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Koch Family Foundations
This is a guest post by Josh Nelson, the New Media Director at the Alliance for Climate Protection and its Repower America campaign.
Three weeks ago, we asked our members to nominate the worst corporate polluters of 2010. Our goal was to identify organizations that have hijacked our democracy, devastated our environment and denied the science of climate change — all while reaping massive profits. The response was overwhelming. In just a few days, more than 4,000 people submitted their nominations, many of which were passionate and articulate. The next week, we introduced the top four nominees: Koch Industries, the American Petroleum Institute, BP and Massey Energy. A few days and 13,000 votes later we had our winner: Koch Industries.
Now, you may have heard a thing or two about Koch Industries. Their role in funding climate change deniers is well documented. What you may not realize is that Koch intentionally flies beneath the radar. David Koch likes to joke that Koch Industries is the biggest company you’ve never heard of. They’re able to remain unknown because they hide behind shadowy front groups like Americans for Prosperity. Co-founded by David Koch, Americans for Prosperity funds advertising and public events designed to mislead Americans about climate change and energy policy.
David and Charles Koch, the billionaire brothers bankrolling the front groups behind the Tea Party and climate denial movement, have added another ‘cause’ to their philanthropic endeavors, donating $1 million to the Proposition 23 fight to kill California’s landmark 2006 climate change legislation.
Koch subsidiary Flint Hills Resources LP handled the laundry duties on this one, but the directive surely came from the heads of the Kochtopus empire - billionaires David and Charles Koch.
The Kochs have found themselves under an uncomfortable spotlight lately after a thorough investigation by The New Yorker revealed the brothers’ extensive funding of a network of groups that catapulted the ‘grassroots’ Tea Party into play, as well as their financial backing of a sprawling network of climate denier groups that makes even ExxonMobil blush.
The Los Angeles Times blog ‘Greenspace’ first reported Flint Hills Resources donation towards the Proposition 23 bill last night, noting that the effort was launched by two other oil industry players, Texas-based refinery companies Valero Energy and Tesoro Corp.
The New Yorker has published a must-read article exposing the long reach of the “Kochtopus” network set up by Koch Industries to fuel the Tea Party and fund the climate denial machine.
Written by investigative journalist Jane Mayer, the piece titled “Covert Operations: The billionaire brothers who are waging war against Obama” explores the decades-long efforts of brothers David and Charles Koch to manipulate and deceive the public on issues ranging from climate change to cancer-causing chemicals.
Koch Industries has done far more than even ExxonMobil to fund the climate denial machine in recent years, and media coverage about numerous Tea Party and GOP candidates who deny the science of climate change confirm that the Kochs’ reach has infected national politics in unprecedented ways.
The lengthy New Yorker article covers many interesting new angles about the Kochs’ influence-peddling empire, and adds to a growing body of research about Koch Industries’ anti-science, anti-democratic activities.
Building upon the research from Greenpeace’s excellent Koch report earlier this year, Jane Mayer expands on Koch’s role in funding climate deniers and anti-science think tanks, not to mention the Tea Party.
Head over to The New Yorker to read the slimy details.
An organization called “Americans for Prosperity” has been working overtime to fight government action on climate change and greenhouse gas reduction strategies. You might remember their State-by-State grassroots “Hot Air Tour”.
The Hot Air tour’s tagline was “Exposing the Ballooning Costs of Global Warming Hysteria.” More recently the AFP ran a $140,000 TV ad campaign in Viriginia promising to “expose the hypocrisy and outrageous economic costs of so-called global warming regulations, taxes, and green energy plans.”
So who’s behind the AFP? And why are they so bent on seeing further delay in government action on an issue that the top scientists at the nation’s best institutes are saying needs to be dealt with now?
Our research team at DeSmog has put together a briefing note on the AFP, their history and most importantly who funds them.
AFP, and its former incarnation the Citizens for a Sound Economy Foundation, are the third largest recipient of funding from the Koch Family of Foundations, which is run by the ultra-conservative oil baron Charles G. Koch. The Koch Family of Foundations has been a major funding source for many of the think tanks that are in the business of delaying action on climate change issues.
What follows is the information we’ve pulled together on the AFP and the Koch Family of Foundations.
You can find our permanent page on the AFP here: Americans for Prosperity - research and background information.