principles for 50 years, including in Charles Koch’s 2007 book, The Science of Success.  Recently, too, Charles Koch and David Koch have done in-depth interviews with Forbes magazine, the Weekly Standard magazine and other media outlets. Not exactly secretive.

Moreover, the Kochs are advocates of the critical review that is the foundation of sound science, as everyone interested in furthering discovery should be. Climate science is a complex and ever-changing issue.

We end by reminding the reporter of his own words written on June 3, 2011: “Science is a messy business. We like to think that it can give us clear-cut answers to difficult questions, but like any human endeavour it can frequently lead us up the wrong path.” Clearly, Mr. Connor’s story led him up the wrong path.

To learn more about Koch, a company that employs 60,000 people throughout the world, I encourage your readers to do their own research at www.kochind.com and www.kochfacts.com.

Sincerely,

Thomas Dubois
International Government & Public Affairs
Koch Companies Public Sector, LLC
Geneva, Switzerland

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Friday, October 26th, 2012
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Thursday, October 18th, 2012

Confronting Dishonest Coverage of Our Mailing to Koch Companies’ Employees

Although a variety of distortions in the press have arisen regarding a letter that Koch sent to its employees, many of the lies are being swiftly refuted in the public discourse. Blogger Mark Draugh quickly noted the hypocrisy of publications that engage in political speech complaining that other people are exercising the right to political speech.  Andrew Evans at the Washington Free Beacon called the initial article about our letter “a smear” and pointed out that there was no effort in our letter to “control” anyone’s vote — as the initial report had falsely claimed.  Nor did we threaten layoffs, as was suggested — in fact, we are currently advertising for more than 2,400 open positions throughout Koch companies in the US.

Click Here For Full Post »

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Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012
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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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Friday, May 11th, 2012

Setting the Record Straight with the Washington Post’s “Fact” Checker

In an analysis published on May 10, the Washington Post’s Fact Checker column found no inaccuracy in our rebuttal to the Obama campaign’s misleading video and yet strangely assigned Koch “two Pinocchios” — the paper’s designation for misleading rhetoric.  Yet, the main fault the Post cites is that the columnist regards most of our video as a “non-sequitur” since it doesn’t address all of the points raised by Obama Deputy Campaign Manager Stephanie Cutter.

But the assertions of Ms. Cutter’s that we omitted were not about Koch at all.  Rather, as we explained to the columnist, those points were about an ad produced by Americans for Prosperity, an entirely separate organization to which Koch is but one of tens of thousands of contributing members.  Days before our rebuttal appeared, AFP had released a thorough, line-by-line debunking of all the points that she had made about them.  Here is a link that we provided the Post, although it did not appear in the piece.

Click Here For Full Post »

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Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

Responding to Disparaging Comments About Koch and Kansas in the Washington Post

Letters to the Editor
The Washington Post

To the Editor,

Tom Ehrich’s derogatory statements about Kansas [Morning in Middle America, April 24] include the usual distortions elites use to convince themselves that life is even more bleak and broken in other parts of the country than where they live.  If Mr. Ehrich thinks the bustling and orderly Kansas Motor Speedway is an “end of empire circus” I wonder what he makes of the New York City subway system?

Click Here For Full Post »

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Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

UPDATE We Confront Ongoing Dishonesty at MSNBC

From: Cohlmia, Melissa
Sent: Wednesday, April 18, 2012 9:44 AM
To: ‘Porges, Marian
Subject: RE: Response to MSNBC regarding Karen Finney

Dear Ms. Porges:

Thank you for your response.  With all due respect, I find your response troubling and insufficient to address our concerns regarding Ms. Finney’s false and malicious statements about us.  Contrary to your claim, we correctly stated in our March 27 email that Ms. Finney “accused Koch of a connection with the tragic circumstances surrounding the Trayvon Martin matter.  ‘Who was the Typhoid Mary for this horrible outbreak,’ Finney asked.   She then stated, ‘It’s the usual suspects the Koch brothers…the same people who stymied gun regulation at every point who funded and ghost write these laws.’”  Your email brushes this aside by playing semantics and ignoring the fact that Ms. Finney’s statements were dishonest and baseless.  In addition, you fail to even mention our concerns about activist Van Jones’ false and malicious statements on the April 8th Ed Show that, “You’ve got all of the passion around Trayvon and what a horrible injustice that was and you can draw a direct line to the Koch brothers.”

In light of this information we struggle to understand how your approval of MSNBC’s refusal to post our statement concerning this matter demonstrates is consistent with either journalistic ethics or accountability.  Your claim that our statement was not in response to Ms. Finney’s false statements misses the point.  We issued that statement the day before Ms. Finney’s comments because of our concerns that extremists like Ms. Finney and MSNBC would repeat the malicious lies that The Nation and Mother Jones had first published.  Our experience the past few years has been that MSNBC often repeats the outrageous and distorted allegations about us that are first set forth in the far left blogosphere.  Unfortunately, this has happened once again in this situation and you chose not to address it.

