Some Unsettling Facts About the Koch Brothers

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A couple months ago I wrote a long, scathing piece on David and Charles Koch that I had planned to publish, but now it seems almost unnecessary. More and more people are learning about the Koch brothers and their evil oil empire in the 112th Congress.

The Koch name made national headlines when a blogger claiming to be David Koch prank-called Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and got him to admit to some pretty heavy stuff on tape. In an effort to please the man he thought was David Koch, Walker admited to laying-off thousands of state workers as a tactic to coerce Wisconsin Democrats into cooperating on the issue of collective bargaining and thanks the phony “Koch” for all his continued support.

So just who are the Koch brothers? What do they do? What is their political influence in Washington? Why are they all of a sudden so important? Why should you care?

Just type “Koch Brothers” into Google and you’ll find a whole wealth of information about these brothers, their questionable past, and their egregious political aspirations for the future. They are not politicians or political ideologues – the Kochs are self-serving aristocrats who have bought legislators on Capitol Hill and have been ghostwriting policies in the 112th Congress to help expand their company’s oil interests through deregulation.

Here’s just a couple key things you should know about these brothers first:

  • Over the past year the Koch fortune has been spent funding the Tea Party and Congressional candidates in the 2010 elections. As a result, David and Charles Koch are now the puppeteers of Capitol Hill -controlling and financing many of the House and Senate majority Republicans.
  • The brothers’ net worth is estimated around $43 billion, and they’ve spent roughly $324 million exerting their considerable influence in Washington and in the media.
  • Koch Industries donated almost $300,000 to 22 of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s 31 Republicans and got 12 of those members sign a pledge put out by the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity  (API) organization, saying they would oppose efforts to regulate greenhouse gasses.
  • Much of this money is spend funding Right Wing Front Groups, which infiltrate the media and public opinion with campaigns of misinformation. There are over 3-dozen organizations funded by the Koch Industries (see chart below)
  • Koch Industries and the Koch brothers have been linked to multiple disturbing endeavors and entanglements.
  • The oil business and its environmental impacts: the Koch’s made the majority of their vast wealth in the oil industry, and as a result were required in 2000 by the U.S. government to pay the largest fine ever imposed on a company ($30 million) for more than 300 oil spills their refineries had been responsible for.
  • Workers rights: the Koch brothers spent more than $34 million on supporting efforts to sabotage and weaken union organization and fighting against public sector pay raises for state and union workers.
  • Also linked to legislative efforts supporting anti-immigration law, enormous mass media smear campaigns against healthcare reform and research reports supporting the continuation of foreclosures on working people’s homes.

Here’s one final thought: the Koch brothers funded much of the Tea Party efforts to label Obama as a Communist, terrorist, and radical. Yet their father - Fred Koch - made the family fortune working in refineries, training Communist engineers, and laying down the foundation of Bolshevik oil infrastructure in the Soviet Union in the 1920s and 1930s under Stalin’s first Five Year Plan. That means the most influential donors, industry sponsors, and research institutions responsible for funding the Tea Party McCarthyism, are actually the ones of Communist descent.

The more people know about these brothers, the weaker their power over our country’s legislative and judicial authorities becomes. I encourage everyone to learn as much as they can about the extreme financial influence Koch Industries holds over the United States Government, and to share that information with as many people as possible.