Koch Industries

Koch Brothers’ Secrets Revealed In New Book

The Huffington Post

Charles and David Koch are the unofficial standard-bearers of a new generation of billionaires, willing to spend immense sums to influence politics. Best known for bankrolling the tea party movement, the fiercely private Koch family has achieved a quasi-mythical status in political circles. Yet they remain an enigma to most Americans.

Sons of Wichita: How the Koch Brothers Became America’s Most Powerful and Private Dynasty aims to change that. Written by Mother Jones senior editor Daniel Schulman, the biography, set to be released Tuesday, draws on hundreds of interviews with Koch family and friends, as well as thousands of pages of legal documents. The Huffington Post received a copy of the book on Friday.

Schulman examines the roots of Charles and David Koch’s libertarian worldview through the lens of their family, including the formative relationship that all four Koch brothers had with their father, the cold, ambitious Fred Koch. Schulman also traces the bitter and litigious history of Charles and David Koch’s relationships with their lesser-known brothers: Frederick, the eldest, and Bill, David’s twin brother.

At the center of the saga is patriarch Fred Koch, a staunch anti-communist who drilled his political ideology into his sons from a young age. In 1938, then sympathetic to the fascist regimes ruling Germany, Italy and Japan, Fred wrote that he hoped one day the United States would resemble these nations, which had “overcome” the vices of “idleness, feeding at the public trough, [and] dependence on government.”

Elsewhere, Fred warned of a future “vicious race war” in which communists would pit black Americans against white. “The colored man looms large in the Communist plan to take over America,” he wrote.

In private, Fred Koch “ruled the house with an iron fist” and faith in social Darwinism. Schulman recounts how the former boxer encouraged his sons to fight each other, sometimes with horrifying results. “During one bout, Bill bashed his twin over the head with a polo mallet,” Schulman writes. And “David still bears a scar from the time Bill pierced him in the back with a ceremonial sword.” Those early lessons left a deep imprint on the brothers.

Frederick, the oldest, was an outsider in the rough-and-tumble boys club of the Koch house. “Freddie was a sophisticate, a man of the world, in addition to the fact that he was gay, [which] wasn’t easily accepted in those days,” said a family friend.

Instead, it was Charles, the middle child, who became the vehicle for his father’s ambitions. According to a friend, the father worried that he had been “too kind to Freddie, and that’s why he turned out to be so effeminate. When Charles came along, the old man wasn’t going to make that mistake. So he was really, really tough on Charles.”

The result was a serious, extremely disciplined man, who along with his younger brother David, would transform their father’s medium-sized oil refining business, Koch Industries, into one of the largest privately held corporations in the world. But their success came at a high price.

Schulman describes how Charles, unable to convince brother Frederick to sell his stake in Koch Industries, allegedly resorted to “a homosexual blackmail attempt to force Frederick to sell his shares.” And when the youngest twin, Bill, launched a bid to wrest control of Koch Industries from his older brothers, Charles’ legal team responded by releasing a dossier of opposition research on Bill, filled with sordid details of his personal life.

In 2000, Bill’s then-wife Angela, the mother of two of his children, called the police to accuse Bill of punching her in the stomach and threatening “to beat his whole family to death with his belt.” Bill was charged with domestic assault and threatening to commit murder. Angela later recanted parts of her account, shortly before receiving a divorce settlement worth $16 million.

Nonetheless, Bill spent decades waging vicious legal battles against Charles and David, which cost the family tens of millions of dollars. Much of the book revolves around Bill’s failed attempts to gain control of Koch Industries.

As Schulman recounts, Bill hired private investigators to bug his brothers’ offices and pick through the garbage cans at their homes. He planted false memos aimed at rooting out spies in his own company, Oxbow, who he suspected were secretly working for his brothers.

While Bill’s anger may have been rooted in childhood rivalries, according to Schulman, it was exacerbated by Charles’ ultra-libertarian business philosophy, which Bill considered bad for business. Schulman describes how Charles, and by extension Koch Industries, regularly ignored environmental regulations on principle, believing them to be a hallmark of “Big Brother” government.

After losing a string of huge regulatory battles in the 1990s and paying heavy fines, Charles softened his stance somewhat. Still, the company remains a libertarian venture to this day. Schulman writes that Charles believes the role of government should be “only to keep a check on those who might attempt to interfere with the laws of supply and demand.”

Charles still lives in their hometown of Wichita, Kansas, with his wife, Liz, and generally avoids drawing attention to himself or his family.

By comparison, his brothers can seem like dilettantes, despite Schulman’s exceptionally fair treatment.

As a bachelor, David was known for hosting hundreds of people at champagne-soaked, all-night parties at his homes in Aspen, Colorado, and Southampton, New York. He once boasted that at least a third of his guests were “beautiful, wild, single women.” A guest told Schulman, “A lot of the crowd were these L.A. chicks who had just bought a new pair of tits and wanted to make sure that they did not go unnoticed — those parties got pretty wild.”

In 1996, Bill went to court to evict his former girlfriend from the Boston apartment he had set her up in. Included in the court records were faxes the couple exchanged, some of them sexually explicit. One of the notes was signed “Hot Love From Your X-Rated Protestant Princess.” In another, the woman described herself as “a wet orchid,” writing, “every inch of my body misses you.” Bill succeeded in having her evicted.

For his part, Frederick lives an intensely private life and apparently has little contact with his three brothers. He maintains a collection of historic houses around the world, as well as smaller homes in which he actually lives. The historic houses, which Frederick fills with priceless art, essentially serve as his own private museums.

Sons of Wichita hits bookstores on May 20.

Charles Koch Is Sick Of ‘Collectivists’ Calling Him ‘Un-American’

Charles Koch, CEO of Koch Industries

Koch needs to stop whining.  “If the shoe fits...”

It’s ironic how he uses the derogatory term collectivists while decrying people calling him the equally derogatory term “un-American“.  It appears his premise is simply “I can call you names but how dare you call me names.”

The Huffington Post

Charles Koch has apparently had enough of “collectivists” criticizing his “un-American” ways.

In an opinion piece published online Wednesday in The Wall Street Journal, the billionaire backer of conservative candidates and causes came to his own defense, claiming he only seeks to uphold the principles of “dignity, respect, equality before the law and personal freedom,” which he said he believes “are under attack by the nation’s own government.” He defined collectivists as “those who stand for government control of the means of production and how people live their lives.”

Koch and his brother, David Koch, are under increasing attack by Democrats. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and others have taken to the Senate floor and other platforms to accuse the brothers of trying to “buy America.”

Koch claimed his critics “strive to discredit and intimidate opponents.”

Rather than try to understand my vision for a free society or accurately report the facts about Koch Industries, our critics would have you believe we’re “un-American” and trying to “rig the system,” that we’re against “environmental protection” or eager to “end workplace safety standards.”

Far from trying to rig the system, I have spent decades opposing cronyism and all political favors, including mandates, subsidies and protective tariffs — even when we benefit from them. I believe that cronyism is nothing more than welfare for the rich and powerful, and should be abolished.

The Koch brothers have backed multi-million dollar attack blitzes slamming Democratic candidates and President Barack Obama’s signature health care legislation. In the wake of Reid’s recent criticism, the brothers are funding a group in Nevada to run attack ads against the Senate majority leader.

Reid and his backers show no signs of retreat.

“There have been times in my life I’ve been a little afraid,” Reid said Tuesday on the Senate floor. “But I’m not afraid of them.”

Read the full op-ed at The Wall Street Journal.

Obamacare fight gets too hot for Kochs: We’re not backing GOP’s shutdown tactics

Koch brothers

The Raw Story

As the government shutdown moved into the ninth day on Wednesday, even conservative billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch appeared to be abandoning Republican lawmakers who were trying to use the tactic to derail the president’s health care law.

NBC’s Michael Isikoff reported that Koch Industries, which is privately owned by the activist brothers, sent a letter to members of Congress, insisting that “Koch has not taken a position on the legislative tactic of tying the continuing resolution to defunding Obamacare nor have we lobbied on legislative provisions defunding Obamacare.”

Phillip Ellender, the company’s president of Government and Public Affairs, instead declared that the company had put its emphasis on “reducing our nation’s debt and controlling runaway government spending” with the hopes of never needing to raise the debt ceiling again in the future.

“Congress should focus on these efforts: balancing the budget, tightening and cutting government spending, curbing cronyism, and eliminating market-distorting subsidies and mandates,” Ellender wrote.

The letter was prompted by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) charge on the Senate floor on Tuesday that the Koch brothers “have been raising and spending hundreds of millions of dollars to get us to where we are right now.”

Isikoff told MSNBC’s Tamron Hall that the Koch Industries letter was fascinating because groups funded by the Koch brothers had spent more than $200 million in an effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

And those groups had pushed the tactic of “defunding the government as a wedge to get Obamacare defunded,” Isikoff explained. “Now, here we have the Koch brothers, who in some ways helped foster that movement, saying, ‘Whoa, slow down, we’re not there, that’s not what we think Congress should be focusing on.’”

Watch this video from MSNBC, broadcast Oct. 9, 2013.

List of Companies Supporting Right-Wing and Tea Party Causes and Candidates

FYI…

Liberals Unite

As we discussed in our recent article, 4 Effective Ways to Fight the Tea Party, there are many things we can do to combat their agenda.  We can work to advocate truthfulness, avoid television stations that air conservative Super PAC propaganda.  WE can support candidates facing elections against Tea Party candidates…

And we can boycott companies whose products and services help fund the Tea Party agenda and candidates.

For your convenience, here is a list of but a few of those companies we should avoid.  Be sure to share with your family and friends. This is by no means a fully comprehensive list, but it is a good beginning.

Also, change.org has a petition you can sign telling “Cannon Pharmacy, Quicken Loans, Angie’s List, & 37 Limbaugh Sponsors – We’re Not Buying”.

NEWS CORP

Be sure not to watch:

  • 20th Century Fox Television programs on other networks (24, Married with Children, etc.)
  • Big Ten Network (49%)
  • Fox Business Network;
  • Fox College Sports
  • Fox Movie Channel
  • Fox News
  • Fox News Channel
  • Fox Reality Channel
  • Fox Soccer Channel
  • Fox Sports en Español
  • Fox Sports Enterprises
  • Fox Sports Net
  • Fox-branded local television stations
  • Foxtel (25%)
  • FUEL TV
  • FX Networks
  • National Geographic Channel (International) (50%)
  • National Geographic Channel (US) (67%)
  • Speed Channel
  • Sport South

Do not watch movies produced by these studios:

  • 20th Century Fox Español
  • 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
  • 20th Century Fox International
  • 20th Century Fox movies;
  • Blue Sky Studios pictures;
  • Fox Searchlight Pictures;

On the web, avoid:

  • AmericanIdol.com
  • AskMen.com
  • Authonomy via HarperCollins
  • Fox Interactive Media
  • Fox.com
  • Foxsports.com
  • GameSpy
  • Hulu.com
  • IGN
  • MyNetworktv.com
  • MySpace (5%)
  • News Digital Media
  • Scout.com
  • TheSimpsons.com
  • TheXFactorUSA.com
  • WhatIfSports

Do not buy/subscribe to magazine/print publications or read books from:

  • Alpha
  • Barron’s – weekly financial markets magazine.
  • Big League
  • Chopper
  • Country Style
  • Financial News
  • Harper Collins
  • Lifestyle Pools + outdoor design
  • Live to Ride
  • Marketwatch – Financial news and information website.
  • MasterChef Magazine
  • Modern Boating
  • Modern Fishing
  • New York Post
  • Overlander 4WD
  • SmartSource Magazine
  • Super Food Ideas
  • Tattoo
  • The Wall Street Journal
  • Truck & Trailer Australia
  • Truckin’ Life
  • Two Wheels
  • Two Wheels Scooter
  • Vogue Entertaining + Travel
  • Zondervan Publishing

THE KOCH BROTHERS

  • ADI-Pure ®
  • Antron ®
  • Brawny brand paper towels and other products;
  • Chemical products including: •Sure Sol ® products
  • Comforel® fiberfill
  • CoolMax ®
  • Cordura ® fabric
  • DACRON ®
  • DBE ® dibasic esters
  • Delica ®
  • Demak’Up ®
  • Dixie® Brand cups plates, and other products;
  • European brands: •Colhogar ®
  • Georgia-Pacific lumber and paper products;
  • Inversoft ®
  • Kitten Soft ®
  • Koch Agricultural – Operates cattle ranches
  • Koch Fertilizers
  • Lotus ®
  • Man-made fabrics and fibers including: •LYCRA ®
  • Mardi Gras brand paper goods;
  • Matador Ranch – Hunting ranch.
  • Moltonel ®
  • Northern brand toilet paper;
  • Nouvelle ®
  • Okay
  • Oxyclear ™
  • Performa ®
  • Polarguard ®
  • Polyclear ®
  • Polyshield ®
  • Soft-n-Gentle® brand toilet paper;
  • SolarMax ®
  • Somerelle ® Bedding
  • Sparkle brand paper goods;
  • Sparkle brand paper napkins;
  • Stainmaster® carpet and fabric care products;
  • Supplex ® Fabric
  • Tactel®
  • Tactesse ® Carpet Fibers
  • Tenderly ®
  • Terathane
  • Thermolite ®
  • Tutto ®
  • Vanity Fair brand paper napkins;
  • Zee brand paper goods

THE DeVOS FAMILY

  • AMWAY products (much of which are made in China) including: •Nutrilite ®
  • Artistry make-up and skin care products
  • Body Series personal products;
  • DITTO Delivery
  • eSpring laundry and cleaning products;
  • Fulton Street Market products;
  • Glister oral care products;
  • Hi-Gear automotive products
  • iCook
  • Legacy of Clean;
  • Miss America make-up and skin care products
  • NUTRIPET ® products
  • Nutriplant agricultural products;
  • Perfect Empowered drinking water
  • Personal Accents ® scents;
  • Satinique bath products;
  • The Creme LuXury Collection make-up and skin care products
  • The NBA ® Orlando Magic
  • Trend Collection make-up and skin care products
  • XLP automotive products
  • XS energy drinks

 

Koch Brothers eye L.A. Times, other Tribune newspapers: sources

David Koch, executive vice president of Koch Industries, applauds during an Economic Club of New York event in New York, December 10, 2012. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Good luck with that, fellas…

Reuters

Charles and David Koch, two of the world’s richest men, are interested in Tribune’s newspaper assets, which include the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune, according to sources familiar with situation.

Earlier on Tuesday, L.A. Weekly reported that the Koch brothers were rumored to be interested in either all of the Tribune company, which includes 23 TV stations and national cable network WGN American, or the Tribune newspapers. The report also cited “another rumor” from a Los Angeles Times editorial board member that the Koch brothers are helping U-T San Diego newspaper owner Doug Manchester finance a bid.

According to one of the Reuters sources, the Koch brothers are not interested in Tribune’s other assets – which include the broadcast TV stations. Tribune, based in Chicago, owns eight major dailies, including The Baltimore Sun and Hartford Courant.

Manchester said in statement: “We are looking forward to opportunities to employ our cross-media strategy in other markets. We have no partnership with Koch Industries or with the Koch brothers, and we don’t anticipate any such arrangement. If we were to become involved in the sale of the Tribune Company or any other media assets, we would be glad to comment at the appropriate time.”