Click Here For Full Post »

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Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Setting the Record Straight on Firearm Coverage

Several left-wing media outlets, including The Nation and Mother Jones, have been advancing a false notion that Koch is somehow involved in lobbying for firearms legislation.  The Nation magazine put it this way: “A notorious Koch brothers-funded lobby group may have played a leading role in writing and passing the 2005 Florida self-defense law.”

But this idea is entirely wrong in several key respects.  First, Koch has had no involvement in this legislation whatsoever.  We have had no discussions with anyone at ALEC, the legislative policy group at issue, about the matter either.  In fact, the only lobbying on firearms issues we have ever undertaken in Florida was in opposition to the National Rifle Association’s support for a bill that mandated employers must allow employees to bring firearms onto company property.

Click Here For Full Post »

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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.
Click Here For Full Post »

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Sunday, March 18th, 2012
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Thursday, March 15th, 2012

Dallas Morning News Reporter Randy Lee Loftis Misleads Readers on Koch and Georgia-Pacific

An article published March 2 in the Dallas Morning News, and later distributed on the McClatchy wire service, contains numerous omissions and distortions, and misleads readers about Koch and Georgia-Pacific.  Here are the particulars:
Georgia-Pacific’s media relations office spoke with Morning News reporter Randy Lee Loftis on February 24th.  During that phone call, Loftis presented a few benign questions about Georgia-Pacific’s support for the Susan G. Komen Foundation and how the foundation vetted the company prior to engaging with GP.  No specific criticisms of the company’s relationship were mentioned and GP provided Loftis with full answers to the questions he asked.

Yet, the resulting story was in reality premised on the notion that legally permitted chemical emissions from GP’s manufacturing process place the company at odds with the Komen Foundation’s mission — which is false in several respects.

For a start, the chemicals used in GP’s processes are strictly regulated and monitored to help ensure that they are used safely and with no harmful human exposure.  Indeed, the Environmental Protection Agency has recognized GP for its compliance record, and from 2000 to 2010, Georgia-Pacific reduced its total emissions by 34 percent.

The Komen Foundation has never suggested that GP’s operations are detrimental to Komen’s mission, nor expressed any concern that GP’s support creates a conflict of interest.  In fact,  the opposite is true — the Foundation has lauded its partnership with GP and maintains a close working relationship which is wholly centered on saving lives by finding a cure for breast cancer.
Loftis never cites anyone actually making the claim of a conflict of interest between Komen and Georgia-Pacific. However, we get a sense of who could have been behind the idea when Loftis relies on material from a biased, politically motived filmmaker to accuse GP’s operations of causing harm to individuals near one of its facilities in Crossett, Arkansas.  Loftis never presented GP with this information prior to his story being published, and GP had no opportunity to respond to any specific questions.  It should also be noted that GP had made prior public statements detailing the inaccuracies of these claims – which Loftis apparently did not review or include in his piece.

After the article was published, GP provided Loftis with specific responses on the particulars he had withheld and asked that those facts be included online and should the article be sent out on the wire. Loftis did not respond to GP’s request and never included the facts in his story.
Ironically, the filmmaker’s video is a fundraising project in which he uses baseless and outlandish charges against GP as the basis for his fundraising appeal.  So, in a story that denounces conflicts-of-interest in fundraising, Loftis was co-opted by a filmmaker who is fundraising for his own partisan agenda.

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Thursday, March 1st, 2012
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Friday, February 24th, 2012

A Letter to the Obama Campaign

Mr. Jim Messina
Campaign Manager
Obama for America

Dear Mr. Messina:

Because every American has the right to take part in the public discourse on matters that affect the future of our country, I feel compelled to respond directly about a fundraising letter you sent out on February 24 denouncing Koch. It is both surprising and disappointing that the President would allow his re-election team to send such an irresponsible and misleading letter to his supporters.

For example, it is false that our “business model is to make millions by jacking up prices at the pump.” Our business vision begins and ends with value creation — real, long-term value for customers and for society. We own no gasoline stations and the part of our business you allude to, oil and gas refining, actually lowers the price of gasoline by increasing supply. Either you simply misunderstand the way commodities markets work or you are misleading your supporters and the rest of the American people.

