Friday, April 8, 2011

Caution: Koch Brothers at Work

About a year ago, Greenpeace released a report, Koch Industries Secretly Funding the Climate Denial Machine. The main point of the report was to draw attention to the role of the secretive brothers in funding climate denial and, in particular, to highlight the scale of their activity relative to the much better known activities of Exxon Mobile.
Although Koch intentionally stays out of the public eye, it is now playing a quiet but dominant role in a high-profile national policy debate on global warming. Koch Industries has become a financial kingpin of climate science denial and clean energy opposition. This private, out-of-sight corporation is now a partner to Exxon Mobil, the American Petroleum Institute and other donors that support organizations and front-groups opposing progressive clean energy and climate policy. In fact, Koch has out-spent Exxon Mobil in funding these groups in recent years. From 2005 to 2008, Exxon Mobil spent $8.9 million while the Koch Industries-controlled foundations contributed $24.9 million in funding to organizations of the climate denial machine.

While the Greenpeace report focuses entirely on the Koch Brothers activities as they relate to climate change, this is only the tip of the iceberg. A couple days ago, The Center for American Progress released The Koch Brothers: What You Need to Know About the Financiers of the Radical Right. This report documents, in considerable detail, the role of the brothers in a wide range of national policy debates. Here are some of the highlights from the report:

The Koch brothers, whose wealth, when combined, is the fourth highest in the nation, run one of the largest private companies in the country. Koch Industries is involved in industries ranging from oil and gas, refining and chemicals, minerals, fertilizers, forestry, consumer products, polymers and fibers, and ranching. They have operations in 45 states.

The Koch brothers use their considerable wealth to bankroll the right wing, including the Tea Party. This serves the purpose of furthering not only their right-wing ideology but also their bottom line. Koch Industries has a lot to gain from gutting government oversight and electing candidates who oppose government regulation, especially in the oil-and-gas industry.

Chances are the Koch brothers are part of any recent right-wing attack as of late as they have fought health reform, Wall Street reform, collective bargaining rights, and efforts to curb climate change, to name just a few.

We have identified at least $85 million the Koch brothers have given to at least 85 right-wing think tanks and advocacy groups over the past decade and a half.



Their main advocacy group, Americans for Prosperity, has chapters in 32 states and spent $45 million in the last election, predominantly to help elect Republicans.

The Kochs donated directly to 62 of the 87 members of the House GOP freshman class.

The Koch brothers are active at the state level, spending $5.2 million on candidates and ballot measures in 34 states since 2003. They donated directly to 13 governors that won election last year.

The Kochs are not going away. In fact, they have already pledged to raise $88 million for the 2012 election and have started scheduling events for potential Republican presidential candidates.

1 comment: