Republican Calls out Americans for Prosperity for Deceptive Tactics

The Koch brothers might have an uprising on their hands. For the second time in less than a month, Republicans in the Florida state Senate have called out the state’s branch of Americans for Prosperity for their manipulative tactics.

In a subcommittee hearing addressing Medicaid expansion, state Sen. Rene Garcia said the Koch-funded group was sending out misleading mailers that “deceive the voters of my district.”

AFP lobbyist Melissa Fause responded by saying “maybe our intent didn’t come through in the mailers” because the state Senate was in fact “already engaging in a lot of amazing policies.”

At that, a second Republican state senator, Lizbeth Benacquisto, asked Fause, “would you mind sending a mailer to all of our constituents that you sent the original mailer to, suggesting we’re engaged in some ‘really amazing’ policy development and follow up on your comments here at this committee?’

It’s good to see that more Republicans are starting to see the Kochs for what they are: selfish, manipulative, deceptive, and above all, greedy.

Rand Paul redefines sucking up to Koch brothers

Rand Paul pulled one of the biggest suck-ups of all time when he said, “the Kochs have consistently lobbied against special-interest politics,” in his lavish praise of the Koch brothers in TIME. Rand either doesn’t understand the definition of “special interest” or ignored the Koch brothers’ long history of being “takers,” not “makers” as Paul Ryan would say — redefining special interest politics in the process.

As everyone knows, the Kochs might not walk the halls of Congress themselves, but they plan to spend $889 million to buy the 2016 election and employ an army of political operatives to strong-arm the Republican Party. One by one, Republican presidential candidates, governors, senators and House members are signing onto the Kochs’ extreme worldview: Tax cuts for the wealthy and corporate America, eliminating the minimum wage, slashing Medicare and dismantling Social Security, and opposition to safe air and water standards, to name a few.

The Koch brothers have written the modern special-interest textbook on best practices for turning immense wealth into legislative largesse. And with the help of politicians like Rand Paul, they have gotten their way at the expense of middle class workers far too often.

To understand how laughable Paul’s homage is to David and Charles Koch, look no further than their body of work as the kings of special-interest politics:

1986 TAX REFORM EXEMPTION FOR KOCH INDUSTRIES

The Los Angeles Times: Koch Brothers “Got Special Deals” Under Transitional Tax Rules In 1986 Tax Reform Bill; Tax Code Writers Allowed The Brothers’ Company To Use Depreciation And Tax Credits For Expansion Of Their Minneapolis Refinery, “Though Such Benefits Were Curtailed For Most Other Businesses In 1986.”  According to The Los Angeles Times:  “The Sullivans’ special deal is one of the loopholes that continues to make some taxpayers more equal than others under the “reformed” federal tax code, though hundreds of other breaks were eliminated.Some were written in to see that corporations and individuals didn’t suffer unfairly when Congress changed the rules of the game in 1986. Others provide special benefits for broader groups of taxpayers — and often, despite their patent unfairness, enjoy wide popular support.Two other individuals who got special deals under the so-called transitional tax rules were Kansas oil billionaires Charles and David Koch, owners of the private Koch Industries conglomerate. The tax code writers allowed the brothers’ company to use accelerated depreciation and an investment tax credit for their planned expansion of a big Minneapolis oil refinery, though such benefits were curtailed for most other businesses in 1986.  [The Los Angeles Times, 3/5/1989]

KOCH INDUSTRIES LOBBYING

Center for Public Integrity: Kochs’ Public Pose as Libertarians, Role as “Financial Angels for Conservative Movement” are “At Times In Conflict” With Koch Industries “Lobbying Steamroller for the Company’s Interests.” According the Center for Public Integrity, “Charles and David Koch, the owners of the country’s second-largest private corporation, are libertarians of long standing, who contend that government regulations, taxes and subsidies stifle individual initiative and hamper American competitiveness. In recent years, the Kochs have played an increasingly public role as financial angels for conservative causes, politicians and foundations.  What’s not so well-known is the activity of Koch Industries in the trenches in Washington, where a Center for Public Integrity examination of lobbying disclosure files and federal regulatory records reveals a lobbying steamroller for the company’s interests, at times in conflict with its public pose.”  [Center for Public Integrity, 4/6/11]

CPI: Koch Industries Uses Trade Associations Like The National Petrochemical & Refiners Association, And The National Environmental Development Association “To Represent Its Interests In Washington.” According to The Center for Public Integrity, “These totals do not include the work of the trade associations that Koch uses to represent its interests in Washington. There’s a major industry group called the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association, and obscure organizations like the green-sounding National Environmental Development Association’s Clean Air Project, whose membership lists Koch and two of its subsidiaries (Georgia-Pacific and Invista) with a dozen industrial giants like ExxonMobil Corp., General Electric Co. and Alcoa Inc.” [Center for Public Integrity, 4/6/11]

CPI: Gregory Zerzan, Former Acting Assistant Secretary And Deputy Assistant Secretary At The U.S. Treasury Department, Works As A Lobbyist For Koch. According to The Center for Public Integrity, “Gregory Zerzan is a good example. Zerzan was a senior counsel for the House Financial Services Committee before serving as an acting assistant secretary and deputy assistant secretary at the U.S. Treasury Department during the George W. Bush administration. Zerzan then worked as counsel and head of global public policy for the International Swaps and Derivative Association before joining Koch Industries as a lobbyist.” [Center for Public Integrity, 4/6/11]

Carbon Standards

Center for Public Integrity: “It’s In The Kochs’ Commercial Interest To Preserve America’s Reliance On Carbon-Based Energy Sources.” According to The Center for Public Integrity, “It’s in the Kochs’ commercial interest to preserve America’s reliance on carbon-based energy sources. Despite recent diversification, Koch remains a major petrochemical company with refineries in North Pole, Alaska; Corpus Christi, Texas; Rosemount, Minn., and Rotterdam in the Netherlands; an array of chemical plants; a coal subsidiary (the C. Reiss Coal Co.) and 4,000 miles of pipelines.  So it is not surprising that, when the Obama administration and the Democrats on Capitol Hill proposed to regulate the emission of greenhouse gases in recent years, Koch Industries responded with a fervent counteroffensive.”  [Center for Public Integrity, 4/6/11]

Center for Public Integrity: Koch Companies Lobby Heavily Against Use of Low-Carbon Fuel, Which Contribute Less Than Other Fuels to Global Warming.   According to the Center for Public Integrity, “Of particular concern to Koch lobbyists in Washington, according to their disclosure forms, are measures to encourage or require the use of low-carbon fuels. These sources of energy, in their manufacture and use, contribute less than other fuels to global warming.”  [Center for Public Integrity, 4/6/11]

  • Center for Public Integrity: Koch Refinery In Minnesota Processes Large Amount of “High Carbon” Canadian Crude Oil; Opposed Low Carbon Standards Because  “Canadian Crude Generates More Greenhouse Gas Emissions” And So Low-Carbon Standards “Would Cripple Refiners That Rely On Heavy Crude Feedstocks.” According to The Center for Public Integrity, “The Koch refinery in Minnesota is designed to process heavy ‘high-carbon’ Canadian crude oil, and is fed by a pipeline from Canada. Koch ‘is among Canada’s largest crude oil purchasers, shippers and exporters,’ the company says, with a trading and supply office in Calgary and a terminal in Hardisty, Alberta. Much of the oil comes from the mining of oil sands, which have a particularly heavy carbon footprint because the process releases greenhouse gases from peat lands and boreal forest, and requires a great deal of energy to heat and sweat the oil out. ‘Canadian crude generates more greenhouse gas emissions’ and so low-carbon standards ‘would cripple refiners that rely  on heavy crude feedstocks,’ the Koch Industries website notes. ‘It would be particularly devastating for refiners that use heavy Canadian crude.’” [Center for Public Integrity, 4/6/11]

CPI: Kochs Opposed Efforts in Washington, California to Introduce Low-Carbon Standards, Other Measures to Slow Global Warming. According to The Center for Public Integrity, “When lawmakers in Washington and states like California sought to address global warming by requiring the use of low carbon fuels, Koch Industries responded. Koch lobbyists listed the legislation as a lobbying priority on Capitol Hill. And in California, where a wide-ranging series of measures to slow climate change were launched by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Koch joined the fight to defeat them.  A Koch subsidiary, Flint Hills Resources, donated a million dollars in support of Proposition 23, an unsuccessful attempt funded by Koch and other energy companies last year to stall implementation of the low-carbon standards and other remedial climate measures in California.” [Center for Public Integrity, 4/6/11]

CPI: Koch Lobbyist Disclosed He Was Lobbying To “Oppose Government Mandates On Carbon Reduction Provisions … [And] Provisions Related To Climate Change, And Oppose Entire Bill.” According to The Center for Public Integrity, “‘Oppose government mandates on carbon reduction provisions … [and] provisions related to climate change, and oppose entire bill,’ Koch lobbyist Robert P. Hall wrote, listing his goals on the 2008 lobbying disclosure form. The firm’s lobbying expenditures soared in 2008 as Koch Industries and its subsidiaries — Georgia-Pacific, Invista, Flint Hills Resources, Koch Carbon, Koch Nitrogen — peppered the EPA and members of Congress with objections. Several worked on measures that would strip the EPA of the power to regulate greenhouse gases through the Clean Air Act.” [Center for Public Integrity, 4/6/11]

CPI: Koch Representatives Joined “ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, Eli Lilly And Other NEDA-CAP Members To Register Concerns With EPA Officials Over The Proposed Mandatory Reporting Rule For Greenhouse Gas Emissions.” According to The Center for Public Integrity, “Koch-supported groups like the National Environmental Development Association’s Clean Air Project joined the effort. In a recent meeting, five Koch representatives joined colleagues from ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, Eli Lilly and other NEDA-CAP members to register concerns with EPA officials over the proposed mandatory reporting rule for greenhouse gas emissions, the record shows.” [Center for Public Integrity, 4/6/11]

Toxic Chemicals

CPI: Koch Industries Has Worked “To Dilute Or Halt Tighter Federal Regulation Of Several Toxic Byproducts That Could Affect Its Bottom Line, Including Dioxin, Asbestos And Formaldehyde.” According to The Center for Public Integrity, “Koch has since worked, on Capitol Hill and in various regulatory proceedings, to dilute or halt tighter federal regulation of several toxic byproducts that could affect its bottom line, including dioxin, asbestos and formaldehyde, all of which have been linked to cancer.” [Center for Public Integrity, 4/6/11]

Center For Public Integrity: “Koch Industries Argued That Moderate Levels Of The Toxic Chemical Dioxin Should Not Be Designated As A Cancer Risk.” According to The Center for Public Integrity, “At an EPA hearing last summer, representatives from Koch Industries argued that moderate levels of the toxic chemical dioxin should not be designated as a cancer risk for humans.” [Center for Public Integrity, 4/6/11]

  • CPI: Georgia-Pacific Claimed To Have “A Significant Interest In” And “To Be Significantly Impacted,” By The EPA’s Decisions On Dioxin. According to The Center for Public Integrity, “Dioxin is released from incinerators, hazardous waste treatment, pesticide manufacturing, paper plants and other sources. With 165 manufacturing facilities across the United States, Georgia-Pacific ‘has a significant interest in and will be significantly impacted,’ by the EPA’s decisions on dioxin, Koch officials told the agency in April 2010.” [Center for Public Integrity, 4/6/11]

CPI: Georgia-Pacific “Strongly Disagreed” With The National Toxicology Program’s Decision To List Formaldehyde As A Human Carcinogen. According to The Center for Public Integrity, “‘GP strongly disagrees with the [National Toxicology Program] panel’s conclusion to list formaldehyde, a natural component of every cell in the body, as a human carcinogen,’ wrote Traylor Champion, the firm’s vice president for environmental affairs, in a February 2010 letter.” [Center for Public Integrity, 4/6/11]

CPI: Georgia-Pacific Became A Target For More Than 340,000 Claims By Plaintiffs Because Of Their Use Of Asbestos In Their Products. According to The Center for Public Integrity, “When Koch Industries purchased Georgia-Pacific, it inherited a titanic liability regarding asbestos. Georgia-Pacific had used asbestos to make gypsum-based drywall products, and starting in the 1980s the firm became a target for more than 340,000 claims by plaintiffs who said they suffered lung and other diseases, including mesothelioma, a deadly cancer. By 2005, the company was spending $200 million a year and had to build a $1.5 billion reserve fund for asbestos liabilities and defense costs.” [Center for Public Integrity, 4/6/11]

  • CPI: Koch Industries General Counsel Mark Holden Griped That “Many Of Those Claims Are An Outright Abuse Of The Legal System … That Often Involve People Who Are Not Sick.” According to The Center for Public Integrity, “In a 2008 Koch Industries publication, General Counsel Mark Holden griped that ‘many of those claims are an outright abuse of the legal system … that often involve people who are not sick … all because of over-zealous litigators and a legal system that gives them perverse incentives.’”[Center for Public Integrity, 4/6/11]
  • CPI: Koch Industries Has Lobbied Against “Legislative Proposals Intending To Restrict The Use Of Asbestos And Improve Public Knowledge.” According to The Center for Public Integrity, “The number of new claims has dropped with tougher federal safety standards. But in the 110th Congress Koch lobbyists still sought to sway members on legislative proposals intending to restrict the use of asbestos and improve public knowledge, even Senate Resolution 462, which called for a ‘National Asbestos Awareness Week.’”[Center for Public Integrity, 4/6/11]

Koch Opposed Legislation “That Would Toughen” Standards, And Require Manufacturers “To Use Safer Chemicals And Processes” To Prevent And Minimize The Effects Of Toxic Releases From Terrorist Attacks. According to The Center for Public Integrity, “Another major preoccupation of Koch Industries lobbyists during recent sessions of Congress was the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards, a federal effort to identify and regulate chemical facilities that could be vulnerable to terrorist attacks. In 2009, the House passed legislation that would toughen the standards, and require manufacturers like Koch to use safer chemicals and processes to add another level of protection and minimize the effects of toxic releases from terrorist attacks or catastrophic accidents. Koch opposed the changes, claiming they ‘increase cost and regulatory burden while shifting focus away from security and toward environmental considerations.’ The chemical security provisions were listed as lobbying targets by Koch representatives in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010.” [Center for Public Integrity, 4/6/11]

Ethanol

Center For Public Integrity: “The Kochs Bought Four Ethanol Plants… With A Combined Annual Capacity Of 435 Million Gallons.” According to The Center for Public Integrity, “In Iowa As its corporate officials and publicists decried ethanol as a costly government boondoggle, the Kochs bought four ethanol plants in Iowa in recent months, with a combined annual capacity of 435 million gallons. In Washington (where ethanol tax subsidies cost the Treasury some $6 billion annually) Koch representatives lobbied Congress on ethanol and other biofuel subsidies.” [Center for Public Integrity, 4/6/11]

CPI: Koch Industries’ Subsidiaries, Flint Hills And Koch Supply & Trading, “Currently Buy And Market About One-Tenth Of All The Ethanol Produced In The United States.” According to The Center for Public Integrity, “Koch Industries’ status as an ethanol player goes beyond its new Iowa plants. Koch blends ethanol and gasoline nearby, in its Minnesota refinery. By its own account, the company’s subsidiaries, Flint Hills and Koch Supply & Trading, currently buy and market about one-tenth of all the ethanol produced in the United States.” [Center for Public Integrity, 4/6/11]

CPI: Koch Industries Accept Ethanol Subsidies Even Though They Claim To Be Opposed To Them Because They Did Not Want To “Place Our Company And Our Employees At A Competitive Disadvantage.” According to The Center for Public Integrity, “The Kochs seem to have recognized that their actions might seem hypocritical and in a January 2011 newsletter the company tried to explain things to employees who have been ‘scratching their heads and wondering: what is going on? After all, ethanol production is heavily subsidized, mandated and protected,’ Koch Industries acknowledged, ‘while Koch companies openly oppose such government programs. […] ‘We are not going to place our company and our employees at a competitive disadvantage by not participating in programs that are available to our competitors,’ Razook assured Koch employees.” [Center for Public Integrity, 4/6/11]

Oil Industry Price Gouging, Speculation, Tax Breaks, and Loopholes

Center For Public Integrity: “Oil Is The Core Of The Koch Business Empire.” According to The Center for Public Integrity, “Oil is the core of the Koch business empire, and the company’s lobbyists and officials have successfully fought to preserve the industry’s tax breaks and credits, and to defeat attempts by Congress to regulate greenhouse gases.” [Center for Public Integrity, 4/6/11]

  • CPI: “Koch Was A Pioneer Importer Of Russian Oil To The United States. According to The Center for Public Integrity, “The company has a history of pragmatism in commercial affairs. Koch was a pioneer importer of Russian oil to the United States, including a 2002 shipment of Russian crude that Koch sold to the U.S. government to help fill the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve. And though it opposes a cap-and-trade solution to global warming for the United States, Koch makes money trading emissions credits under a similar program in Europe.” [Center for Public Integrity, 4/6/11]

CPI: Koch Lobbyists “Spend Much Of Their Time” Fighting Attempts To “Curb Price-Gouging, Windfall Profit-Taking And Speculation In The Oil Industry.” According to The Center for Public Integrity, “Koch lobbyists spend much of their time, according to their disclosure reports, fighting attempts by members of Congress to curb price-gouging, windfall profit-taking and speculation in the oil industry.” [Center for Public Integrity, 4/6/11]

CPI: Koch Officials Worked To “Dilute A 2009 Federal Trade Commission Rule Governing Manipulation Of The Energy Markets” And Lobbied To Preserve Oil Industry Tax Breaks. According to The Center for Public Integrity, “To this same end, Koch officials worked to dilute a 2009 Federal Trade Commission rule governing manipulation of the energy markets.  Meanwhile, Koch has lobbied to preserve some of the oil industry’s coveted tax breaks and credits.” [Center for Public Integrity, 4/6/11]

CPI: Industry Tax Breaks Koch Has Lobbied For Include The Section 199 Subsidy And The “LIFO” Rule. According to The Center for Public Integrity, “One benefit is known as the Section 199 deduction, approved by Congress several years ago to help the hard-pressed U.S. manufacturing sector. In light of the oil and gas industry’s hearty profits, the Obama administration and members of Congress have sought to end the Section 199 subsidy for energy firms and save the U.S. Treasury $14 billion over 10 years. But Koch lobbyists and trade associations have worked to preserve the deduction. Another industry tax break that drew the support of Koch representatives is the venerable ‘LIFO’ (last-in, first-out) accounting rule. It allows energy companies effectively to raise the value of their existing inventory (and thus pay lower taxes on profits from sales) when the price of oil soars.” [Center for Public Integrity, 4/6/11]

CPI: “Koch Lobbyists Listed The Expiring Bush Tax Cuts As A Lobbying Objective.” According to The Center for Public Integrity, “Koch lobbyists listed the expiring Bush tax cuts as a lobbying objective last year, and the Koch brothers were among an elite, relatively few Americans who profited when the income tax cuts for those earning more than $250,000 a year were extended in a year-end deal.” [Center for Public Integrity, 4/6/11] 

Commodities Regulation

CPI: “Koch Lobbyists Labored To Preserve The Exemption, Known As The ‘Enron Loophole,’ That Excused Energy Commodity Contracts From Regulation.” According to The Center for Public Integrity, “In that time, the market for trading derivatives and swaps in the energy industry has gone largely unregulated. And in past Congresses, Koch lobbyists labored to preserve the exemption, known as the ‘Enron Loophole,’ that excused energy commodity contracts from regulation.” [Center for Public Integrity, 4/6/11]

David Koch Received A Tax Exemption To Buy A Mansion For His Children To Play In

Mother Jones Headline: “David Koch’s Americans for Prosperity Is Fighting a Tax Perk He Once Exploited”  [Mother Jones, 1/30/15]

While Americans for Prosperity Lobbied Against Historic Proiperty Tax Credits, David Koch Used “Used A Near-Identical Tax Credit When He Renovated His Historic Palm Beach Villa—And Saved Money At Local Taxpayers’ Expense.”  According to Mother Jones: “Americans for Prosperity, the free-market advocacy group established by the Koch brothers, mounts battles around the country on issues big and small via its nationwide network of chapters. Right now in North Carolina, AFP is vigorously opposing the revival of a state tax credit for renovating historic properties. The credit, which can be claimed by a company or a person, expired at the end of 2014, and the state’s Republican governor, Pat McCrory, is pushing to renew it. AFP is working hard to thwart him. But the group’s lobbying on this issue might be a tad awkward for one of its main benefactors: David Koch, who cofounded AFP and currently serves as chairman of the AFP Foundation. He used a near-identical tax credit when he renovated his historic Palm Beach villa—and saved money at local taxpayers’ expense.”  [Mother Jones, 1/30/15] 

AFP-NC State Director On Tax Credits For Historic Buildings: “We’re All For Historic Preservation, We Have No Problems With That. But If People Are Going To Do It, They Need To Do It Within The Private Market.” According to The Fayetteville Observer, “Gov. Pat McCrory sent his secretary of cultural resources to Fayetteville on Tuesday to continue pressuring his fellow Republicans who control the General Assembly to revive a tax credit for people and developers who rehabilitate historic homes and buildings. […]  Donald Bryson, director of North Carolina’s branch of the fiscal conservative and politically influencial [sic] Americans for Prosperity organization, argued that the tax credit is best buried. ‘We think that it’s another one of those tax credits that complicates the tax code,’ Bryson said. ‘We’re all for historic preservation, we have no problems with that. But if people are going to do it, they need to do it within the private market. I don’t know why that requires a state tax credit.’” [Fayetteville Observer, 1/27/15]

Palm Beach Officials Rewrote Tax Exemptions Governing Landmarked Buildings So That They “Apply Only To Renovations And Not To House Expansions Or Improvements.” According to the Palm Beach Post, “Town officials will write criteria so that tax exemptions for restoring landmarked buildings apply only to renovations and not to house expansions or improvements.” [Palm Beach Post, 2/1/02]

Palm Beach Councilman Allen Wyett Said The Exemptions Were “Rich Man’s Welfare.” According to the Palm Beach Post, “‘It’s rich man’s welfare,’ Councilman Allen Wyett said. ‘The rest of us taxpayers are subsidizing millionaires’ welfare.’” [Palm Beach Post, 2/1/02]

Palm Beach Was Set To Lose As Much As $104,000 In 2003 In Property Tax Because “The Increased Value Of Landmarked Property Resulting From Restoration Is Exempt For 10 Years.” According to the Palm beach Post, “The town will lose as much as $104,000 next year in property tax because the increased value of landmarked property resulting from restoration is exempt for 10 years. That exempt value will total $25.5 million next year.” [Palm Beach Post, 2/1/02]

Palm Beach County Lost About $126,180 Less In Tax Revenue As Well. According to the Palm Beach Post, “Palm Beach County will receive about $126,180 less in taxes as well. The reduction does not apply to school or any other taxes.” [Palm Beach Post, 1/9/02]

Wyett Said That The Koch Tax Break Was As Much As $48,000. According to the Palm Beach Post, “‘Voters had in mind preserving the average home, not mega-mansions. Granting a $48,000 tax break is not what was envisioned by voters,’ Wyett said of Koch’s estimated tax reduction.” [Palm Beach Post, 1/9/02]

David Koch Received Tax Exemption On A $12 Million Expansion Of His Home. According to the Palm Beach Post, “Among the tax exemptions the council approved last month were $8 million for The Breakers and $12 million for oil financier David Koch’s house.” [Palm Beach Post, 2/1/02]

David Koch Was Awarded The Ballinger Award In 2008 For Their Home Expansion. According to the Palm Beach Daily News, “The Koch’s efforts earned them the 2008 Ballinger Award presented by the Preservation Foundation annually to renovation, preservation and restoration projects deemed superlative for maintaining the historic architectural traditions of the island. The foundation has handed out Ballinger Awards since 1988. In 1991, the previous owners of El Sarmiento were given the award for the restoration of that property.” [Palm Beach Daily News, 12/14/08]

The Kochs Expanded Their “Grand And Very Formal” Home To Include The Property Next Door Because The Playroom For Their Three Children Under 10 “Was Too Small.” According to the Palm Beach Daily News, “When Julia and David Koch decided to purchase the property neighboring El Sarmiento, the grand and very formal Mizner-designed 1923 Mediterranean Revival house they have lived in since 2001, they foresaw the creation of a ‘magnificent compound.’ ‘We wanted to make a place for the children,’ said Julia Koch, who had created a playroom for the couple’s three offspring, all of whom are under 10 years old, from a former guest bedroom at El Sarmiento. ‘It was too small for them, especially when they had friends come over to play.’” [Palm Beach Daily News, 12/14/08]