Contrary to your assertion that we have “committed $200 million to try to destroy President Obama,” we have stated publicly and repeatedly since last November that we have never made any such claim or pledge. It is hard to imagine that the campaign is unaware of our publicly stated position on that point. Similarly, Americans for Prosperity is not simply “funded by the Koch brothers,” as you state — rather it has tens of thousands of members and contributors from across the country and from all walks of life. Further, our opposition to this President’s policies is not based on partisan politics but on principles. Charles Koch and David Koch have been outspoken advocates of the free-market for over 50 years and they have consistently opposed policies that frustrate or subvert free markets, regardless of whether a Democrat or a Republican was President.

If the President’s campaign has some principled disagreement with the arguments we are making publicly about the staggering debt the President and previous administrations have imposed on the country, the regulations that are stifling business growth and innovation, the increasing intrusion of government into nearly every aspect of American life, we would be eager to hear them. But it is an abuse of the President’s position and does a disservice to our nation for the President and his campaign to criticize private citizens simply for the act of engaging in their constitutional right of free speech about important matters of public policy. The implication in that sort of attack is obvious: dare to criticize the President’s policies and you will be singled out and personally maligned by the President and his campaign in an effort to chill free speech and squelch dissent.

This is not the first time that the President and his Administration have engaged in this sort of disturbing behavior. As far back as August, 2010, Austan Goolsbee, then the President’s chief economic advisor, made public comments concerning Koch’s tax status and falsely stated that the company did not pay income tax, which triggered a federal investigation into Mr. Goolsbee’s conduct that potentially implicated federal law against improper disclosure of taxpayer information. Last June, your colleagues sent fundraising letters disparaging us as “plotting oil men” bent on “misleading people” with “disinformation” in order to “smear” the President’s record. Those accusations were baseless and were made at the very same time the president was publicly calling for a more “civil conversation” in the country.

It is understandable that the President and his campaign may be “tired of hearing” that many Americans would rather not see the president re-elected. However, the inference is that you would prefer that citizens who disagree with the President and his policies refrain from voicing their own viewpoint. Clearly, that’s not the way a free society should operate.

We agree with the President that civil discourse is an American strength. That is why it is troubling to see a national political campaign apparently target individual citizens and private companies for some perceived political advantage. I also hope the President will reflect on how the approach the campaign is using is at odds with our national values and the constitutional right to free speech.

Sincerely,

Philip Ellender
President, Government & Public Affairs
Koch Companies Public Sector, LLC

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Friday, February 17th, 2012
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Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

Confronting Falsehoods about the Charles Koch Foundation’s support of The Heartland Institute

There has been a troubling pattern in the public discourse where left-leaning and, in particular, environmental activists have sought to connect Koch to whatever cause is agitating them — no matter how tenuous or even non-existent the connection to Koch actually is.

Documents and analysis about the Charles Koch Foundation’s support for The Heartland Institute, posted on February 14 by a partisan blog calling itself “DeSmogBlog” are demonstrably FALSE  in several key respects.

Click Here For Full Post »

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Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

Continuing Falsehoods from Sierra Club on Keystone

fundraising letter sent out this week by Sierra Club activist Bill McKibben contains an outright fabrication about Koch.  Urging opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline, McKibben writes, “the only argument for the pipeline comes from folks like the Koch Brothers — ‘we can make a lot of money.’  … but that money buys votes in Congress, unless we stand up.”

Koch has never made any such statement or argument.  McKibben is citing something that simply doesn’t exist in an attempt to make money for his own partisan activist group.  Koch has stated publicly and repeatedly that we have no stake in the Keystone pipeline.  It is troubling that the Sierra Club and McKibben are somehow taken seriously by news media covering this issue when they have such brazen disregard for the truth.  Even Sierra Club’s executive director, Michael Brune (a cohort of McKibben), had to be formally corrected by the Los Angeles Times this past July when he tried to mislead readers into thinking Koch had some connection to Keystone.

It’s worth noting that the Sierra Club was just exposed for surreptitiously taking $26 million from a natural gas company to fund criticism of competing industries.  It now seems obvious that this tainted funding has also been used to drive Sierra Club’s activities on the Keystone issue.

Given that the Sierra Club secretively took millions of dollars from a natural gas company in return for attacking other energy industry participants and that McKibben is willing to invent statements from others out of whole cloth and pass them off as legitimate, no one should believe anything else that he or the Sierra Club has to say.

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Monday, February 13th, 2012

Exposing a Factual Error by the Wall Street Journal’s Jacqueline Palank

A blog post by Wall Street Journal writer Jacqueline Palank contains an error in its opening paragraph.  Ms. Palank writes that Koch is “funding an ad campaign criticizing the Obama administration’s support of bankrupt solar company Solyndra LLC.”  This is false.  The fact is that Koch is among the tens of thousands of contributors to Americans for Prosperity, the group that is running the ads. Koch has no control over the ad campaign and has not directed funding toward it.  We pointed this out to Ms. Palank who refused to take responsibility for the error.

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