Koch Industries: Secretly Funding the Climate Denial Machine [UPDATED]

“Most Americans have never heard of Koch Industries, one of the largest private corporations in the country, because it has no Koch-branded consumer products, sells no shares on the stock market and has few of the disclosure requirements of a public company. 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.”

read the rest at Koch Industries: Secretly Funding the Climate Denial Machine | Greenpeace USA.

Background

Bigger in size than either Microsoft or AT&T, Koch Industries (pronounced “coke”) is the largest privately owned company in the United States, with 70,000 employees and annual sales of $100 billion in the fiscal year ending December of 2008.

Charles G. Koch and David H. Koch run the company as well as Koch Family Foundations, one of the largest single sources of funding for conservative organizations in the United States. Organizations and think tanks supported by the foundation include Citizens for a Sound Economy, the … Cato Institute, Reason Magazine, the Manhattan Institute, the Heartland Institute, and the Democratic Leadership Council. David H. Koch ran for president on the Libertarian Party ticket in 1980.

Charles G. Koch co-founded the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank based in Washington DC, with Edward H. Crane in 1977. Recently, Koch Industries has become an aggressive opponent of climate legislation and a major funder of climate skeptics, including the Cato Institute.

Koch Industries is also a major polluter. During the 1990s, its faulty pipelines were responsible for more than 300 oil spills in five states, prompting a landmark penalty of $35 million from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In 2000, the company was hit with a 97-count federal indictment charging it with concealing illegal releases of 91 metric tons of benzene, a known carcinogen, from its refinery in Corpus Christi, Texas. Koch Industries was ranked number 10 on the list of Toxic 100 Air Polluters in March, 2010.

Koch Industries is the single largest oil company contributor to both Republican and Democratic candidates for Congress. These contributions total $1,065,750 to the 110th US Congress (as of the third quarter), the largest of which has been to Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-KS) for $42,950. Rep. Tiahrt, for his part, has consistently voted with the oil industry on energy, war and climate bills.

Contributions like this from fossil fuel companies to members of Congress are often seen as a political barrier to pursuing clean energy. More information on oil industry contributions to Congress can be found at FollowtheOilMoney.org, a project created by the nonpartisan, nonprofit organization Oil Change International.

[The above text consists predominantly of a redacted version of the entry on SourceWatch.]

In a 2004 report entitled “Koch‘s Low Profile Belies Political Power,” Bob Williams and Kevin Bogardus with the Center for Public Integrity (“Investigative Journalism in the Public Interest”) wrote:

Despite its size and political largess, Koch is able to dodge the limelight because it is privately held, meaning that nearly all of its business dealings are known primarily only by the company and the Internal Revenue Service.

Although it is both a top campaign contributor and spends millions on direct lobbying, Koch’s chief political influence tool is a web of interconnected, right-wing think tanks and advocacy groups funded by foundations controlled and supported by the two Koch brothers. [whole report here]

Georgia-Pacific

Koch also owns paper products giant Georgia-Pacific, which it purchased in 2005 for $21 billion. Researchers at the University of Massachusetts named Georgia-Pacific as the fifteenth-largest corporate producer of air pollution in the United States. Georgia-Pacific has also been linked to some of the United States’ worst toxic waste sites.

One of the impacts of Koch’s purchase of Georgia-Pacific was to take the formerly public corporation private, thus shielding its subsequent activities from full public scrutiny.

Commenting on the purchase Georgia-Pacific, Scott Silver, executive director of Wild Wilderness, a conservation and recreation issues-related organization, noted:

Simply stated, the Koch family is amongst the most powerful and influential movers and shakers promoting privatization in America. Over decades they and their money created an extensive infrastructure of Libertarian and Free-Market think tanks from which President Bush has drawn to staff the highest rungs of the land management agencies.

Georgia-Pacific does extensive logging on public lands. Private logging of America’s National Forests is a heavily subsidized form of corporate welfare. Logging companies such as Georgia-Pacific strip lands bare, destroy vast acreages and pay only a small fee to the federal government in proportion to what they take from the public. They do not operate in the Free-Market when they log public forests.

Now that GP has been acquired by Koch, the circle is completed. The ideologues running the land management agencies are the product of the think tanks created by, and funded by, the Koch family. Those ideologues are now in a position to permit Koch’s newest acquisition, Georgia-Pacific, to further rape and pillage the public’s lands. These think tanks promote the Free-Market ideal when it serves their interests to do so, but in reality, they are firmly committed to the ideal of enriching private interests at enormous direct cost to the American taxpayer.

via Scrutinizing the Koch Deal to Buy Georgia-Pacific — Institute for Public Accuracy (IPA).

Rainforest Action Network identified Georgia-Pacific as one of the “Top 5 US Importers of Plywood from Endangered Indonesian Wood,” and implicated it in a range of other environmentally destructive logging activities in Indonesia.

Update

The Koch family, America’s biggest financial backers of the Tea Party, would not be the billionaires they are today were it not for the godless empire of the USSR.
read: The Roots of Stalin in the Tea Party Movement | | AlterNet.

For more…

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