Tag Archives: Koch Industries

Media only mind when donors are conservatives

Today’s Washington Times carries an editorial that points out — as others have — the bias evident in the mainstream media treatment of Charles Koch, David Koch, and Koch Industries.

The major points made in this piece are:

  • The Koch brothers are accused of “self-dealing” because they believe in free enterprise. But economic freedom generates prosperity that is good for everyone, rich and poor.
  • George Soros, the Left’s favorite and prodigious donor made his money betting on economic failure.
  • The government funds many climate scientists who push global warming alarmism.
  • The MSNBC television network, which strongly supports the Obama administration and its big-government policies, has been owned by General Electric, one of the nation’s largest government contractors.

There’s more in the article.

Conflict-of-interest bugaboo

Media only mind when donors are conservatives
By Richard W. Rahn

What is the most corrupting institution in society? Quite simply, it is government, because it controls and distributes more money to more people and institutions than any other single entity and it has the power to coerce and punish or reward that dwarfs what any private party might be capable of doing.

Now that we are in the midst of the political season, we are constantly being warned by the establishment media about the dangers of businesses donating to political candidates either directly or indirectly. In recent weeks, there have been at least two major hits in the New Yorker and New York magazine on businessmen Charles and David Koch and their roles in supporting candidates who oppose the policies of President Obama and the Democrats, as well as for supporting free-market think tanks and grass-roots organizations. Yet, at the same time, the articles note that the brothers have given far more to cultural institutions and events than they have to their political causes. Through factual errors, exaggerations and insinuations, the Koch brothers are portrayed as a great danger to the “progressives.” Ah, if only it were more true.

Continue reading at The Washington Times

Does the White House have Koch Industries tax information?

In an episode that may be reminiscent of Richard Nixon and his use of government agencies to harass his opponents, the Obama administration has singled out a major American company and its tax returns for criticism. In the process, the Obama administration may have crossed a line, as did Nixon and his disgraced administration.

Here’s what The Weekly Standard is reporting today:

… a lawyer for Koch Industries now tells THE WEEKLY STANDARD that the administration may have crossed a line by revealing tax information about Koch Industries. According to Mark Holden, senior vice president and general counsel of Koch Industries, a senior Obama administration official told reporters at an August 27 on-the-record background briefing on corporate taxes:

So in this country we have partnerships, we have S corps, we have LLCs, we have a series of entities that do not pay corporate income tax. Some of which are really giant firms, you know Koch Industries is a multibillion dollar businesses.

The full article is at Koch Industries Lawyer to White House: How Did You Get Our Tax Information?

So far it’s not known whether this revelation about Koch Industries and its taxes is accurate, or whether the information was obtained improperly. John McCormack, the author of the article, raises these two questions: “Why won’t White House officials say if the quotation about Koch Industries is accurate — or even if a transcript of the briefing exists? And, if the quotation is accurate, why won’t they say how the White House obtained tax information on Koch Industries?”

Recently President Barack Obama criticized Americans for Prosperity. (AFP was founded by David H. Koch, who is executive vice president and a board member of Koch Industries. He is chairman of the board of directors of Americans for Prosperity Foundation.)

Criticism of AFP is fair — even if the president’s criticisms are baseless and unfounded — as AFP operates in the political arena. AFP is critical of President Obama’s policies, and it’s only natural that he would strike back.

But tax returns — both personal and corporate — are supposed to be confidential and not used for political purposes.

Update: The Weekly Standard reports that it was Austan Goolsbee who named Koch Industries. Goolsbee was just named Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers.

New Yorker article on Koch deconstructed, again

Today Elaine Lafferty contributes an interview with David Koch and helps to deconstruct the recent News Yorker magazine piece about him, his brother Charles Koch, and Koch Industries.

One of the most baseless claims made in the New Yorker article is that Charles and David Koch have sought to operate secretly. This charge has been made in other contexts, too. This article quotes David Koch’s assessment of this: “If what I and my brother believe in, and advocate for, is secret, it’s the worst covert operation in history.”

Lafferty also touches on a subject that needs more illumination: the political tone-deafness of those who describe Charles and David Koch as “Republican right-wingers.” One of the institutions associated with the Kochs is the Cato Institute. In describing its philosophy as “libertarianism” or “market liberalism,” the Cato website says: “It combines an appreciation for entrepreneurship, the market process, and lower taxes with strict respect for civil liberties and skepticism about the benefits of both the welfare state and foreign military adventurism.”

Any organization that believes, as Cato does, in opposition to the war in Iraq, ending the prohibition of drugs, and marriage equality, is far from what is usually deemed to be “right-wing” or even “conservative.” Many observers and commentators are not able to make these distinctions.

The article also addresses the issue of Koch Industries being a polluter, and explains David Koch’s advocacy for, and financial support of, cancer research.

David Koch Fires Back at the New Yorker

By Elaine Lafferty

David Koch is steaming.

“It’s hateful. It’s ludicrous. And it’s plain wrong.”

The object of his ire is a 9,963 word story in The New Yorker magazine, published last week which accuses David, his brother Charles, and Koch Industries of … well, just about everything: Secretly funding the Tea Party movement, secretly manipulating the Smithsonian, along with, not-so-secretly polluting the planet, stealing oil from Native American land, denying the existence of climate change, and promoting carcinogens — all in the self-interest of making further billions.

Continue reading at David Koch Fires Back at the New Yorker

Kochs and Soros, contrasted and compared

Daniel Fisher of Forbes Magazine weighs in again on mainstream media demonetization of Charles and David Koch for their support of organizations committed to economic freedom and liberty.

Here, Fisher compares and contrasts the Kochs to George Soros, the celebrated financier of many left-wing causes, and to a much greater extent than the Kochs:

“According to the most recent reports available, Soros has donated some $2 billion to his Open Society Institute, which pursues a wide variety of political initiatives around the world. Much of the money went to support pro-democracy activists and the like battling corrupt and oppressive regimes.” That sounds like a noble cause. Perhaps someday some might be used to combat the oppressive Obama regime here in America.

Here in the United States, however, Soros money flows to the same types of organizations and the same types of uses for which the political Left is vigorously attacking Charles and David Koch:

Here in the U.S., the institution has backed a profusion of community organization, “education” and get-out-the-vote groups that seem to have concentrated their activities in important swing states like Michigan and Ohio in the 2008 election year. No reports are available for 2010 but it’s a safe bet a similar amount flowed to organizations which, while not explicitly in favor of a specific candidate, support cherished causes of the Democratic Party and its financial supporters: non-judicial elections, municipal employee unions, universal healthcare.

One of the outfits that’s received a lot of Soros money over the years is the Center for American Progress, recipient of $1 million from Soros in 2008. CAP, a left-wing think tank that supports increasing government intervention and opposes economic freedom, may be of interest to those in the south-central Kansas fourth Congressional district as the former workplace of Democratic Party candidate Raj Goyle.

While Soros has made his contribution to CAP a matter of public knowledge, CAP does not disclose all its donors. CAP takes advantage of the same confidentiality provisions in the law that the political Left criticizes groups like Americans for Prosperity for using. But for some reason, we don’t see mainstream media references to this, and liberals seem blind to the parallels.

We also don’t see much reference to the way Soros earned his fortune. A hedge fund operator and speculator, Soros was actually convicted of insider trading. Yet the Left hammers on Koch Industries for providing energy that America has used to power its economic growth, and energy we will continue to need.

Soros Makes The Kochs Look Like Political Skinflints

By Daniel Fisher

Jane Mayer’s New Yorker profile of the Koch brothers paints a picture of a Wichita-based empire that stealthily reinvests its profits from oil refining and manufacturing into a constellation of vaguely menacing right-wing organizations. Leave aside the valid criticism that the Kochs have been anything but stealthy in their funding, which tends to undermine the title of the article, “Covert Operations.” Writers can always blame an editor for the headline.

What about the idea there’s something aberrational about the amount of money the Kochs are pouring into politics? According to Mayer, Charles and David Koch, personally and through foundations and political action committees, poured $250 million or so into charities, think-tanks and political campaigns between 1998 and 2008. Much of that went to groups like Lincoln Center that the average New Yorker reader could hardly consider a hotbed of constitution-in-exile, would-be McVeighs frothing at the idea of the Obama presidency.

Continue reading at Forbes

In Left’s attack on Koch Industries, facts sometimes don’t matter

Sometimes in politics hatred runs so deep that facts simply don’t matter.

We saw an example of this Wednesday in Overland Park, Kansas as a group of two “theatrical protesters” sought to inform attendees at an Americans for Prosperity rally about what they thought was the true nature of that organization.

Their argument, presented in a handout paid for by the Kansas Democratic Party and given to attendees, went like this:

First: “My friends at Americans for Prosperity can be a little shy — which is why they’ve outsourced the job of letting you know who they really are to me.”

This charge of outsourcing — made by two women theatrically dressed in sorcerer’s outfits: “out sourcerers,” get it? — is a common criticism of big business. Democrats often campaign on a pledge of eliminating tax breaks for American companies that outsource jobs overseas. Whether these jobs are created at the expense of American jobs is a matter of contention.

Then, the handout notes a fact that I think just about everyone knows by now and has never been hidden: “Americans for Prosperity was founded by billionaire CEO David Koch. [New York Times, 7/10/08]”

(Not to quibble too much here, but the New York Times article referenced describes David Koch’s position as “executive vice president and a board member of Koch Industries,” not CEO.)

Then comes the heart of the charge: that Koch Industries outsources American jobs to China: “One of Koch Industries’ key subsidiaries actually won an award for Outsourcing Excellence” after they shipped American jobs to China. [Freeborders Press Release, 6/1/06; http://www.invista.com/page_whois_shareholder_en.shtml]”

Earl Glynn of Kansas Watchdog looked into this matter and found out that the outsourcing took place before Koch Industries owned INVISTA, the company that did the outsourcing — and a small job it was at that. Below I quote at length from the article AFP Bus Stop in Overland Park Greeted by “Out-Sourcerers”. There’s video of the theatrical protestors in the Kansas Watchdiogarticle:

The “Out Sourcerers” also complained about the out sourcing of jobs by Koch Industries in their handout:

One of Koch Industries’ key subsidiaries actually won an award for “Outsourcing Excellence”; after they shipped American jobs to China. [Freeborders Press Release, 6/1/06; http://www.invista.com/page_whois_shareholder_en.shtml]

Google cache shows this online article from June 2006 about this “Outsourcing Excellence Award.” The description of the project for this award was “an interactive online sales platform for textile mills to market fabrics directly to garment vendors, brands and retailers anywhere in the world.”

Freeborders used its strategy of onshore project management in both Europe and the US, coupled with offshore development at its Shenzhen, China facilities to complete the project three weeks ahead of schedule. The new platform was launched in the US, Europe and Asia Pacific and over 700 brand and retail companies, registered in the first five weeks. The platform ultimately connected 600 textile manufacturers in 40 countries to over 1,000 brands and retailers worldwide.

An online article Lessons Learned From This Year’s Awards from Aug. 2006 describes the “outsourcing” that was used to “meet impossible deadlines” over an 8 week period to win the award:

INVISTA then hired Freeborders, a supplier that agreed to meet the demanding deadline by putting together teams in the US, Europe, and China who literally worked around the clock. With eight weeks left, the buyer asked Freeborders if it could deliver the library three weeks early so it could demonstrate the program at a trade show in Miami. And Freeborders did.

How many permanent jobs could have been involved in meeting “impossible deadlines” over an 8 week period?

But that’s not the whole story either:

  • In 2001, three years before INVISTA was acquired by Koch Industries, INVISTA’s former owner outsourced an IT project to a global consulting firm. Fewer than 20 of the consulting firm’s employees worked on the project. It was completed in 2001.
  • Five years later, that 2001 IT project was given an “outsourcing award” (in an award category titled “Best European collaboration” given that the project was initiated out of a European office of INVISTA’s former owner).

