In 2014, Koch Industries was “the top spender for oil and gas lobbying,” mounting a $13.7 million-effort to protect Charles and David Koch’s business interests.
Now, several Koch groups are being subpoenaed as part of an investigation into “whether Exxon committed consumer and securities fraud stemming from the company’s challenging of the catastrophic climate change narrative.”
Americans For Prosperity, the Beacon Hill Institute, the Mercatus Center, and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), are rightfully being included in the investigation, because the truth is that Koch groups, especially ALEC, do, in fact, promote anti-science climate change denial: all told, the Kochs have “spent over $88 million” to run a misinformation campaign against the science of climate change and relevant policies, according to Greenpeace.
In fact,Koch groups are currently running a high-profile PR campaign on behalf of Exxon. Koch funded organizations last month pooled resources to drop $21 million on a full-page New York Times ad defending “ExxonMobil’s longstanding efforts to ruing the public’s understanding of climate change science.” In the ad, the Kochs laughable characterize their protection of climate change-denial a matter of defending the First Amendment.
Charles Koch has called himself a “man of science” but the groups he funds advance climate change-denial propaganda and he himself understates the problem, claiming, “[T]he evidence is overwhelming that [the climate’s] changing in a mild and manageable way.”
Koch is synonymous with the selfish prioritization of profits margins above all else and the brothers’ misinformation campaign against the scientific consensus of climate changes proves it.
Exxon/Koch Climate Denial Investigation
Exxon Mobil And The Koch Brothers Unified Their Climate Change Denial Message
Proceedings Of The National Academy Of Sciences: Exxon Mobil And The Koch Brothers Began To Unify Their Messages To Promote Climate Change Denial In 2007.According to the Huffington Post, “The study, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, reviewed 20 years of data starting in 1993 to show that climate change-denying groups and individuals who received money from Exxon Mobil and the Koch brothers began to unify their messages in 2007, amplifying supposed uncertainty surrounding the issue.” [Huffington Post, 11/24/15]
Exxon Is Being Investigated For Hiding The Impact Of Climate Change From The Public
State Attorneys General Have Been Investigating Exxon Mobil On “Whether The Energy Company’s Research About Climate Change Conflicted Directly With Its Public Statements On The Issue.” According to the New York Times, “Since last November, a growing number of state attorneys general have been pointing their fingers at Exxon Mobil, investigating whether the energy company’s research about climate change conflicted directly with its public statements on the issue.” [New York Times, 5/19/16]
- Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude Earl Walker And His Counterpart From Massachusetts Joined TheInvestigation Into Whether Exxon Misled Investors And The Public About The Threat Of Climate Change And Sent Subpoenas To Exxon. According to U.S. News & World Report, “Two weeks ago, Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude Earl Walker and his counterpart from Massachusetts announced they would join New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s investigation into whether Exxon misled investors and the public about the threat of climate change. Walker’s office sent subpoenas to Exxon and a pro-fossil fuel think tank.” [U.S. News & World Report, 4/14/16]
Koch Front Groups Were Subpoenaed As Part Of The Exxon Investigation
Americans For Prosperity, The American Legislative Exchange Council, The Beacon Hill Institute, And The Mercatus Center Were Subpoenaed
Koch Groups Including The American Enterprise Institute, Americans For Prosperity, The American Legislative Exchange Council, The American Petroleum Institute, The Beacon Hill Institute At Suffolk University, The Heartland Institute And The Mercatus Center Were Named In A Subpoena In The Investigation That Exxon Committed Consumer And Securities Fraud Stemming From Challenging Climate Change. According to the Washington Times, “The investigation centers on whether Exxon committed consumer and securities fraud stemming from the company’s challenging of the catastrophic climate change narrative. […] The other organizations named in the Massachusetts subpoena are the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty, the American Enterprise Institute, Americans for Prosperity, the American Legislative Exchange Council, the American Petroleum Institute, the Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University, the George C. Marshall Institute, The Heartland Institute and the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.” [Washington Times, 6/15/16]
The Competitive Enterprise Institute And The Cato Institute Were Also Subpoenaed
The Attorney General Of The U.S. Virgin Islands Named The Competitive Enterprise Institute, Heritage Foundation, The Cato Institute, The Heartland Institute, The Manhattan Institute, And Others In Their Exxon Subpoena. According to the Competitive Enterprise Institute, “On May 3, 2016, The Washington Times reported on an unredacted version of the subpoena of Exxon Mobil from U.S. Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude Walker. The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) received a related subpoena from AG Walker on April 7, 2016. The paper reports, ‘The Exxon Mobil subpoena seeks communications with a veritable who’s who of conservative and free-market organizations, including the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute, the Committee for a ConstructiveTomorrow, the Heartland Institute, the National Taxpayers Union Foundation, the Manhattan Institute, FreedomWorks and the Media Research Center. The subpoena also lists pro-business groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, the National Black Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. Oil and Gas Association.’” [Competitive Enterprise Institute, 5/3/16]
The Competitive Enterprise Institute And Other Koch Groups Vehemently Opposed To The Investigation
CEI Placed A Full Page Advertisement In The New York Times Criticizing The Investigation; The Advertisement Was An Open Letter Signed By Groups Such As AFP
