The Worst Week In Koch PR History

January 22, 2016

From having to send corporate memos confirming Koch Industries’ foundation in Nazi Germany — and having new revelations surface that contradict their push back — to the leader of one of their major front groups mysteriously “transitioning” at the beginning of 2016 — it was arguably the worst week in Koch PR history:

Jane Mayer’s book Dark Money came out this week and is full of  previously unreported information about the Kochs’ family and business history, political network, and self-enriching agenda. Dark Money reinforces the argument that for the Kochs, politics is about money – their money –no matter who it hurts.

Washington Post: The Koch brothers’ impact on the American political system
NY Times: Review: Jane Mayer’s ‘Dark Money,’ About the Koch Brothers’ Fortune and Influence
Democracy Now: Dark Money: Jane Mayer on How the Koch Bros. & Billionaire Allies Funded the Rise of the Far Right
MSNBC: Chris Hayes: Jane Mayer’s Dark Money
Bloomberg: With All Due Respect: Koch Is It! 
NPR: Morning Edition: Mayer: ‘Dark Money’: Koch Brothers’ Donations Push Their Political Agenda
HuffPo Live: ‘Dark Money’ Author Jane Mayer
NPR: Fresh Air: ‘Hidden History’ Of Koch Brothers Traces Their Childhood And Political Rise

A shocking, suppressed chapter in Koch family history was brought to light last week: Charles and David’s father, Fred Koch, helped build the “third-largest oil refinery in the Third Reich, a critical industrial cog in Hitler’s war machine” — a facility that Adolf Hitler personally approved. But while the Kochs tried to pushback, their nondenial quickly crumbled: So crucial was the Koch-built “cracking unit” to the Nazi war effort, that the facility — described as “a key component of the Nazi war machine” — was bombed by Allied forces during World War II, according to declassified documents. And “crucial” is not an overstatement. The facility was so essential to the Nazi’s military efforts that they rebuilt it after the bombing — with “Jewish slave labor from concentration camps.”

Gawker: Declassified Documents: U.S. Military Bombed the Nazi Germany Oil Refinery That Fred Koch Helped Build
Huffington Post: Concentration Camp Inmates Had To Rebuild A Nazi Refinery The Koch Brothers’ Dad Helped Construct
MSNBC Rachel Maddow:  Fred Koch Built A Nazi Oil Refinery Personally Greenlighted By Hitler
WGN: Koch Patriarch Helped Construct A Nazi Oil Refinery
Vanity Fair: The Koch Brothers’ Father May Have Built an Oil Refinery for the Nazis
TIME: Executive Disputes Role of Koch Brothers’ Father in Nazi Oil Refinery
Times of Israel: Koch Industries: Book misrepresents founder’s work on Nazi oil refinery

The Kochs’ effort  to launch “the best image overhaul that their money can buy” was also unmasked this week. While Koch Industries didn’t spend anything on national advertising prior to 2014, the Kochs have spent nearly $30 million on their national ad campaign in the last two years to repackage their self-enriching agenda. 

The New Yorker: New Koch

Gawker: How Sincere Is the Koch Brothers’ Commitment to Criminal Justice Reform?

As more details of Dark Money came out, it was revealed that  Charles Koch used the racist and anti-Semitic John Birch Society, which Fred Koch was a founding member of and he and David Koch were members of, as a model for his vast political network that has overtaken the GOP today. 

POLITICO: The Secrets of Charles Koch’s Political Ascent

The face of the Kochs’ veterans front-group mysteriously “transitioned” at the beginning of an election year. 

Military Times: Conservative-backed veterans group restructures after leader quits

Echoing reports in recent weeks, more details continue to emerge of how the Koch network is over taking the Republican Party — which should worry the GOP.  

POLITICO: Cartoon: The Koch Political Empire

BuzzFeed: Koch-Backed Americans For Prosperity Invests In Red States To Take On GOP

A “win for fossils, loss for fossil fuel baron:” after facing months of calls from scientists and climate groups to step down, climate change denier left the American Museum of Natural History. 

NY Times: David H. Koch Leaves Natural History Museum Board

New York Magazine: Climate Denier David H. Koch Leaves American Museum of Natural History’s Board

Oops: The Koch PR time got caught (and called out) using a find + replace PR strategy, which didn’t go over well with publishers. 

Gawker: Koch Industries Has a Very Special Personalized Message for [INSERT STATE NAME HERE]

Portland Press Herald: Editorial: Our View: Disturbing national political trend led to our error

After the last big piece Jane Mayer wrote on the Kochs, the Kochs hired “assigned six or so operatives” to “dig up dirt on her.”

Mother Jones: How the Kochtopus Went After a Reporter

And finally, BOLO for the latest addition to the Koch network that surfaced this week — Freedom Partners Institute. 

CREW: Introducing the Newest Koch Network Group: Freedom Partners Institute, Inc. 

Paid for by American Bridge 21st Century Foundation