A DuPont press release from Nov. 2003 explained the sale of INVISTA by DuPont to subsidiaries of Koch. At that time INVISTA had 18,000 employees at 50 global manufacturing sites. The press release does not mention if any of the DuPont resources were in Wichita or Kansas.

The Out Sourcerers’ claims about Koch Industries outsourcing jobs from Wichita or Kansas is about politics, not jobs in Wichita or Kansas.

Koch Industries has 70,000 employees in 60 countries. The majority of the employees — more than 50,000 — are employed in North America with about 2,200 employees in Wichita.

Left’s double standard on Kochs and Soros

Evidence continues to mount that the political Left — most recently in the form of New Yorker magazine’s Jane Mayer and her criticism of Charles and David Koch — simply doesn’t understand liberty-based thinking and political positions. Following, Tim Carney of the Washington Examiner explains.

Some of Carney’s most important points:

  • Regulation is often used to increase barriers to entry to an industry, thereby increasing the value of existing companies. But the Kochs oppose heavy-handed regulation.
  • Many energy companies view greenhouse gas regulations as a way to increase profits. Not so for Koch Industries.
  • Economic freedom, which Charles and David Koch have advocated for many years, is good not only for business, but for everyone.

Left’s double standard on Kochs and Soros

By Timothy P. Carney

I was the main speaker of the night at a fancy dinner. The crowd included millionaire business owners and corporate executives. And the man who introduced me, and who had invited me to speak, was billionaire industrialist Charles Koch.

My topic was what it always is: the evils of corporate welfare and bailouts, and the destructive influence of the Big Business lobby in Washington. In my talk, I blasted “regulatory robber barons” and “subsidy sucklers.”

But if you follow the Left’s talking points, my talk was part of Koch’s “pro-corporate movement.”

Continue reading at the Washington Examiner

New Yorker’s Koch profile misses the point

There’s been much attention paid to a recent profile of Charles and David Koch that appeared in a recent edition of New Yorker magazine. It’s also been heavily criticized as biased and based on several false premises.

For example, the New Yorker article is critical of Charles and David Koch for funding organizations that are skeptical and questioning of the claims of global warming alarmists. A recent statement added to the Koch Industries website explains Koch’s position:

A free society and the scientific method require an open, honest airing of all sides, not demonizing and silencing those with whom you disagree. We’ve strived to encourage an intellectually honest debate on the scientific basis for claims of harm from greenhouse gases. Because it’s crucial to understand whether proposed initiatives to reduce greenhouse gases will achieve desired environmental goals and what effects they would likely have on the global economy, we have tried to help highlight the facts of the potential effectiveness and costs of policies proposed.

But the stance of the New Yorker article is that global warming is real, it is man made, and it is ruining the planet. Criticism of the Kochs on this matter makes sense only if you uncritically believe what the New Yorker and its left-wing readership believe.

Today, Daniel Fisher of Forbes Magazine takes a look at the New Yorker piece and finds that “lot of what she [author Jane Mayer] paints as nefarious activity is simple business sense.”

New Yorker’s Koch Profile Misses The Point

By Daniel Fisher

Jane Mayer’s much-discusssed New Yorker profile of the Koch brothers is a useful look at how money can buy an outsized voice in our democracy. But a lot of what she paints as nefarious activity is simple business sense. And anybody who’s spent time talking to Charles Koch, as I have, comes away with the conviction that with this man, business is personal and the personal is political. He’s the kind of guy who can fund the right-wing Cato Institute and hope that its mantra of lower taxes, inviolate property rights and personal responsibility will somehow reverse decades of increasing central-government power. (For the record, it hasn’t.)