The Competitive Enterprise Institute Placed A Full Page Color Advertisement— An Open Letter With 43 Signers, Including AFP— In The New York Times. According to the Competitive Enterprise Institute, “Today the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) placed a full page color advertisement in The New York Times defending every American’s right to free speech. The advertisement, which is an open letter from 43 signers–organizations, legal experts, and individuals—is a response to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, U.S. Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude Walker, and a coalition of other ‘AGs United for Clean Power’ investigating more than 100 businesses, nonprofits, and private individuals who question their positions on climate change.” Signers included AFP president Tim Phillips, . [Competitive Enterprise Institute, 5/18/16]
- CEI Ad: The “AGs United For Clean Power” Coalition’s Investigation Of Groups And Individuals “Who Question Their Positions On Climate Change” Was An Unacceptable Abuse Of Power Which Was Unlawful And Un-American. According to a document on the Competitive Enterprise Institute website, “The right to speak out is among the most fundamental principles of American democracy. It should never be taken away. Yet, around the country, a group of state attorneys general have launched a misguided effort to silence the views and voices of those who disagree with them. Recently, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, U.S. Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude Walker, and a coalition of other ‘AGs United for Clean Power’ announced an investigation of more than 100 businesses, nonprofits, and private individuals who question their positions on climate change. This abuse of power is unacceptable. It is unlawful. And it is un-American.’ Signers included AFP president Tim Phillips. [Competitive Enterprise Institute, 5/17/16]
The Koch Network Spent $21 Million On Groups That Bought A Full-Page Advertisement In The New York Times
Greenpeace Reported That The Koch Network Spent $21 Million On Groups That Bought A Full-Page Advertisement In The New York Times In May 2016 Defending ExxonMobil In Light Of Government Investigations Into Their “Misrepresentation Of Climate Science.” According to an opinion by Greenpeace researcher Connor Gibson for Greenpeace, “The Kochs have spent over $88 million in *traceable* funding to groups attacking climate change science, policy and regulation. Of that total, $21 million went to groups that recently bought a full page New York Times advertisement defending ExxonMobil from government investigations into its systematic misrepresentation of climate science. […] The signatories of this New York Times ad from May 2016, defending ExxonMobil from investigations into its climate denial campaigns, have received a total of $10 million from Exxon and $21 million from Koch foundations.” [Connor Gibson – Greenpeace, 6/21/16]
- Koch-Funded Groups That Signed The NYT Advertisement Defending ExxonMobil Included ALEC, AFP, CEI, FREE, Fraser Institute, Heartland Institute, Heritage Foundation, Independent Women’s Forum, Institute For Energy Research, State Policy Network, And Texas Public Policy Foundation. According to an opinion by Greenpeace researcher Connor Gibson for Greenpeace, “Koch-funded signatories of 2016 CEI ad in New York Times $21,032,947[;] American Council on Science and Health $155,000[;] American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) $1,396,487[;] Americans for Prosperity Foundation (AFP) $6,000,939[;] Buckeye Institute $38.271[;] Capital Research Center $684,800[;] Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change (CO2 Science) $85,000[;] Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow(CFACT) $5,376[;] Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) $609,723[;] Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment (FREE) $1,525,000[;] Fraser Institute (via Ross McKitrick, Senior Fellow) $1,065,500[;] Frontiers of Freedom (FF) $250,000[;] George C. Marshall Institute (via William Happer, board member since 2002) $495,000[;] Heartland Institute $55,000[;] Heritage Foundation $5,712,845[;] Illinois Policy Institute $60,516[;] Independent Women’s Forum (IWF) $844,115[;] Institute for Energy Research (IER) $275,628[;] Mackinac Center $84,151[;] National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) $694,674[;] State Policy Network $83,423[;] Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF) $911,499” [Connor Gibson – Greenpeace, 6/21/16]
The LIBRE INITIATIVE AND The Cato Institute Also Came To The Defense Of Climate Change Deniers
LIBRE Initiative Executive Director Daniel Garza Tweeted That Massachusetts Attorney General Was “Abusing State Power” And “Abridging The Free Speech Rights” Of Center For Industrial Progress Founder Alex Epstein By Including Him In An Investigation Into Climate Denial Organizations. According to a tweet by LIBRE Initiative executive director Daniel Garza, “Massachusetts Att General Maura Healey is abusing State power and abridging the free speech rights of @AlexEpstein. #StepOff #ThoughtPolice” According to the Washington Times, “Mr. Epstein is a proud fossil fuel advocate, a believer that the benefits from cheap, reliable energy are more than offset by any still-under-debate problems from rising carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. […] For this, he finds himself on the prosecutor’s radar. His advocacy group, the Center for Industrial Progress, was named in an April 19 subpoena issued by Ms. Healey’s office demanding 40 years of communications between ExxonMobil and a dozen free market groups and universities.” [Daniel Garza – Twitter, 6/15/16; Washington Times, 6/15/16]
Cato Institute Director Of The Center For Educational Freedom Neal McCluskey: “Aren’t There Some Actual Crimes” Democratic Attorney Generals Could Prosecute Instead Of Mounting “Big Tobacco-Style” Probes Of Oil Companies? According to a tweet by Cato Institute Director of the Center for Educational Freedom Neal McCluskey referring to a Fox News article on Democratic Attorney Generals “mounting Big Tobacco-style” investigations into oil companies, “Aren’t there some actual crimes these guys could prosecute?foxnews.com/politics/2016/…” [Neal McCluskey – Twitter, 4/12/16]