koch facts

Koch throws ALEC under the bus to dismiss George Zimmerman funding rumor

  • Posted on: 17 July 2013
  • By: Connor Gibson

Amid public outrage over the acquittal of George Zimmerman after the fatal shooting of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin, Koch Industries wants to clarify something: they did not finance Zimmerman's legal defense...but they did and do continue to fund the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which took up the NRA's Stand Your Ground law in Florida and spread it to over two dozen other states. 

Using their Koch "Facts" website, lobbyists at Koch Industries pushed back on the Zimmerman rumor and cite Snopes, a popular reference for confirming or debunking rumors. Snopes explains how Koch has backed ALEC's operations, including peddling Stand Your Ground laws that increase homocides:

"A rumor claiming that Koch was paying the legal fees of George Zimmerman, the defendant in the Trayvon Martin shooting case, and calling for a boycott of Koch-owned paper companies began to spread in mid-April 2012. This rumor appears to be tied to a combination of George Zimmerman's launching a web site soliciting donations for his lawyers and living expenses and news reports linking Koch to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a conservative policy group "that came under attack after the Trayvon Martin shooting for pushing Stand Your Ground gun laws nationwide".

ALEC's work for Koch and other companies has resulted in a barrage of bad state policies, taken home by ALEC's member state legislators who then turn a wishlist of corporate-crafted bills into law. Koch in particular is interested in ALEC's polcies to prevent action on climate change at every opportunity, blocking accurate teaching of climate science in K-12 schools, promotion of fossil fuel extraction, attacking clean energy incentives, limiting liability for corporations when their actions harm the public, and other cynical tactics that undermine the public interest. 

Koch Industries is a member of ALEC's Energy, Environment and Agriculture task force. Koch lobbyist Mike Morgan sits on ALEC's national corporate board and the Koch brothers' foundations have given hundreds of thousands to ALEC's general operations, supporting a wide variety of issues including the dissemination of the NRA's Stand Your Ground laws. 49 corporations and 6 nonprofits have stopped supporting ALEC due to Stand Your Ground, Voter Suppression and other controversial policies, including Wal-Mart, the nation's largest gun retailer. Meanwhile, Koch has stood behind ALEC during controversy after controversy.

Every "fact" that Koch Industries posts comes with an invisible asterick that readers must fill in themselves. Koch uses KochFacts to intimidate, lie and bend the truth, and will continue to do so in attempts to prevent reporters and watchdogs from highlighting its bad behavior.

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Koch blacklash against New Yorker reporter continues history of media interference

  • Posted on: 23 May 2013
  • By: Connor Gibson

Amid concerns that Koch Industries could buy several major U.S. newspapers from Tribune Company, industrial billionaire David Koch was forced to step down as trustee of WNET, New York City's largest public TV station, after the New Yorker revealed how WNET gave Koch inappropriate influence over its programming. Mr. Koch was floating a seven-figure donation over WNET's leadership as the station aired a movie that portrayed him as a particularly greedy Manhattan resident.

Sure enough, WNET didn't wind up receiving David Koch's hefty donation.

Last Thursday, David Koch submitted his resignation at a WNET Board of Trustees meeting, and Brad Johnson at Forecast the Facts* reports that Koch's name was scrubbed from WNET's website several days prior to the resignation. Koch Industries' public relations website, KochFacts, released a preemptive response to the New Yorker article (which it has now urgently elaborated on), attempting to stifle New Yorker reporter Jane Mayer and the details of her newest piece. David Koch's resignation as a WNET Trustee, coupled with telling quotes from WNET president Neal Shapiro and other sources, makes it clear that Koch had too much influence at the decreasingly-public TV station in New York.

The article is a fascinating culmination of two portions of the ongoing legacy of the Koch brothers: their desire to influence media, which is playing out with their company's bid for the Tribune Company's eight national daily newspapers, and their attempts to intimidate journalists and silence reporting they consider unfavorable.

Jane Mayer's epic 2010 profile of the secretive billionaire brothers has left Charles and David Koch firmly positioned in the center stage of politics, and they have cursed her since. In repeated and increasingly desperate attempts to discredit Mayer and ease the impact of her reporting on Koch Industries' terrible reputation, the company posted her face on the Koch "Facts" website and wrote letters urging the American Society of Magazine Editors to stop considering Mayer's 2010 article for an award.

The Koch brothers' attacks on Ms. Mayer provide more examples of how they use their connections to manipulate media (including in Mayer's new article, which caught Koch spokesperson Melissa Cohlmia in a complete lie).

Following her 2010 expose, Koch Industries was caught trying to fabricate a scandal to take Mayer down. Using the Daily Caller, founded by Koch's billionaire political ally Foster Friess and run by Tucker Carlson, a senior fellow at the Koch-founded, Koch-funded and Koch-governed Cato Institute, the Kochs tried to get a story placed into the New York Post accusing Mayer of plagiarism. The Post dismissed the idea--and that's saying something, given the lack of integrity at Rupert Murdoch's New York Post, not to mention FOX News, the collapsed News of the World and other outlets the media mogul owns. (NOTE: Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation has also expressed interest in Tribune Company's L.A. Times.)

Update Oct. 2014: Daily Caller Foundation is now funded by Charles Koch Foundation, receiving $11,064 in 2012.

Click to sign Greenpeace's 32,000-strong petition to Tribune Company: Don't Sell Your Newspapers to Koch Industries!

Greenpeace remains concerned about how the Kochs have already used their media ties to promote denial of climate change science. Beyond the pressing issue of global warming, the implications of media manipulation from Koch Industries spans across issues from education to public employee unions to immigration to healthcare reform.

This is why Greenpeace is working with a growing coalition of unions, media transparency advocates, environmentalists, good government watchdogs and other organizations to oppose Tribune Company's potential sale of its newspapers to Koch Industries, as well as Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, and any other politically-charged business interest whose history indicates they would manipulate reporting at Tribune's papers for political and financial gain.

*Disclosure: Forecast the Facts is one of the groups Greenpeace is working with to oppose Koch Industries' bid for Tribune Company.

Check Greenpeace.org for more Koch Facts.

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Heritage Foundation crisis clogs Koch Brothers outreach to Hispanic voters

  • Posted on: 13 May 2013
  • By: Connor Gibson

The Heritage Foundation isn't helping billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch reach Hispanic and Latino voters.

If you were the Koch brothers and you wanted to connect better with Latino and Hispanic voters, after you just dumped millions of your own cash into a presidential election that didn't go in your favor, you'd probably be annoyed if one of your favorite front groups started undermining your voter outreach.

That's exactly what's happening with the Koch-funded Heritage Foundation. Heritage is having a public relations crisis after releasing a contentious report claiming that immigration reform would cost $6.3 trillion over the next 50 years, indebting taxpayers to support people who live in the U.S. illegally. The offensive kicker is that the Heritage report's freshly-resigned co-author, Jason Richwine, previously published a dissertation claiming that Hispanic and Latino immigrants have lower IQs than White people.

Here's a helpful meme for Mr. Richwine:

As Heritage Foundation is one of the billionaire Koch brothers' favorite groups to implement their political agenda--receiving more than $2.7 million from Koch-controlled foundations since 2005--this is a poor start for the Kochs' new interest in reaching Hispanic and Latino voters in the U.S.

Amid the fiasco, Heritage pulled out of Buzzfeed's forum on immigration sponsored by the Charles Koch Institute. See infighting over Heritage's assumptions about how so-called "illegals" contribute to the U.S. economy from the Koch-funded Reason Foundation, of which David Koch is a trustee.

Hispanic & Latino Voter Engagement is Central to the Kochs' Refined Political Plans:

After coordinating hundreds of millions of dollars to defeat President Obama with the direct help of other billionaires like Sheldon Adelson, Foster Friess, and Philip Anschutz, the Kochs are meticulously refining their methods of controlling U.S. politics from behind the scenes. Some of those methods already involve serious marginalization of U.S. immigrants from Latin-American countries, as I've previously written:

It’s worth noting that the Koch-funded American Legislative Exchange Council distributed Arizona’s controversial racial profiling law, SB 1070, to states around the country so private prison companies can rake a profit off the incarceration of immigrants.

At the Kochs' most recent political strategy and fundraising meeting, the Kochs prioritized outreach to Hispanic voters, according to leaked material published by Mother Jones. Kevin Gentry, a Koch Industries employee and Koch World's central fundraiser, explained the new priority in his invitation to "several hundred of America's top business owners and CEOs" attending last month's Koch meeting:

Among other topics, in April, we'll discuss how to more effectively engage growing demographic groups, such as Hispanic and Latino voters, and how to encourage principled and effective advocates of free enterprise to run for office.

Kevin Gentry then offered mild elaboration to invitees of the Koch meeting:

Hispanic, women and youth engagement. Allies will present an approach to more effectively communicate to these growing demographics, all of which will play a critical role in advancing free enterprise.

New Heritage President Jim DeMint's History with Koch World:

It's unclear if anyone from the Heritage Foundation attended the recent Koch meeting, although Heritage's new President and former U.S. Senator James DeMint has repeatedly attended the Kochs' secretive confabs in the past. In turn, the Kochs were one of the top contributors to Jim DeMint's political piggy bank while he ran and served in the Senate (2004-2012). Sen. DeMint's campaign and leadership PACs received a total $76,000 from Koch Industries and the Koch family (see p. 21 of Greenpeace's 2011 Koch report).