For Midwestern entrepreneurs of his generation, there’s nothing wrong or even unusual about thinking the New Deal was a colossal mistake, and spending money in a futile effort to roll it back. Mayer quotes a purported friend of the Koch brothers saying they have “a distrust of the U.S. government, and seeing its expansion, beginning with the New Deal, as a tyrannical threat to freedom.” That’s straight out of Friedrick Hayek’s Road to Serfdom and while not to the taste of most New Yorker readers, barely qualifies as conservative compared to the Wisconsin farmers I encountered in my first newspaper job. They considered zoning to be the vanguard of the Communist revolution (I am not exaggerating).

Continue reading at Forbes.

Charles and David Koch, supporters of free markets and economic freedom

Economic freedom and market-based policies create the most opportunity and prosperity for everyone, including the poor and the environment, says Richard Fink, and that’s why Charles and David Koch of Wichita-based Koch Industries, Inc. support these principles and public policy organizations that work to advance them.

In the following article, Mark Tapscott of The Washington Examiner interviews Richard Fink, president of the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation and an executive vice president of Koch Industries, Inc.

In the article, Tapscott explains that economic freedom and free markets are not the same as big business. Fink explains the role of the Kochs in supporting institutions that promote economic freedom and free markets. He says that the tea party is a positive development of citizens concerned about government growth and spending, and that accusations that it is an “astroturf” movement controlled by corporate sponsorship is nonsense.

What if all businessmen were as dedicated to free markets as the Kochs?

By Mark Tapscott

Among the biggest obstacles to restoring American freedom and prosperity is the fact too many corporate executives are all too happy to play footsie with government bureaucrats, usually in an attempt to gain a competitive advantage over competitors.

Consumers — and taxpayers — are always the biggest losers when Big Government and Big Business get in bed together.

One result is that instead of having to put consumers first, the corporations put the bureaucrats first. Prices go up, the quality of service goes down, and not infrequently corruption eventually results (See Enron and cap-and-trade, for example).

But there are honest leaders in the corporate world who go a different way. Charles and David Koch of the Wichita-based Koch Industries are among the preeminent examples of such men and women.

They’ve built one of the world’s largest private corporations based on the principles of free markets and competition.

For more than 40 years, the Kochs have also been aggressive supporters of those principles in the public policy arena, a fact that always flusters critics of economic freedom.

Continue reading at The Washington Examiner.

Greenpeace climate change extremists are hot on the trail

Climate change — its reality (or not) and man’s response to it — is an important topic and deserves serious discussion. The actions of one of the most prominent and vocal groups promoting a radical global warming agenda, however, aren’t fostering greater understanding of the issue, much less an informed debate.

Last month’s attack on Koch Industries by Greenpeace used misleading information and exaggerated claims of uncovering purportedly “secret” information to advance its agenda.

As people become aware of the shaky foundation of the climate science promoted by groups like Greenpeace, we can expect more attacks like this recent report. Groups that promote an extremist view of climate science as does Greenpeace need to deflect attention from the facts. Personal attacks are one way to accomplish this.

Another example of this deflection using personal attacks, and one that does nothing to advance debate or discussion, came from Greenpeace yesterday. Greenpeace has labeled Charles and David Koch “climate criminals,” and has produced a video of an “investigator” sniffing around New York City trying to find David Koch. While productions like this can be amusing or funny — although this attempt fails in both regards — it does succeed in deflecting attention from the really important issues and facts.

Deflecting attention is one thing. Presenting false information is another matter, and far more serious. The video ends with an enactment of a crime scene of a dead polar bear, implying that man-made global warming is killing polar bears. The reality is just the opposite.

If Greenpeace was interested in facts rather than scoring quick and easy points through character assassination, it might note that Koch Industries has a good, and improving, environmental record. The Koch and the Environment page tells of Koch Industries’ commitment to the environment, and lists awards the company has received.

There are examples of specific, industry-leading improvements, too. At Flint Hills Resources, a Koch company engaged in oil refining and chemicals, refinery emissions have been reduced in recent years. The company ranks in the best ten companies in the industry, with emissions 85 percent less than that of companies in the bottom ten.

Facts like these don’t fit Greenpeace’s agenda, so we’re not likely to see them reported.

Left’s obsession with funding diverts attention from issues and its own funding

One of the duties of being a blogger on the left is constant disparaging of the source of funding or leadership of your opposition. All done, of course, while ignoring the painfully obvious problems with your own.

As an example, a recent Boston Globe column — its title is In glitzy shadows, a health reform foe lurks — makes claims that are false. Others are actually something to be proud of, not ashamed.

I don’t recommend you actually read the Globe piece. As one comment left to the article stated: “What an amazingly biased and unbalanced piece.” It’s not worth the time.

Instead, read the Examiner.com’s analysis at Boston Globe falsely claims Koch Industries astroturffed Obamacare protests.

At issue is the funding of Americans for Prosperity, which describes itself — accurately, I would say — as “an organization of grassroots leaders who engage citizens in the name of limited government and free markets on the local, state and federal levels.” Liberals and those in favor of big-taxing and big-spending government make continued charges that AFP is funded by “shadowy” interests — remember the Globe headline — that somehow manipulate ordinary Americans into coming to tea parties and engaging in other forms of political activism.

A key part of the Examiner.com analysis is a quote from a Koch Industries statement: “Not every issue focused on by AFP or AFP Foundation receives support from Koch Industries or a Koch foundation. For example, neither Koch companies, the Koch foundations, Charles Koch or David Koch have contributed funds to AFP’s and AFP Foundation’s efforts on the health care issue, which have included town-hall meetings and citizen rallies around the country.”

As to the totality of AFP funding, a statement that I received a few months ago from Missy Cohlmia, Director of Communications for Koch Companies Public Sector, LLC indicates that David Koch’s contributions to AFP are a relatively small portion of its total budget: “Less than 5 percent of the funding AFP or the AFP Foundation has received in 2009 has been contributed by David Koch, Koch Industries, or Koch foundations.”

Cohlmia also told me about the relationship between Fred Koch and the John Birch Society, which is another favorite talking point of the Left: “Fred Koch, who died in 1967, was a supporter, not a founder, of the John Birch Society in the 1950s. His anti-communist sentiment stemmed from time he spent in the Soviet Union between 1929 and 1932 when his engineering company designed and built oil cracking units to be erected in refineries in the U.S.S.R.”

Charles Koch’s recent book The Science of Success contains this about his father’s experience in Stalin’s Russia:

Fred found the Soviet Union to be “a land of hunger, misery and terror.” Virtually all the Soviet engineers he worked with were purged by Stalin, who exterminated tens of millions of his own people.

This experience, combined with what his Communist associates told him of their methods and plans for world revolution, caused Fred Koch to become a staunch anti-communist.

It reminds me of Ronald Reagan’s quip about an anti-communist being someone who has read Marx and Lenin and understands them. Or, in the case of Fred Koch, someone who actually saw the problems with communism through direct experience.

Additionally, David Koch is very interested in health care. Some details of his contributions to medical and cancer research, and also to education and science are detailed at David H. Koch Charitable Foundation and Personal Philanthropy.

Another source of information about David Koch, his background, and his charitable giving is from The Chronicle of Philanthropy.

In a way, I can understand leftists’ continued harping on these factors. It’s easier for them to focus on the personalities and the source of funding and leadership than on the actual issues. For example, even the headline of the Globe piece — alluding that opposing health care reform is evil — assumes that what the liberals are working through Congress is actual reform: “changes and improvements to a law, social system, or institution.” Many thoughtful people strongly disagree that the Obama plan will improve America’s health care system.

Besides, when you talk about personalities, there are few worse than George Soros, funder of many leftist causes and institutions. A speculator — one of the most evil of all players in the liberal world view — and not just any speculator — a currency speculator — Soros was actually convicted of insider trading.

Yet, the Left welcomes his millions in funding for all sorts of causes opposed to free markets and economic freedom. In fact, the author of the Globe piece is an employee of the Center for American Progress, one of several organizations funded by Soros.