Koch Industries

Every four or five years, it seems, progressives and the media discover ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, anew. I’m old enough that the latest “OMG!” reaction to the existence of the conservative legislative network, following the revelation of its role in promoting voter ID laws and the “Stand Your Ground” gun laws that briefly shielded George Zimmerman, is probably the third “discovery” of ALEC I’ve witnessed.

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The dismissal of the Koch brothers' absurd lawsuit against a satirist (who had created a fake news release purporting to be from the Kochs, endorsing legislation to fight climate change) highlights once more a defining aspect of their personality: they really don't like criticism. The mini-industry of conservatives and libertarians that has sprung up to defend the Kochs (against, to be sure, a mini industry of liberals assailing them) tells a story of the Kochs as shy, retiring intellectuals yearning only for high-level philosophical discussion in the free marketplace of ideas.

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The right-wing libertarian billionaires Charles and David Koch have been the subject of enormous controversy recently. Liberals have fiercely attacked them, and conservative and libertarians have defended them with equal passion. Now we have Matthew Continetti of the Weekly Standard joining in with an 8,000 word cover story. Continetti is the author of “The Persecution Of Sarah Palin,” and in this piece he reprises his role as ghost author for a popular conservative victim-hero.

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Elise Foley reports that the House Republicans, having eliminated biodegradable cups, have replaced them with styrofoam cups supplied by...

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Koch Fiends

Reason's Nick Gillespie endorses a post from Reddit pointing out that the Koch brothers (who also fund Reason) believe in some things that liberals also believe in: The KOCH brothers must be stopped. They gave $40K to Scott Walker, the MAX allowed by state law. That's small potatoes compared to the $100+ million they give to other organizations. These organizations will terrify you. If the anti-union thing weren't enough, here are bigger and better reasons to stop the evil Kochs.

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Politico's Kenneth Vogel reports on the Koch brothers' campaign to push back against media characterizations of them as secretive billionaires funneling vast sums of money to make the political system more congenial to rich people in general and carbon polluters in particular:   Inside the resort at the beginning of the conference, “there was an atmosphere almost of paranoia,” said Gary Ferdman, a Common Cause official.  Ferdman had reservations at the resort and stayed there Thursday and Friday night.

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I usually tend to think the liberals can be a little paranoid when they imagine that there's a cohesive elite of super-rich Republicans consciously pulling the strong of the political system.

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Here's what the Koch brothers said last summer about their involvement in the Tea Party movement: Koch denies being directly involved with the tea party—“I’ve never been to a tea-party event. No one representing the tea party has ever even approached me.” … “The radical press is coming after me and Charles,” he said.

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Last month, The New Yorker's Jane Mayer published a long piece on how billionaires David and Charles Koch fund a variety of libertarian causes—from Tea Parties to the Cato Institute. Given that the brothers own Koch Industries, the second-largest privately held oil company in America, it's no surprise that the Kochs also like to wade into the carbon/climate debate. (The Koch-funded wing of the Smithsonian Natural History Museum, for instance, has a... creative... exhibit on climate change.) But how important are the Kochs, in the grand climate-skeptic scheme of things? Pretty central.

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Right-wing billionaire David Koch feels persecuted: David Koch, a billionaire whose funding has helped support grassroots organizations tied to the tea parties, slammed the “liberal media” today at the Americans for Prosperity (AFP) summit in Washington, D.C. “Over the last year, my brother Charles Koch and I have been attacked non-stop in the liberal media,” he said. Particular attention was reserved for Jane Mayer’s New Yorker piece, which argued that the Kochs funded groups like AFP for personal gain.

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