They Purchased The House Next Door “To Accommodate The Koch Children’s Needs.” According to the Palm Beach Daily News, “So the original concept for the house next door, a 1925 British Colonial-style residence that had been renovated in 1931 by island architect and leading proponent of the Bermuda style, Howard Major, was to accommodate the Koch children’s needs.” [Palm Beach Daily News, 12/14/08]

“Only A Portion Of The British Colonial-Style House, Five Arches Stretching Across The First Floor Of The East-Facing Façade Of The Residence, Had Been Landmarked…” According to the Palm Beach Daily News, “Only a portion of the British Colonial-style house, five arches stretching across the first floor of the east-facing facade of the residence, had been landmarked, but [architect Thomas] Kirchhoff and the Kochs recognized the character and details of the entire east elevation, the south-facing elevation and an enclosed courtyard, all of which had been created by Major, were significant and worthy of restoration and improvement.” [Palm Beach Daily News, 12/14/08]

The Kochs Refer To The Second Home As “The ‘Playhouse’,” Which Would Provide “A Setting For The Children To Play.” According to the Palm Beach Daily News, “In the process, it was determined that the ‘playhouse,’ as the Kochs now refer to the second home they acquired, also would serve a number of functions besides as a setting for children to play.” [Palm Beach Daily News, 12/14/08]

The Koch “Playhouse” Includes An “Interior Courtyard,” Which “Was Made Somewhat Smaller, Allowing For A Motorcourt And Garage.” According to the Palm Beach Daily News, “There is a gracious second-floor apartment for the house manager and his wife, an exercise room, a gallery and family room, and underneath an expansive basement where a mega-generator and all climate and utility equipment for both houses is now located. An interior courtyard was made somewhat smaller, allowing for a motorcourt and garage along the west-facing side of the house.” [Palm Beach Daily News, 12/14/08]

The Kochs are Failing at Youth Outreach

The Koch brothers are continuing their pathetic attempts to be “cool” Uncles Dave and Chuck and harness the youth vote using misguided schemes and bizarre tactics.

Last month, Koch Industries announced a multi-year deal with Learfield Sports for an “integrated national sponsorship platform.” In other words, Texas A&M and Oklahoma State athletics are now sponsored by one of America’s most controversial petrochemical empires. The Kochs are making their first major foray into collegiate advertising just as students across the nation are amping up pressure on their administrations to divest their fossil fuel holdings and sever ties with big polluters contributing to climate change. The in-game mentions, radio advertising, and Koch-branded towels are a desperate attempt to convert young people. Nothing says youth outreach like a Koch branded towel.

In another attempt to showcase their “know how” on what the kids want these days, the Koch brothers are using Generation Opportunity, their millennial outreach front, to lobby against net neutrality. Generation Opportunity ominously warns that a government reclassification of the Internet would be tantamount to a government takeover. Once again, the Kochs’ agenda isn’t lining up with teenagers’ priorities.  According to a November poll by the University of Delaware, 81% of respondents ages 18-24 opposed overturning net neutrality rules.  Colleges, universities, and library organizations have come together to form pro-net neutrality “coalitions,” filing requests with the FCC to keep open Internet rules alive. With young adults between the ages of 18 and 29 boasting the highest percentage of Internet usage in the U.S., it’s no surprise that millennials are fighting to preserve net neutrality. The Kochs are clearly lobbying to protect their interests under the guise of youth outreach.

Uncles Dave and Chuck are going to have to try a lot harder to get the hang of youth outreach. It doesn’t look they are winning over the support of millennials anytime soon.

Koch brothers’ hypocrisy in misleading Hillary Clinton attack

Freedom Partners, a Koch brothers political front group, launched a new misleading attack ad against Hillary Clinton that’s dripping with hypocrisy over her support for the Export-Import Bank. The Koch brothers’ latest attempt to kill the Ex-Im Bank failed to mention that Koch Industries received up to $16 million in assistance.

The truth is the Ex-Im Bank’s mission is to protect American companies and give them a competitive edge abroad. For more than 80 years, it’s been a bipartisan program because it promotes American exports. Last year alone it supported 164,000 jobs here at home with no cost to taxpayers. But now the Kochs have trained their sights on ending the bank entirely.

In the end, the Koch brothers are hiding their potentially $16 million slice of the pie to hurt U.S. workers and our economy.

Koch Industries and Its Subsidiaries Received At most $16,205,823 In Assistance from The Export-Import Bank

Company Date Amount
Georgia-Pacific 5/17/2003 (prior to Koch ownership) $1,000,000-$5,000,000
Georgia-Pacific 2007-Present $3,796,039
John Zink 2007-Present $5,414,356
Koch Heat Transfer 2007-Present $995,428
Molex 1/13/2009 $0-1,000,000
Total Max Benefit Under Koch Control $16,205,823

[Export-Import Bank, Accessed 4/15/15]  * Note – Top number was calculated on anything with a range.

Georgia-Pacific

2003: Before GP Was Purchased by Koch Industries, Export-Import Bank Approved $1 To $5 Million In Financing For Texas Industries, Georgia-Pacific And Manufactures And Traders Trust Corporation To Export Construction Materials To Mexico. According to the summary of minutes of a meeting of the Board of Directors of the Export-Import Bank of the United States, “Item No. 1 Country: Mexico Policy No. MSM-254755 Request for: Policy (New) Policy Type: Single Sale/Multiple Shipments Coverage Type/Term: Comprehensive/MT Insured: Manufacturers and Traders Trust Corporation Buyer/Obligor: Agricola de Tampico, S.A. de C.V., Tampico, Mexico End User: Same Guarantors: Jose Chow Pangtay, Maria Antonieta del Campo de Chow, and Jose Benjamin Chow del Campo Exporter: Machinery & Parts Export Co., El Paso, TX 79925-2053 Suppliers: Texas Industries, Inc., Dallas, TX 75247-6913 Georgia-Pacific Corp., Atlanta, GA 30303-1808 Manufacturers and Traders Trust Corporation Broker: International Risk Consultants Products/Use: Building structure for fashion/entertainment center Ex-Im Bank Liability (Millions): $1 – $5 Credit Committee Decision: Approved[.]” [Export-Import Bank of the United States, 5/17/03]

Georgia-Pacific and Subsidiaries $3,796,039 In Insured Shipments, Guaranteed Credit, or Disbursed Loans In Georgia from Export-Import Bank Since 2007.  [Export Import Bank, Export Data, Accessed 6/29/14]

John Zink

John Zink Company Received $5,514,356 In Insured Shipments, Guaranteed Credit, or Disbursed Loans In Oklahoma from Export-Import Bank since 2007.  .  [Export Import Bank, Export Data, Accessed 4/15/15]

Koch Heat Transfer

Koch Heat Transfer Received $995,248 In Insured Shipments, Guaranteed Credit, or Disbursed Loans In Texas from Export-Import Bank Since 2007, for a Total Export Value of $1,230,090.  [Export Import Bank, Export Data, Accessed 6/29/14]

Molex

2009: Before Koch Purchased Molex,  Export-Import Bank Approved $0 To $1 Million In Loans For Molex Company Inc. To Export Mixed Amines, An Organic Chemical, To India. According to an Export-Import Bank of the United States summary of minutes of meeting of Credit Committee, “Item No. 1 Country: INDIA – Ex-Im Online Case #443304 Transaction Type: Issuing Bank Credit Limit (IBCL) / New ELC Policy #211888 Exporter: Molex Company, Inc. Products: Mixed amines (organic chemical) Ex-Im Bank Liability (Millions): $0 – $1 Credit Committee Decision: Approved.” [Export-Import Bank, 1/13/09]

Koch-Backed Group Wants You to Believe They Don’t Like Corporate Interests

In the latest episode of Koch hypocrisy, a Koch-backed group’s spokesperson blamed millennial’s unemployment on the government focusing on corporate interests rather than the economy. Take a minute to think about that: The kings of corporate interest are ridiculing someone else for having that perception.

In an interview with OneNewsNow, Generation Opportunity’s Corie Whalen Stephens said, “Both major parties tend to focus so much on corporate interests and spending taxpayer money on things like bailouts. We’d like to see some candidates who maybe have a more positive message focused on entrepreneurship and limited government.” Generation Opportunity is funded through Freedom Partners, which is commonly known as the Koch brothers’ secret bank.

OneNewsNow identifies the organization as a nonpartisan non-profit. While legally they can claim to be a 501(c)(4), don’t be fooled into believing they don’t have a partisan agenda. Remember those creepy anti-Affordable Care Act ads that came out back in 2013? That was Generation Opportunity.

This statement is just the latest attempt by the Kochs to muddy the waters; they hardly want young voters to realize the truth about corporate greed. In truth, they are eagerly funding candidates who are focused on one particular corporate interest– Koch Industries.

Speaking fluent Koch, Jeb Bush Backs Moving VA to Voucher System

While speaking at a Colorado Springs IHOP, Jeb Bush called for privatizing elements of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“This is where I think empowering people with the equivalent of a voucher that gives you the same economic benefit of receiving care inside of a clinic or a hospital,” he said. The likely presidential candidate has previously called for a system change saying he was “all in on the voucher thing.”

What a coincidence — the Kochs are all in on the voucher thing, too.

In February, Koch-funded organization Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) released a report calling for extreme policy changes including privatization and tougher enrollment standards. Under the CVA’s plan, one-fifth of future veterans would be ineligible for care.

These radical policies are widely unpopular with veterans groups like the American Legion and Paralyzed Veterans of America. That’s because they know what Jeb doesn’t: privatizing their care does nothing to “empower” our veterans.

If Jeb’s smart, he’ll check his facts before cashing in a Koch check. Jeb Bush is falling in line with the Kochs on veterans just like Marco RubioRand Paul, and many other Republicans.

78% of Latinos oppose Kochs’ move to block immigration reform

A new MSNBC/Telemundo/ Marist poll released today shows that 78 percent of Latinos approve of President Obama’s recent immigration moves.

