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Video Disputes Billionaire Koch's Claim that he is not involved in Tea Party

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A video clip has been released today showing billionaire industrialist David Koch on stage getting reports from regional organizers on their efforts to rally the Tea Party movement.

David Koch, who has received a lot of attention lately for the millions he has spent over the years boosting right-wing organizations like Americans for Prosperity, has tried on numerous occasions to distance himself from the supposedly "grassroots" Tea Party phenomenon.

Case in point, David Koch told New York magazine this summer in an interview that:

"I've never been to a tea-party event. No one representing the tea party has ever even approached me."

The clip released today, taken from a new documentary called (Astro) Turf Wars: How Corporate America Faked a Grassroots Revolution, clearly shows David Koch receiving reports from regional Tea Party organizers:

In another attempt to distance Koch from the Tea Party, earlier this year I received an email from a representative from Koch Industries stating that,

"Because you have covered tea parties in the past and we imagine you will cover tomorrow's Tax Day Tea Party in DC, we want to reiterate some important facts.

"Koch companies value free speech and believe it is good to have more Americans engaged in key policy issues. That said, Koch companies, the Koch foundations, Charles Koch and David Koch have no ties to and have never given money to FreedomWorks. In addition, no funding has been provided by Koch companies, the Koch foundations, Charles Koch or David Koch specifically to support the tea parties.

Thanks for your consideration." [my emphasis]

The video released today shows organizers reporting to David Koch on their success on organizing one of the "largest tea parties in the country" on Tea Party Tax Day.

As Suzanne Goldenberg, who broke this story in the Guardian today writes:

"It [the Tea Party] likes to present itself as a grassroots insurgency made up of hundreds of local groups intent on toppling the Washington elite.

But the Tea Party movement, which is threatening to cause an upset in next month's midterm elections, would not be where it is today without the backing of that most traditional of US political supporters -- Big Oil."

The filmmaker behind the (Astro) Turf Wars documentary, Taki Oldham, told the Gaurdian that:

"This is a world of shadows. In my mind, without a doubt nobody has had more influence on the anti-Obama campaign than the Koch-funded groups."

David Koch, along with his brother Charles Koch, are listed by Forbes as the 5th and 6th most wealthy billionaires in America, and run the privately-held corporation, Koch Industries which is considered the largest private energy company in America. Through their foundations they have invested millions in organizations that have fought health care reform and proposals to reduce industrial pollution and cap greenhouse gases.

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