On June 10, the Washington Post published a misleading editorial (“Dulles rail awaits a thumbs up”) that singled out Charles and David Koch for their supposed involvement in opposing Loudoun County’s Silver Line. Koch has taken no position on the matter and was merely inserted into the discussion for political gain. Missy Cohlmia, director of corporate communication for Koch Companies Public Sector, wrote the following Letter to the Editor, which was published by the Washington Post on June 15.
Koch’s concern with the Dulles rail editorial
The June 10 editorial “Dulles rail awaits a thumbs up” singled out Charles and David Koch for criticism in a way that was intellectually lazy and misleading. The editorial stated, “A group funded by the conservative Koch brothers has sponsored thousands of robocalls” in Loudoun County in opposition to a taxpayer-funded bailout for “rail station developers.”
Why not simply inform readers which group is making the calls and the basics of its argument? Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is the group advocating opposition to the bailout. Yes, we have long supported AFP, but so have some 90,000 other Americans who have made financial contributions to the group. AFP has a thriving chapter in Virginia, where AFP has its headquarters, and many of those people no doubt live and work in Loudoun County, contrary to another cheap shot in the editorial that “right-wing groups” have “scant knowledge of Loudoun and no stake in its future.”
For our part, however, Koch Companies Private Sector has taken no position on this matter. Using Koch as a ready-made straw man in arguments to expand the role of government has become a tired and familiar approach for some commentators. This latest effort goes so far as to “suppose” that Koch “would also have opposed building the transcontinental railroad, the interstate highway system, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Metro system and Dulles International Airport.” The writer, in other words, was simply using imagination instead of facts.
Melissa Cohlmia, Wichita, Kan.