Melissa Cohlmia, a spokeswoman for Koch Companies Public Sector, said in a statement: “As an entrepreneurial company with 60,000 employees around the world, we are constantly exploring profitable opportunities in many industries and sectors.

“So, it is natural that our name would come up in connection with this rumor. We respect the independence of the journalistic institutions referenced in today’s news stories, but it is our long-standing policy not to comment on deals or rumors of deals we may or may not be exploring.”

Tribune spokesman Gary Weitman said the company does not comment on speculation.

The Koch Brothers – worth $34 billion, making them the world’s sixth-richest men, according to Forbes magazine – would have more than enough room to make a bid for all of Tribune’s newspapers.

Tribune’s newspapers are profitable and estimated to be worth $623 million, according to a report by Lazard, its financial adviser.

The brothers are the owners of Koch Industries, a sprawling conglomerate whose holdings include crude oil and natural gas pipelines, paper products like Dixie Cups and Angel Soft toilet tissue, and cattle ranches.

They are known for their conservative views and on the Koch Industries website explain that economic freedom means that “government is kept small and limited to those activities that contribute to societal well-being, rather than undermine it.”

Other notable names such as Warren Buffett and News Corp’s Rupert Murdoch have surfaced as possible buyers for some of Tribune’s dailies. Aaron Kushner, the owner of the Orange County Register near Los Angeles, said he was “prepared to take a serious look” at Tribune’s newspapers in December.

The newspaper industry is once again becoming a hive of activity as several big city papers hit the auction block while other smaller newspapers have been snapped up by the likes of Buffett.

Tribune is the latest example of a company exploring a sale of its newspapers. The New York Times announced in February it was putting The Boston Globe and other properties in New England up for sale.

 

Koch Industries Warns 45,000 Employees Of ‘Consequences’ If They Don’t Vote For Republicans

So much for Democracy.

The question I have is…will someone be looking over the shoulder of each employee as they vote?   This entire exercise is yet another bully tactic by the powers that be.   They are trying their best, it seems, to guarantee some sort of dystopian future for the American electorate.

Think Progress

The Koch brothers’ $60 million pledge to defeat President Obama — along with their political network’s $400 million spending — make them two of the most influential conservatives this election.

Not content with their unprecedented influence in politics, the Kochs have also taken to influencing the votes of their employees. According to In These Times, Koch Industries sent 45,000 mailers to employees at Koch subsidiary Georgia Pacific, urging votes for Romney and other conservative candidates. The letter warns ominously of “consequences” for the workers if Republicans lose.

The Koch mailer is one of several recent examples of executives warning that employees may lose their jobs if Republicans do not win in November. Here is an excerpt of the letter:

While we are typically told before each Presidential election that it is important and historic, I believe the upcoming election will determine what kind of America future generations will inherit.

If we elect candidates who want to spend hundreds of billions in borrowed money on costly new subsidies for a few favored cronies, put unprecedented regulatory burdens on businesses, prevent or delay important new construction projects, and excessively hinder free trade, then many of our more than 50,000 U.S. employees and contractors may suffer the consequences, including higher gasoline prices, runaway inflation, and other ills.

In These Times also reports that employees are restricted in their political free speech on social media outlets.

Continue reading here…

 

Shady: Koch Brothers Made Sales to Iran

The Daily Beast

A mammoth investigative report in Bloomberg Markets Magazinehas some devastating charges against one of the world’s largest private companies: The billionaire Koch Brothers allegedly made a ton of money off sales of petrochemical equipment to Iran.

A unit of their company, Koch Industries, dodged the U.S. trade ban using foreign subsidiaries. The company allegedly engaged in illicit payments in Africa, India, and the Middle East, and, from 1999 to 2003, had to pay more than $400 million in fines. The report quotes an employee saying that managers taught them how to steal and cheat. The technique was called the “Koch Method.”

Read it at Bloomberg News 

Related articles

During Secret Retreat With Billionaires, Koch Lobbyist Admits Tea Party Group ‘Designed’ To Elect Republicans In 2010

Rachel Maddow dissected the Koch brothers’ relationship to the Tea Party over a year ago…so this is nothing new.  It’s simply inadvertently out in the open.

Think Progress

This morning, blogger Brad Friedman, writing in Mother Jones and BradBlog, revealed a set of audio tapes from the last major donor meeting convened by the billionaire Koch brothers. There are a number of startling revelations from the scoop — but the opening remarks from Kevin Gentry, a Koch Industries executive at the firm’s DC lobbying office, blow the cover off the many Tea Party efforts underwritten by the billionaires in the Koch network of donors.

Gentry, who doubles as the official responsible for doling out Koch charitable grants, admits privately what ThinkProgress and others have noted for years: Americans for Prosperity, the front group founded by David Koch, orchestrates Tea Party events simply to elect more Republicans. Gentry said he met with Fred Young, a Wisconsin owner of engine manufacturing plants, at an Americans for Prosperity (AFP) event “designed to help in the Congressional races” during one of their “get out the vote tours”:

KEVIN GENTRY: I’m going to turn it over to a dear friend, Fred Young, for the purposes of an introduction. Fred is a long-time fighter, freedom fighter, in this movement, from Racine, Wisconsin. Former owner of Young Radiator. As part of our efforts last year, in 2010, I was on the road for [TN?] in Wisconsin, here at one of Americans for Prosperity’s last minute kind of get out the vote tours. And I went to an event in Racine, Wisconsin, and met up with Fred. It was sort of a Tea Party AFP event designed to help in the Congressional races. And Fred was kind enough to lend me a sweatshirt because I wasn’t actually prepared for Racine, Wisconsin in November. So Fred, let’s take it away, please.

Too many in the media ignored the Koch network’s transparently partisan agenda last year. A few outlets, like the Washington Post, took the group to task for spending $45 million in attack ads against Democrats using an unaccountable, secret money wing of Americans for Prosperity. However, most failed to report on the millions more spent on four different bus tours designed to promote Republicans. These rallies, which required great resources in terms of staff and logistics, were never reported to the Federal Elections Committee as campaign spending, thus evading the few watchdog groups and reporters interested in serious election coverage.

As ThinkProgress revealed last year, in documents outlining the June, 2010 donor meeting, billionaires like Paul Singer, Ken Griffin, Rich DeVos, and John Childs are regular attendees of these events, which solicit multi-million donations for an elaborate array of right-wing front groups, from Tea Party organizers like Americans for Prosperity to stealth advertising campaigns like “Public Notice.” Unfortunately, many still report on Tea Party groups like Americans for Prosperity as bonafide grassroots organizations.

Related articles

Rick Scott attends secret Koch brothers meeting in Colorado

Kiss the ring of your masters

Palm Beach Post

Florida Gov. Rick Scott attended a secret, invitation-only meeting outside Vail, Colo., hosted by conservative billionaire GOP donors David and Charles Koch, the governor’s staff confirmed today.

The meeting wasn’t on Scott’s official schedule and his spokesman Lane Wright initially refused to confirm or deny whether the first-term governor would make an appearance, saying he would not “speculate as to what he has done, or will do on his personal time.”

But, after The St. Petersburg Times reported Tuesday Scott did attend the meeting, Wright confirmed that the governor was there but would not say whether Scott was in Colorado on Sunday or Monday.

“I told anybody who asked me,” Scott, in Washington, D.C., told the Times, without revealing too much about what took place.

“It was very interesting,” he told the Times. “They wanted to know basically… what am I doing in Florida.”

Scott, the self-proclaimed “jobs governor,” joined at least three other conservative Republican heads-of-state at the semi-annual meeting.

Continue reading here…