January 30, 2011 | Like this article? Join our email list: Stay up to date with the latest headlines via email.
David and Charles Koch, owners of the oil conglomerate Koch Industries, are among the most influential players in the conservative movement. The brothers have spent millions of dollars funding right-wing organizations, such as Americans for Prosperity and the Cato Institute, that rail against the government. Nonetheless, according to recent data, Koch-affiliated companies have received nearly $100 million in government contracts since 2000.
Last year, Koch Industries began employing New Media Strategies (NMS), an Internet PR firm that specializes in “word-of-mouth marketing” for major corporations including Coca-Cola, Burger King, AT&T, Dodge and Ford. It appears that, ever since the NMS contract was inked with Koch, an NMS employee began editing the Wikipedia page for “Charles Koch,” “David Koch,” “Political activities of the Koch family,” and “The Science of Success” (a book written by Charles). Under the moniker of “MBMAdmirer,” NMS employees edited Wikipedia articles to distance the Koch family from the Tea Party movement, to provide baseless comparisons between Koch and conspiracy theories surrounding George Soros, and to generally delete citations to liberal news outlets.
In an opinion piece published today responding to his critics, Koch Industries CEO Charles Koch promised to continue to finance anti-government, right-wing front groups. Charles writes that the “purpose of business is to efficiently convert resources into products and services that make people’s lives better.” But when it comes to Koch’s carcinogenic pollution and carbon emissions, the purpose of Koch’s political giving is to avoid any financial responsibility — no matter who gets hurt. Koch Industries has cornered the market in monetizing some of the most dirty industrial businesses. Koch imports oil from the Middle East, refines high-carbon Canadian crude, maintains coal-burning plants, owns one of the largest oil pipeline networks in America, runs environmentally hazardous lumber mills, produces toxic chemicals, and manufacturers fertilizer . The University of Masschusetts Amherst has scored Koch as among the top ten worst air polluters for its carcinogenic chemicals.
Elise Foley reports that the House Republicans, having eliminated biodegradable cups, have replaced them with styrofoam cups supplied by... you guessed it: Former Koch Industries executive George Wurtz owns WinCup, which supplies the styrofoam cups now littering the building following the House GOP's decision to phase out biodegradable cups from a Capitol lunchroom. House Republicans announced in January that they would end a program to place compostable cups, containers and utensils in the House-side mini-cafeteria, a direct shot at former Speaker Nancy Pelosi's "Green the Capitol" initiative, which did away with styrofoam cups in 2007.
This is priceless. Ian Murphy of Buffalo Beast (the site appears to be down at the moment, but twolf1 has posted both videos on MyFDL ) called up Gov. Scott Walker, posing as wealthy industrialist and campaign donor David Koch. They had a 20-minute chat. Here’s an excerpt: Koch: We’ll back you any way we can.
In an effort to do my small part to harm the extreme right-wing efforts of the Koch brothers, I will be henceforth doing my best to avoid purchasing any and all products from Koch Industries. If you are not familiar with them, they have been secretly funding various tea party efforts and have at least one Governor in their pocket . For those of you willing to join me in this effort, these are the brands to avoid: Here’s the list, if you can’t read the above picture: Please print out a few of the following flyer and spread the word: