Monday, October 25, 2010

The Kochs' Tea Party Republicans and Climate Change Denial

Koch Industries has donated generously to the campaigns of Republican hopefuls in the midterm elections. However, the Koch brothers have a much more ambitious agenda than simply electing candidates who deny climate change.

Koch Industries is an American-based energy and manufacturing conglomerate run by the libertarian billionaires Charles and David Koch. Through a secretive labyrinth of political advocacy groups, Koch industries is a major player in Republican campaign finance.

Republicans have few ideas, but one of the few that has emerged is their resistance to climate change science and clear opposition to action that would limit global warming pollution. It is no coincidence that the financial core of their support comes from companies like Koch that are heavily invested in dirty 20th century energy and manufacturing.

Many of the Republican Senate candidates are signatories of the Koch Industries’ Americans For Prosperity No Climate Tax pledge and the FreedomWorks Contract From America.

A lot of Republican candidates are recipients of Koch funding. A Koch organization known as Americans for Prosperity, announced that it will spend an additional forty-five million dollars before the midterm elections. The group is supporting half a dozen Republican candidats for the Senate and fifty candidates in the House. They are staging rallies, organizing door-to-door canvassing, and running ads aimed at “educating voters about where candidates stand.”

An example of Senate candidates recieving funding from Koch organizations include Ken Buck, the Republican candidate for Colorado. The company has contributed to other Tea Party Senate hopefuls, including Rand Paul, Marco Rubio and Pat Toomey.

Koch Industries is also giving money to Republican candidates for the House of Representatives including $10,000 for Republican candidate, Steve Pearce for New Mexico. In in the Gubernatorial races Governors and candidates like Oklahoma's Republican Govenor Mary Fallin have also received funding from Koch.

Supporters of proposition 23 have received contributions that top $9 million, led by oil companies including Koch Industries' Flint Hills Resources and supported by the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity tea party network.

Although the Koch brothers try to keep a low profile, they are not new to inappropriate or unlawful campaign finance. In 1997, a Senate investigation examined the Kochs' roles in what a minority report called “an audacious plan to pour millions of dollars in contributions into Republican campaigns nationwide without disclosing the amount or source."

The Koch agenda does not end with the midterms, it has a much more ambitious vision. The Kochs are planning a confidential strategy meeting at the Rancho Las Palmas Resort and Spa. This meeting will include hedge fund executives, Republican donors, free-market evangelists and prominent members of the New York social circuit. According to the invitation, the event is designed to “develop strategies to counter the most severe threats facing our free society and outline a vision of how we can foster a renewal of American free enterprise and prosperity.”

Koch intends to expand its efforts, “to review strategies for combating the multitude of public policies that threaten to destroy America as we know it.” Those efforts, the letter makes clear, include countering “climate change alarmism" as well as “the regulatory assault on energy,”

Mr. Koch said, “This is a gathering of doers who are willing to engage in the hard work necessary to advance our shared principles. Success in this endeavor will require all the help we can muster.”

Koch sponsored organizers use terms like "microtargeting" and "voter mobilization." These thinly disguised efforts are using the Tea Party to put ordinary Americans to work in the service of the Kochs' self serving corporate agenda focused on climate denial and dirty energy.


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