Koch Industries - The Power behind the ThroneSubmitted by SirThinksAlot on Sat, 08/29/2009 - 15:45
For those of you who express puzzlement and frustration at the shape of politics today, let me be of assistance.
Koch Industries, who's donation tenticles serves to influence Democrat, Republican, and Libertarian politics in order to protect it's strategic economic position in the world economy, is exposed here by SourceWatch. Highlights:
Koch Industries, (pronounced "coke"), is the largest privately owned company in the United States
The company was started in 1927 by Fred Koch, a charter member of the John Birch Society, with an oil delivery business in Texas. Though diversified, the company amassed most of its fortune in the oil trading and refining.
Sons Charles G. Koch and David H. Koch run the company as well as Koch Family Foundations, one of the largest single sources of funding for conservative organizations in the United States. Organizations and think tanks supported by the foundation include Citizens for a Sound Economy, the libertarian Cato Institute, Reason Magazine, the Manhattan Institute, the Heartland Institute, and the Democratic Leadership Council. David H. Koch ran for president on the Libertarian Party ticket in 1980. Koch money flows thorugh Triad Management Services, an advisory service to conservative donors groups and candidates.
Charles G. Koch co-founded the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank based in Washington DC, with Edward H. Crane in 1977.  Recently, Koch Industries has become an aggressive opponent of climate legislation and a major funder of climate skeptics, including the Cato Institute.
During the 1990s, its faulty pipelines were responsible for more than 300 oil spills in five states, prompting a landmark penalty of $35 million from the Environmental Protection Agency. If convicted (on pollution charges), the company faced fines of up to $352 million, plus possible jail time for company executives. After George W. Bush became president, however, the U.S. Justice Department dropped 88 of the charges. Two days before the trial, John Ashcroft settled for a plea bargain, in which Koch pled guilty to falsifying documents. All major charges were dropped, and Koch and Ashcroft settled the lawsuit for a fraction of that amount.
The company spent $3,528,750 for lobbying in 2006. $820,000 was to outside lobbying firms with the remainder being spent using in-house lobbyists.
Koch Industries is the single largest oil company contributor to both Republican and Democratic candidates for Congress.
Koch Industries influences the climate change topic through such mouthpieces as C-Span
These opinions were echoed on MSNBC, C-SPAN, PBS’s NewsHour With Jim Lehrer, and elsewhere by representatives from the libertarian Cato Institute. Cato "experts" are working hard to pound home a variety of anti-environmental points. They have argued that the global ban on chlorofluoro-carbons–the chemicals that destroy stratospheric ozone–is a case of science being "distorted, even subverted." They’ve suggested that concerns over lead paint, asbestos, radon, and similar in-home poisons amount to "hysteria." And they’ve maintained that federally funded research at Harvard and other universities–used, for example, in the regulation of air pollution–"has frequently been tainted by poor methodology . . . and even borderline cases of fraud."
Fashioning themselves after the very university research centers they deplore (or old-style "think tanks" that are only a step removed from universities), these groups have neither the neutrality nor the expertise of their academic counterparts. They are simply self-described as "libertarian" or "market liberals," as if this explains why their conclusions differ so sharply from those of academic or government researchers. No mention is made of the corporate money that is lavished on them–or the corporate agenda, which is, at heart, their raison d’être.
Indeed, if the voices denying the existence of global warming or decrying tighter fuel-economy standards were obviously those of the oil, coal, auto, and similar industries, the messages would be seen for what they are–half-truths at best, and outright lies at worst–and ignored. But when the voices appear to be those of disinterested, public-spirited organizations advocating "economic freedom" or "sound science," the messages are often accepted uncritically by journalists–and then by the public at large.