Archive for the ‘Koch’ tag
Karl Rove is not the evil genius mastermind that his bio claims. He makes mistakes too, and his mistakes are often catastrophic. Let’s hope there is some teeth to this investigation. I’m very curious who donates most of Rove’s money…
A new report from Congress’ nonpartisan research arm (11 page PDF) suggests that the Internal Revenue Service won’t have much patience with the argument from groups like Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS that the ads it buys shouldn’t be counted as political campaign activity.
The claim that ads attacking candidates aren’t political — as long as they avoid words like “vote” or “elect” — is key to the empire of shadowy non-disclosing political groups that Rove, the Koch Brothers and other major political players have created.
By insisting that most of their budget goes toward “issue advocacy,” rather than influencing elections, these groups exploit a loophole that allows certain non-political groups to keep their donors secret.
The Aug. 30 report from the Congressional Research Service (CRS), first reported by Diane Freda for Bloomberg BNA, reviews IRS rulings on what qualifies as issue advocacy, and strongly indicates that the Rove-style ads wouldn’t be a tough call for the agency — which could revoke an organization’s tax-exempt status.
For instance, a recent $4.2 million Crossroads GPS ad buy attacked four Democratic Senate candidates, using the figleaf of calling on them to do such things as repeal health care or “cut the debt” — as if there was imminent action about to be taken on the Hill.
The CRS report notes, however, that “when there is no pending legislative vote or other non-electoral activity, the IRS rulings suggest it can be difficult for an ad to avoid being classified as campaign activity.”
Crossroads GPS publicly released its 2010 and 2011 tax filings in April, claiming tax-exempt status as a social welfare group under section 501(c)(4) of the tax code.
But the IRS has not yet approved its status. Should the IRS conclude that the group is primarily political in nature, the results could be politically explosive. Tax experts tell The Huffington Post that political groups that don’t disclose their donations and expenditures to the IRS are subject to a 35 percent penalty on all donations that should have been disclosed but weren’t and another 35 percent for the expenditure of that donation.
So a reclassified group could be on the hook for a 70 percent tax bill — and might have to disclose its donors, to boot.
(click here to continue reading Karl Rove’s Donor Plan Could Run Afoul Of IRS, Congressional Report Suggests.)
There is no excuse for these political hacks claiming non-profit status, it is a mockery of the tax code for “social welfare” organizations.
With his brother Charles, who is seventy-four, David Koch owns virtually all of Koch Industries, a conglomerate, headquartered in Wichita, Kansas, whose annual revenues are estimated to be a hundred billion dollars. The company has grown spectacularly since their father, Fred, died, in 1967, and the brothers took charge. The Kochs operate oil refineries in Alaska, Texas, and Minnesota, and control some four thousand miles of pipeline. Koch Industries owns Brawny paper towels, Dixie cups, Georgia-Pacific lumber, Stainmaster carpet, and Lycra, among other products. Forbes ranks it as the second-largest private company in the country, after Cargill, and its consistent profitability has made David and Charles Koch—who, years ago, bought out two other brothers—among the richest men in America. Their combined fortune of thirty-five billion dollars is exceeded only by those of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett.
The Kochs are longtime libertarians who believe in drastically lower personal and corporate taxes, minimal social services for the needy, and much less oversight of industry—especially environmental regulation. These views dovetail with the brothers’ corporate interests. In a study released this spring, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst’s Political Economy Research Institute named Koch Industries one of the top ten air polluters in the United States. And Greenpeace issued a report identifying the company as a “kingpin of climate science denial.” The report showed that, from 2005 to 2008, the Kochs vastly outdid ExxonMobil in giving money to organizations fighting legislation related to climate change, underwriting a huge network of foundations, think tanks, and political front groups. Indeed, the brothers have funded opposition campaigns against so many Obama Administration policies—from health-care reform to the economic-stimulus program—that, in political circles, their ideological network is known as the Kochtopus.
(click to continue reading The billionaire Koch brothers’ war against Obama : The New Yorker.)
And even though we mocked this factoid previously, it bears repeating
Oddly enough, the fiercely capitalist Koch family owes part of its fortune to Joseph Stalin. Fred Koch was the son of a Dutch printer who settled in Texas and ran a weekly newspaper. Fred attended M.I.T., where he earned a degree in chemical engineering. In 1927, he invented a more efficient process for converting oil into gasoline, but, according to family lore, America’s major oil companies regarded him as a threat and shut him out of the industry. Unable to succeed at home, Koch found work in the Soviet Union. In the nineteen-thirties, his company trained Bolshevik engineers and helped Stalin’s regime set up fifteen modern oil refineries. Over time, however, Stalin brutally purged several of Koch’s Soviet colleagues. Koch was deeply affected by the experience, and regretted his collaboration. He returned to the U.S. In the headquarters of his company, Rock Island Oil & Refining, in Wichita, he kept photographs aimed at proving that some of those Soviet refineries had been destroyed in the Second World War. Gus diZerega, a former friend of Charles Koch, recalled, “As the Soviets became a stronger military power, Fred felt a certain amount of guilt at having helped build them up. I think it bothered him a lot.”
In 1958, Fred Koch became one of the original members of the John Birch Society, the arch-conservative group known, in part, for a highly skeptical view of governance and for spreading fears of a Communist takeover. Members considered President Dwight D. Eisenhower to be a Communist agent. In a self-published broadside, Koch claimed that “the Communists have infiltrated both the Democrat and Republican Parties.” He wrote admiringly of Benito Mussolini’s suppression of Communists in Italy, and disparagingly of the American civil-rights movement. “The colored man looms large in the Communist plan to take over America,” he warned. Welfare was a secret plot to attract rural blacks to cities, where they would foment “a vicious race war.” In a 1963 speech that prefigures the Tea Party’s talk of a secret socialist plot, Koch predicted that Communists would “infiltrate the highest offices of government in the U.S. until the President is a Communist, unknown to the rest of us.”
and one more factoid I couldn’t let pass in this excellent albeit long, and infuriating article:
During the 2000 election campaign, Koch Industries spent some nine hundred thousand dollars to support the candidacies of George W. Bush and other Republicans. During the Bush years, Koch Industries and other fossil-fuel companies enjoyed remarkable prosperity. The 2005 energy bill, which Hillary Clinton dubbed the Dick Cheney Lobbyist Energy Bill, offered enormous subsidies and tax breaks for energy companies. The Kochs have cast themselves as deficit hawks, but, according to a study by Media Matters, their companies have benefitted from nearly a hundred million dollars in government contracts since 2000.
All the Tea Party’s accusations of Obama being Marxist have to be viewed in a different light now that the truth of their origins comes out1…
The Tea Party movement’s dirty little secret is that its chief financial backers owe their family fortune to the granddaddy of all their hatred: Stalin’s godless empire of the USSR. The secretive oil billionaires of the Koch family, the main supporters of the right-wing groups that orchestrated the Tea Party movement, would not have the means to bankroll their favorite causes had it not been for the pile of money the family made working for the Bolsheviks in the late 1920s and early 1930s, building refineries, training Communist engineers and laying down the foundation of Soviet oil infrastructure.
The comrades were good to the Kochs. Today Koch Industries has grown into the second-largest private company in America. With an annual revenue of $100 billion, the company was just $6.3 billion shy of first place in 2008. Ownership is kept strictly in the family, with the company being split roughly between brothers Charles and David Koch, who are worth about $20 billion apiece and are infamous as the largest sponsors of right-wing causes. They bankroll scores of free-market and libertarian think tanks, institutes and advocacy groups. Greenpeace estimates that the Koch family shelled out $25 million from 2005 to 2008 funding the “climate denial machine,” which means they outspent Exxon Mobile three to one.
