Friday, November 4th, 2011

UPDATE Koch Confronts Dishonesty from Democratic National Committee

Ms. Melanie Roussell
Press Secretary, Democratic National Committee

Dear Ms. Roussell:

A laundry list of critics including almost every national news outlet, innumerable bloggers and citizens, and an ongoing congressional inquiry have pointed out that the Administration’s loan guarantees to the now bankrupt solar company, Solyndra, were a galling mistake.  But instead of answering those questions honestly or owning up to the boondoggle, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) sent out a press release under your name on November 2 attacking Koch.  You wrote, “It shouldn’t shock anyone that the Koch brothers are shilling for their oil company by funding attack ads against clean energy investments.  They are defending their own interests — the Koch Industries oil and gas conglomerate.”

This is simply dishonest.  For a start, Solyndra is not a competitor of ours.  Bankrupt companies, by definition, are not competitive.  It seems odd that the DNC still regards Solyndra as something that is “investing in America” but, then again, that is the kind of thinking that wasted more than $500 million of taxpayer money on the project in the first place.

For your information, Koch did not create, review, place, or promote the ad that DNC objects to.  Americans for Prosperity (AFP), which made the ad, is working hard in a principled way to highlight reckless government spending and the irresponsible fiscal policies of the administration.  We support AFP’s efforts because those are, of course, critical issues and ones that most Americans regard with the utmost concern.  But instead of responding on the merits or speaking directly to the concerns being raised, DNC apparently prefers to fault us (mistakenly) for the ad appearing at all.

Koch has always advocated against subsidies of any kind.  When the government picks winners and losers in the market, it inevitably leads to disastrous results of the kind so clearly seen in Solyndra.

You also wrote, “Koch…and the Republican presidential candidates whose campaigns they fund are interested in investing in America but only when it lines their own pockets.”  That is false.  As we have stated publicly and to DNC directly, Koch is not providing any financial support at this time for any presidential candidate.  Stranger still is the line-their-own-pockets accusation — which is the very misconduct that Congress is investigating regarding Solyndra.  Top campaign contributors to the Democratic party are the same people that benefitted from the government loan guarantees to Solyndra.

Finally, I sense you may be unaware of the work that Koch is doing in actual, profitable renewable and clean energy. Alternative, renewable, and clean energy are a top strategic priority for Koch, as can be easily reviewed on our website.  Here are a few examples:

  • We are one of the largest buyers and sellers of recycled fiber in the world, managing more than 6 million tons of recovered paper in 2010.
  • We are one of the largest producers of renewable electricity in the country.  One of our subsidiaries, for instance, derives about 60 percent of its energy from renewable woody biomass.
  • We are a global leader in ultra-low emission process burners, boiler burners, duct burners, flares and thermal oxidizers.
  • We invented and manufacture the largest array of membrane products in the country — filtration systems that help people and businesses reduce their water footprint, increase productivity, and lower operating expenses.  That helps millions of people live healthier lives by developing better ways to purify the world’s water sources, improve food processing, and more.
  • Our latest carpet fiber innovation is the first carpet fiber to combine recycled and renewable content in a single fiber offering.
  • We are building technology to efficiently expand the range of low cost feedstocks used in biodiesel production.

It is possible that the DNC didn’t do its homework before sending out the release (which could also be said of the Solyndra loans as a whole).  If so, I would urge you to be more diligent about facts, accuracy, and intellectual honesty going forward.  That’s because when you squander half a billion dollars belonging to taxpayers on an unsustainable company run by the president’s supporters and then blame Koch for the debacle being pointed out — that argument assumes American voters are blind to your dishonesty, which is clearly not the case.  We expect that the DNC will soon figure this out.


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

After several days without a response from the DNC we reiterated our request

Dear Ms. Roussell:

We have tried to engage with you over public comments you have made about us that are intellectually dishonest at best, but you have not responded.  I respectfully request that you provide us with a response.

As you will recall, in an opinion piece that appeared in Politico on November 1, Ms. Wasserman-Schultz falsely suggested that Koch has been providing financial support for GOP candidates in the primary campaign and that Koch did so in order to “distort” the truth.  That is untrue, as we have explained.  The following day, Ms. Roussell sent out a press release blaming Koch for television ads that criticized the administration’s handling of the Solyndra issues.  That too was false – Koch did not create, review, place, or promote the ad that DNC dislikes.

We would greatly appreciate your correcting these inaccurate statements and not making such false claims about us in the future.  Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Philip Ellender

CC: Hon. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Chairwoman

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