iOS app Android app More

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors
Kert Davies

Kert Davies

GET UPDATES FROM Kert Davies

Keeping Up With King Koch

Posted: 05/12/11 05:59 PM ET

Greenpeace USA recently released an updated report on Koch Industries.

For those following the political wrangling of the now-infamous industrial billionaire Koch brothers, which has become increasingly hard not to follow, the last couple weeks have been a real whirlwind of activity.

The opinions of David Koch are being heavily broadcast when a year ago the public didn't know, nor did they care about the obscure billionaire's opinions. Now we see widespread coverage of his opinion on Donald Trump not being qualified for the presidency, and his blowhard statements about "hardcore socialist" President Obama's having a limited role in taking out Osama bin Laden. After a life of shy, Koch now thinks he's a kingmaker.

Despite his recent chattiness, David Koch won't discuss how many mansions he owns, ignoring the questions of Brave New Foundation after they released a video on the Kochs' numerous multi-million dollar estates.

The recent PR efforts of Koch Industries were also criticized this week, with Jack O'Dwyer of the renowned O'Dwyer's PR news service suggesting that the New York City Lincoln Center should remove David Koch's name from its building to avoid association with the billionaire ideologue. Slate magazine noted that attacking Jane Mayer after repeatedly refusing to participate in the New Yorker's fact-checking process was foolish. Mayer's article, Covert Operations, was a top contender for a National Magazine Award earlier this week, and Koch executive Mark Holden wasted no time in trying to dissuade the American Society of Magazine Editors from handing the award to Mayer.

Meanwhile, King Koch lost a fight. The company sued the Youth for Climate Truth, who anonymously punked Koch by creating a fake website and press release announcing the company would stop funding groups who peddle climate science denial.

The suit was thrown out this past week by a Utah federal judge. As the Utah controversy simmers down, things are heating up at Florida State University, which is being criticized for accepting $1.5 million from the Charles G. Koch Foundation to control the next two faculty hires in the school's economics department.

2011-05-12-Kochbanner.jpg

Greenpeace is continuing to shine light on the dirty deeds of Koch Industries through our newest report, Koch Industries: Still Fueling Climate Denial.

Greenpeace's new research updates our 2010 Koch Denial Machine report and recaps new information on the Kochtopus that has been revealed in the last year, not least the Kochs' previously-secret twice-annual gatherings of their rich and powerful allies to plot their strategy. In one of our three new case studies, we present a dossier showing that the media magnates invited to their summer 2010 meeting in Colorado have provided a convenient echo chamber for the Kochs' media network, thrown into overdrive as more people become aware of the Koch brothers and how they use their oil money.

Our next two case studies demonstrate how Koch's network of climate denier front groups have attacked state policies that were developed to curb climate change. One of these new case studies documents how the Kochtopus is currently attacking the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a multi-state effort in the Northeast to reduce climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions. Ironically, Koch Supply and Trading, a subsidiary of Koch Industries, has participated in RGGI carbon trading even as Americans for Prosperity protested the program.

Our third new case study offers a full overview of a similar multi-pronged attack on California's Global Warming Solutions Act, which took place during the 2010 election cycle when Koch financed ballot Proposition 23. This effort was supported by Koch-funded groups Americans for Prosperity and the Pacific Research Institute.

The Kochs have now given a total of $55.2 million since 1997 to 40 organizations that continue to deny the scientific consensus on global warming while attempting to slow or block policies to solve the climate crisis. $31.6 million of that total was spent between 2005 and 2009. Favorite Koch Foundation organizations like the Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation, the Mercatus Center and the Institute for Humane Studies continued to be top beneficiaries. Americans for Prosperity, a front group founded by David Koch, has now received over $5.6 million in documented donations from the Koch foundations.

Updated data for federal lobbying shows that Koch Industries' lobbying expenditures totaled over $49.5 million since 2006. In 2010, Koch Industries was the largest political spender of the entire energy sector, dumping $2,645,589 into political wrangling. Koch currently outspends heavyweights ExxonMobil, Southern Company, American Electric Power and Chevron. In addition, the Koch Brothers and their spouses directly contributed over $360,000 to federal politicians in 2010.

There's more. Plenty more. Visit our updated Koch Industries web page for the full deal.