I first learned about the Kochs in February 2009, when my colleague Mark Ames and I were looking into the strange origins of the then-nascent Tea Party movement. Our investigation led us again and again to a handful of right-wing advocacy groups directly tied to the Kochs. We were the first to connect the dots and debunk the Tea Party movement’s “grassroots” front, exposing it as billionaire-backed astroturf campaign run by free-market advocacy groups FreedomWorks and Americans For Prosperity, both of which are closely linked to the Koch brothers.
But the Tea Party movement—and the Koch family’s obscene wealth—go back more than half a century, all the way to grandpa Fred C. Koch, one of the founding members of the far-right John Birch Society which was convinced that socialism was taking over America through unions, colored people, Jews, homosexuals, the Kennedys and even Dwight D. Eisenhower.
[Click to continue reading Yasha Levine: Tea Party Financiers Owe Their Fortune to Josef Stalin - Truthdig]
Too funny. Well, not really. I think the Tea Party Republicans2 should leave America since they hate it so much.Footnotes:
A few interesting links collected January 10th through January 17th:
- New York Times Ready to Charge Online Readers — Daily Intel – The argument for remaining free was based on the belief that nytimes.com is growing into an English-language global newspaper of record, with a vast audience — 20 million unique readers — that, Nisenholtz and others believed, would prove lucrative as web advertising matured. (The nytimes.com homepage, for example, has sold out on numerous occasions in the past year.) As other papers failed to survive the massive migration to the web, the Times would be the last man standing and emerge with even more readers. Going paid would capture more circulation revenue, but risk losing significant traffic and with it ad dollars.
- The Climate Killers : Rolling Stone – The Climate Killers Meet the 17 polluters and deniers who are derailing efforts to curb global warming: Warren Buffett
Jack Gerard, President, American Petroleum
Rex Tillerson, CEO, ExxonMobil
Sen. Mary Landrieu, Democrat, Louisiana
Marc Morano, Founder, Climate Depot
Sen. James Inhofe, Republican, Oklahoma
David Ratcliffe, CEO, Southern Company
Dick Gephardt, CEO, Gephardt Group
George Will, Commentator, ABC
Tom Donohue, President, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Don Blankenship, CEO, Massey Energy
Hack Scientist, Fred Singer, Retired physicist, University of Virginia
Sen. John McCain, Republican, Arizona
Rep. Joe Barton, Republican, Texas
Charles and David Koch, CEO and Executive Vice President, Koch Industries
- Everything That Ever Happens Is Good News For The Republicans, Corporate Media Insists – In the Senate, two Democrats will retire but six Republicans will join them. In the House, GOP retirements outpace Democrats 14 to 10.
Al Gore has some enemies who don’t want his name even mentioned as a possible compromise candidate at the Denver 2008 Convention.
Al Gore’s opulent lifestyle and his virtuous plea to save the planet from global warming don’t mesh, according to the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), which announced plans yesterday for a new national advertising campaign to showcase the contrast before the American public.
Yet his name is also being bandied about in some Democratic and progressive circles for a presidential “dream team” ticket pairing him with Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois.
The CEI ad will highlight Mr. Gore’s “hypocrisy,” said Sam Kazman, general counsel of the free-market public policy group.
The spot, which begins airing Tuesday on several cable networks, is also meant to counter a new outreach by the Alliance for Climate Protection, an umbrella organization founded by Mr. Gore last year. The group is planning a massive music festival in July and will spend a reported $10 million on advocacy ads promoting the “climate crisis” and eco-consciousness.
[From Ad to challenge Gore's planet-saving image - - The Washington Times, America's Newspaper aka The Mooney Times]
So who exactly is the Competitive Enterprise Institute? and more importantly, who funds their efforts? Before I looked, I guessed ExxonMobil, and apparently, was right.
In its IRS Form 990 for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2004, CEI reported revenues totalling $2,919,537, including donations from individuals, foundations and corporations. Its net assets were $1,670,808.…
According to page nine of a report from the CEI contained on the University of California, San Francisco’s Legacy Tobacco Documents Library (LTDL), the following companies and foundations were among those listed as supporting CEI’s work with annual contributions of at least $10,000, currently the CEI’s “Entrepreneurs” level:
Aequus Institute, Amoco Foundation, Inc., Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, Coca-Cola Company, E.L. Craig Foundation, CSX Corporation, Earhart Foundation, Fieldstead and Co., FMC Foundation, Ford Motor Company Fund, Gilder Foundation, Koch Family Foundations (including the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, David H. Koch Charitable Foundation, and Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation), Philip M. McKenna Foundation, Inc., Curtis and Edith Munson Foundation, Philip Morris Companies, Inc., Pfizer Inc., Precision Valve Corporation, Prince Foundation, Rodney Fund, Sheldon Rose, Scaife Foundations (Carthage Foundation and Sarah Scaife Foundation), and Texaco, Inc. (Texaco Foundation).
Other documents in the LTDL show that CEI has received funding directly from various tobacco companies.,, For example, the listing on the Philip Morris Glossary of Names: C gives the note “Received public policy grant from Philip Morris (1995); Pro-market public interest group dedicated to advancing the principles of free enterprise and limited government.”
ExxonMobil Corporation was a major donor to CEI, with over $2 million in contributions between 1998 and 2005.  In 2002 the company gave $405,000; in 2004 it gave CEI $180,000 that was earmarked for “global climate change and global climate change outreach.”  In 2006, the company announced that they had ended their funding for the group.
A veritable rogues gallery of corporate evil-doers. The most surprising name (to me anyway) is Ford Motor Company. I thought Ford had turned a new leaf, and was promoting green ventures? Seems that was only propaganda, and behind the scenes Ford is still dragging their feet, fighting regulation that would tackle global climate change.
Sourcewatch says of CEI
It postures as an advocate of “sound science” in the development of public policy. However, CEI projects dispute the overwhelimng scientific evidence that human induced greenhouse gas emissions are driving climate change. They have a program for “challenging government regulations”, push property rights as a solution to environment problems, opposed US vehicle fuel efficiency standards and been a booster for the drug industry.
CEI belongs to various conservative alliances, including the Alliance for America, Get Government Off Our Backs, Townhall.com, the National Consumer Coalition (a pro-corporate front group headed by Frances B. Smith, the wife of CEI founder Fred Smith), and the Environmental Education Working Group (EEWG), a national umbrella group for organizations working to undermine environmental education in schools. It is linked to the UK-based rightwing thinktank, the International Policy Network, via shared staff and an identical US contact address. It also sponsors several other subsidiary organizations, including:
The Center for Private Conservation, a green-sounding front group that opposes environmental regulations by claiming that “free market” solutions work better.
The Cooler Heads Coalition, chaired by former CEI director Marlo Lewis and directed by Myron Ebell, CEI’s Director of Global Warming and International Environmental Policy. The Cooler Heads Coalition was formed on May 6, 1997, “to dispel the myths of global warming by exposing flawed economic, scientific and risk analysis.” In March 2001, the nonprofit Clean Air Trust named Ebell its “clean air villain of the month,” citing his “ferocious lobbying charge to persuade President Bush to reverse his campaign pledge to control electric utility emissions of carbon dioxide.”
and this list of funders/enemies of the planet:
CEI does not publish a list of its institutional donors. However, in a CEI report sent to Philip Morris, the think tank identified a range of companies and foundations as having given $10,000 or more.  Contributors included: Aequus Institute
Amoco Foundation, Inc.
Coca-Cola Company, contributions were $25,000 per annum for the period 1991-1995;
E.L. Craig Foundation
Fieldstead and Co.
Ford Motor Company Fund
Curtis and Edith Munson Foundation
Philip Morris Companies, Inc.
Precision Valve Corporation
Alex C. Walker Foundation
In a 2006 profile of CEI and other global warming skeptics, Washington Post reporter Joel Achenbach noted that “the most generous sponsors” of CEI’s 2005 annual dinner were “the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, Exxon Mobil, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, and Pfizer. Other contributors included General Motors, the American Petroleum Institute, the American Plastics Council, the Chlorine Chemistry Council and Arch Coal.”