Either Jim DeMint and the Heritage Foundation didn't heed the notes from the Kochs' latest gathering, or Heritage staff didn't realize that calling people stupid isn't the best way to sell an ideology.

On a human level, the Kochs don't get it. Even ignoring the offensive work of the Heritage Foundation, ALEC, and other Koch front groups, the recent focus on Latino and Hispanic voter outreach is clearly a self-serving political tactic, where broadly-defined groups of people are used as a means to an end.

Koch Industries bid for U.S. Newspapers includes major Spanish outlets:

The Koch brothers could potentially influence U.S. Latino voters through Koch Industries' controversial bid for a pile of major U.S. newspapers owned by Tribune Company. Tribune Co's print news in Chicago and Los Angeles isn't limited to the Chicago Tribune and the LA Times; Tribune Co. owns Hoy, the nation's second largest daily U.S. newspaper published in Spanish, as well as two major weekly outlets in Florida: El Sentinel de Florida Central and El Sentinel del Sur de la Florida, published in conjunction with two Tribune daily papers written in English, the Orlando Sentinel and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Each Saturday, 127,000 copies of El Sentinel is distributed to its reader base, while Hoy's weekend edition reaches over one million homes in Los Angeles and Chicago.

Tribune Company's widely distributed English newspapers also include the Baltimore Sun, the Hartford Courant, and the Allentown, PA's Morning Call and Hampton Road, VA's Daily Press.

While Koch Industries doesn't yet own any media, a network of Koch-friendly media has shown it is capable of spreading misinformation on key topics like climate change. Due to the high possibility of warped editorial reporting if Koch buys Tribune, ten public employee unions and groups like Free Press, FAIR, Forecast the Facts, Courage Campaign, Daily Kos, and the Center for Media and Democracy have all urged the public and owners of the Tribune Company to reject an offer from Koch Industries.

Check Greenpeace.org for more Koch Facts.

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Heartland Denial-a-Palooza Sponsors Have Received $67 Million From ExxonMobil, Koch and Scaife Foundations

  • Posted on: 22 May 2012
  • By: Connor Gibson

Written by Brendan DeMelle, crossposted from DeSmogBlog.

The Heartland Institute's Seventh "International Conference on Climate Change" - the somewhat-annual gathering of climate deniers that we call Denial-a-Palooza - is underway in Chicago. Heartland's contrarian gathering this year is clouded by the group's incredibly offensive billboard campaign that flamed out within hours but is causing lasting damage to the group's fading financial support from corporations, defections by staff and board directors and other headaches

Below is DeSmog's analysis of the "co-sponsors" of this year's ICCC7 conference showing that these organizations have received more than $67 million over the past three decades from ExxonMobil, the Koch Brothers and the right-wing Scaife family foundations. This is just a subset of the funding flowing to these groups from just three sources, and is certainly not all earmarked to cast doubt about climate change science and policy. But it provides a window into Heartland's current and historical support from fellow travelers who endorse the group's anti-science agenda. 


Here's the breakdown of funding to Heartland Institute from these sources:

ExxonMobil (1998-2010):              $7,312,500
Koch Foundations (1986-2010):     $14,391,975
Scaife Foundations (1985-2010):   $45,337,640

Grand Total:                               $67,042,115 


Here's the complete list along with the funding totals for each of the organizations.

 

African Center for Advocacy and Human Development
No funding records from Exxon, Koch or Scaife.

Alternate Solutions Institute
Received a $100,000 grant in 2008 from the Atlas Economic Research Foundation.

American Tradition Institute
No funding records from Exxon, Koch or Scaife.
 
Americans for Prosperity Foundation
Received $5,176,500 from Koch Foundations (David H. Koch and Claude R. Lambe) since 2005.

Americans for Tax Reform
Received $375,000 from Scaife Foundations (Sarah Scaife and Carthage) since 1996.


Received $60,000 from Koch Foundations (Claude R. Lambe Charitible Foundation and Charles G. Koch Foundation) since 2003.
 
Atlas Economic Research Foundation
Received $1,082,500 from ExxonMobil since 1998.
Received $3,465,000 from Scaife Foundations (Sarah Scaife and Carthage) since 1985.
Received $182,300 from Koch Foundations (Claude R. Lambe Charitible Foundation and Charles G. Koch Foundation) since 1987.
 
Australian Libertarian Society
No funding records from Exxon, Koch or Scaife.

Australian Taxpayers' Alliance
No funding records from Exxon, Koch or Scaife.

Austrian Economics Center
No funding records from Exxon, Koch or Scaife.

Ayn Rand Institute
Received $50,000 from Koch Foundations since 2005.
 

Beacon Hill Institute
No funding records from Exxon, Koch or Scaife.

Berlin Manhattan Institute
No funding records from Exxon, Koch or Scaife.

Capital Research Center
Received $265,000 from ExxonMobil since 1998.
Received $5,155,000 from Scaife Foundations (Sarah Scaife, Scaife Family and Carthage) since 1985.
Received $665,000 from Koch Foundations (Claude R. Lambe Charitible Foundation and Charles G. Koch Foundation) since 1987.

Carbon Sense Coalition
No funding records from Exxon, Koch or Scaife.

Center for Industrial Progress
No funding records from Exxon, Koch or Scaife.
 
Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change (CO2 Science)
Received $100,000 from ExxonMobil since 1998.
Received $100,000 from Sarah Scaife Foundation since 1999.
Received $85,000 from Koch Foundations since 1997.

Citizens' Alliance for Responsible Energy
No funding records from Exxon, Koch or Scaife.
 
Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT)
Received $582,000 from ExxonMobil since 1998.
Received $1,840,000 from Scaife Foundations (Carthage and Sarah Scaife) since 1991.
 
Competitive Enterprise Institute
Received $2,005,000 from ExxonMobil since 1998.
Received $666,420 from Koch Foundations (David H. Koch and Claude R. Lambe) since 1986.
Received $3,275,000 from Scaife Foundations (Sarah Scaife, Scaife Family and Carthage) since 1985.

Doctors for Disaster Preparedness
No funding records from Exxon, Koch or Scaife.
 
Freedom Foundation of Minnesota
No funding records from Exxon, Koch or Scaife.

Free to Choose Network
No funding records from Exxon, Koch or Scaife.

Frontiers of Freedom
Received $1,272,000 from ExxonMobil since 1998.
Received $175,000 from Koch Foundations since 2004.

Received $135,000 from Scaife Foundations since 1998.
 
Frontier Centre for Public Policy
No funding records from Exxon, Koch or Scaife.

George C. Marshall Institute
Received $840,000 from ExxonMobil since 1998.
Received $30,000 from Koch Foundations in 2004.
Received $3,977,500 from Scaife Foundations since 1985.

The Heritage Foundation
Received $680,000 from ExxonMobil since 1998.
Received $4,476,571 from Koch Foundations since 1997.
Received $24,496,640 from Scaife Foundations since 1985.

IceAgeNow.com
No funding records from Exxon, Koch or Scaife.

Illinois Coal Association

No funding records from Exxon, Koch or Scaife.

Independent Institute
Received $85,000 from ExxonMobil since 1998.
Received $160,000 from Koch Foundations since 1995.

International Climate and Environmental Change Assessment Project (ICECAP)
No funding records from Exxon, Koch or Scaife.

Institute for Liberty
No funding records from Exxon, Koch or Scaife.

Institute for Private Enterprise 
No funding records from Exxon, Koch or Scaife.

Instituto Liberdade
No funding records from Exxon, Koch or Scaife.

International Climate Science Coalition
No funding records from Exxon, Koch or Scaife.

JunkScience.com
No funding records from Exxon, Koch or Scaife.

 
Leadership Institute
Received $101,500 from Koch Foundations since 1995.

Liberty Institute (India)
No funding records from Exxon, Koch or Scaife.

John Locke Foundation
Received $122,472 from Koch Foundations since 1997.

Power For USA
No funding records from Exxon, Koch or Scaife.

Reason Foundation
Received $381,000 from ExxonMobil since 1998.
Received $2,436,212 from Koch Foundations since 1986.

Received $2,518,500 from Scaife Foundations since 1985.

Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)
Received $20,000 from ExxonMobil since 1998.
Received $5,000 from Koch Foundations since 2003.

New Zealand Climate Science Coalition

No funding records from Exxon, Koch or Scaife.

60 Plus Association
No funding records from Exxon, Koch or Scaife.


Funding totals:

ExxonMobil (1998-2010):                $7,312,500
Koch Foundations (1986-2010):      $14,391,975
Scaife Foundations (1985-2010):   $45,337,640
Grand Total:                               $67,042,115 


Related Posts:

Graham Readfearn's look at the Australian groups backing Heartland's climate denial

Last year's tally of Exxon-Koch-Scaife money flows to ICCC6 sponsor organizations

Valentine's Day Heartland documents: Heartland Institute Exposed: Internal Documents Unmask Heart of Climate Denial Machine

Check Greenpeace.org for more Koch Facts.

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