Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Koch Industries War on Industry Oversight and Environmental Regulation

The Koch brothers are putting their immense resources to work in a clandestine push to realize their libertarian agenda. David Koch and his brother Charles are some of America's wealthiest people and Koch Industries is the second-largest private company in the country, earning approximately 100 billion per year.

This considerable fortune is being put to work to help the Kochs realize an agenda that includes abolishing taxes, eradicating social services, eliminating industry oversight and putting an end to environmental regulation.

It is no surprise that a company that does as much harm to the environment as the Kochs would want to avoid environmental regulation. Their criminal liability in the commission of a spate of environmental crimes dates back over 20 years. A 2010 study by the University of Massachusetts at Amherst’s Political Economy Research Institute named Koch Industries one of the top ten air polluters in the US. They are also one of the leading proponents of climate science denial.

The Koch brothers are funding Republicans and a wide range of organizations that fight legislation related to climate change. They are underwriters for a powerful network of foundations, think tanks, and political front groups. Some influential illustrations include the Institute for Justice which files lawsuits opposing regulation; the Institute for Humane Studies which publishes conservative position papers; and the Bill of Rights Institute, an organizations that promotes a conservative interpretation of the Constitution.

Charles Lewis, the founder of the Center for Public Integrity, a nonpartisan watchdog group, said, “The Kochs are on a whole different level. There’s no one else who has spent this much money. The sheer dimension of it is what sets them apart. They have a pattern of lawbreaking, political manipulation, and obfuscation. I’ve been in Washington since Watergate, and I’ve never seen anything like it. They are the Standard Oil of our times.”

Koch money can be found wherever there is organized opposition to Obama, even in "grassroots" organizations like the Tea Party. The Kochs are using all the instruments at their disposal to control policy and advance their corporate interests.

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