It’s no surprise, then, that the Koch brothers would take the opposite position and fight the president’s executive order. The Koch-backed LIBRE Initiative — which purports to empower Latinos — has a long history of spurning Latinos with their backwards policies. In fact, earlier this month LIBRE Initiative President, Daniel Garza, testified that the group opposed the administration’s newly established policy. The LIBRE Initiative claims to support comprehensive immigration reform, but they have poured a large chunk of their war chest into campaigning against the very candidates who truly support comprehensive reform. The sad irony of the Koch Brothers’ efforts to mobilize Latino grassroots supporters for the GOP is that if the president’s executive actions are undone, it will result in millions facing deportation and a smaller voting pool.

In another twist, LIBRE spent $1.4 million this past election cycle taking on Democratic candidates Pete Gallego in Texas and Joe Garcia in Florida. LIBRE protested their support of the Affordable Care Act, despite the fact that 2.6 million Latinos ages 18-64 gained health insurance under the law. Once again, LIBRE is caught opposing policies that benefit Latinos.

LIBRE and the Koch brothers aren’t totally clueless. Daniel Garza said if the GOP continues to block immigration reform, it will be that much harder to convince Hispanic voters to vote Republican.

Free advice: the best approach is to stop taking positions that four of five Latinos oppose.

Promoting the Koch Agenda at the Expense of Hispanics

The Koch-funded LIBRE Initiative claims their mission is to advance liberty and freedom in the Hispanic community. The group is actually a shameless ploy to make inroads with a fast growing constituency in advance of the 2016 elections.

Just yesterday, the Houston Chronicle reported that the Center for Shared Services, a recruiting arm for Koch-backed organizations, posted openings for LIBRE Initiative jobs in Florida, Arizona, North Carolina, Colorado, and Virginia – states with that also happen to be heavily contested in the 2016 elections.

According to Conservative Transparency, Freedom Partners, the Koch money machine, donated $3.3 million in 2013. In addition, LIBRE has received large donations from other Koch-related groups.

While LIBRE wants you to think that they are empowering Hispanics, they are actually promoting the Koch agenda at the expense of Hispanics by campaigning for policies that would hurt the community. As UCLA political scientist Matt Barreto said, LIBRE is “definitely trying to get people to vote against their self-interests.”

LIBRE opposes the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which, according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, has helped to decrease the uninsured rate for working-age Hispanics from 36 to 23 percent; LIBRE opposes minimum wage increases, which would disproportionately help Hispanics; and LIBRE supports voter ID laws that disenfranchise Hispanic voters. LIBRE has also campaigned against candidates that support immigration reform due to their support of the Affordable Care Act.

The LIBRE agenda is indistinguishable from that of any other Koch-bankrolled group. They are just the latest Koch campaign to co-opt the GOP.

Koch Agenda’s Consequences for Kansas Students

Two Kansas school districts plan to end the academic year early to save money, citing financial pressures caused by Koch Brothers shill Governor Sam Brownback’s radical budget.

Kansas school districts are facing massive budget shortfalls after losing $51 million they were expected to receive for the current school year. Governor Brownback’s misguided revamp of the income tax code has given billionaires and businesses a tax break while slashing school spending. The new school funding plan scraps the previous formula for determining state aid and replaces it with block grants, which will give districts a fixed amount of money for the next two years while the Legislature develops a new formula.

Governor Brownback’s extreme legislation was copied right out of the Koch playbook. It’s hardly surprising given that the governor is advised by Koch crony Steve Anderson.

According to ThinkProgress, the consequences of spending cuts have been dire for Kansan students. “The result is that total schools funding has been basically flat in inflation-adjusted terms ever since Brownback took over, despite a larger portion of all public education spending coming from the state level in his tenure. And with the block-granting move this spring, Brownback essentially pulled the plug on the complicated funding formula that is supposed to ensure more-or-less equitable funding for educating kids in both rich and poor districts.”

As the economy continues to recover, other states have been able to reinvest increased tax revenues in K-12 education. But according to the Center for Policy and Budget Priorities, from 2008 to 2014, Kansas has cut per-pupil spending by $950. Things are only growing worse for Kansan students as the state Supreme Court ruled in January that the state’s funding for schools in unconstitutionally low.

The Kochs will scramble to protect their investment in Governor Brownback. But who will protect Kansans from the effects of the Koch agenda?

 

Republican Points to the Kochs’ Real Motives: “Prosperity for Yourself and Not Anyone Else”

One Republican, yes Republican, legislator in Florida is calling out the Kochs for trying to co-opt the Republican Party. Florida State Senator Nancy Detert (R-Venice) is exposing how the Koch brothers’ are manipulating their rubber-stamp legislators for their own self-serving agenda.

“You’re all on the Koch brothers’ payroll. Good for you. I’m glad you’re all employed … I hope you’re getting paid a lot of money to show up to these meetings and say meaningless things. Obviously you’re for prosperity for yourself and not anyone else … You people serve absolutely no purpose.”

The hearing was on a film incentive bill Detert sponsored in hopes of drawing more movie makers to the state. Since its introduction, Americans for Prosperity have gone after Detert, sending out mailers against the senator and testifying at hearings.

It seems Detert has heard enough of the Koch brothers’ propaganda. She’s realized what we’ve been saying for years: the Kochs’ actions aren’t motivated by their beliefs or morals– they’re motivated by their bottom line.

Paid for by American Bridge 21st Century Foundation