Who are the Koch Brothers?

Charles Koch and David Koch are the majority owners of Koch Industries, an oil and gas conglomerate which ranks as America's second largest privately-held company.

With operations in nearly 60 countries and annual revenues pushing $100 billion, David Koch likes to say, "we're the biggest company you've never heard of." 

After nearly a century of operations, Koch Industries has left both Charles and David extremely wealthy. According to Forbes Magazine, Charles and David are each worth $31 billion, making them the fourth wealthiest Americans in 2012.

The brothers do not hesitate to use their wealth to champion causes they believe in -- conservative, libertarian, and pro-industry (in particular fossil fuels) political initiatives. The Koch brothers are so entrenched in the political fight against environmental and climate policy that their vast network has been nicknamed the "Kochtopus."  Indeed, the brothers seem to have their tentacles in almost every aspect of the political process.

Here's a quick snapshot of the ever-growing Kochtopus:

  • In 2012, Koch Industries spent more than $10 million on oil and gas lobbying efforts in Washington. Only two companies spent more money lobbying than Koch -- ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell. Since President Obama took office, Koch Industries' lobbying expenditures have more than doubled.

  • Charles and David Koch operate three major charitable organizations: David H. Koch Charitable Foundation, Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, and the Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation. Collectively, these foundations doled out more than $36 million to climate denial organizations between 2005 and 2010.

  • The Koch brothers not only fund conservative think tanks, they also create and run them. The most prominent among these are Americans for Prosperity, the Cato Institute, and the Mercatus Center. Each one of these groups has either spread misinformation about climate change or lobbied hard against environmental action.

  • Having paid more than $50 million in fines for violating the Clean Air Act, Koch Industries has used the Koch brothers' vast network of think tanks to fight for the removal of the Act.

  • In late 2000, as the Clinton administration was preparing to leave, Koch was served with a 97-count indictment for covering up the discharge of more than fifteen times the legal limit of benzene, a known carcinogen, from an oil refinery in Corpus Christi, Texas.  The company faced penalties of more than $350 million and four employees were criminally charged, facing up to 35 years in prison.  Three months after the Bush administration took office the case was settled out of court.  Koch Industries agreed to pay $20 million and plead guilty to one count of concealment of information; in return, the Justice Department dropped all criminal charges against Koch and its employees.  In the 2000 elections, Koch contributed more than $424,000 (roughly 80% of Koch's contributions for the election cycle) to Republican candidates, including presidential nominee George W. Bush.

  • Koch Industries has no official stance on climate change, however, an Intermountain Rural Electric Association (IREA) memo from 2006 provides the most authoritative information of Koch's position on climate change.  The 2006 IREA letter was created in order to drum up support within the coalition against "global warming alarmists". 

    Within the letter, the IREA states "there are other groups that are interested in the issue of global warming and the concerns about its costs."  The letter goes on to say that Koch was working with American Electric Power (AEP) and the Southern Company to produce a film to counteract An Inconvenient Truth.  Even more, the IREA explains that Koch had decided to finance a coalition on the issue.  The coalition was to be administered by the National Association of Manufacturers.

    Finally, the IREA explicitly links Koch to the global warming denialist circle when it declares, "we have met with Koch, CEI and Dr. [Patrick] Michaels, and they meet among themselves periodically to discuss their [global warming] activities."

  • The Koch brothers have been identified as the major supporters of a secretive conservative funding group, Donors Trust. In 2013, it was revealed that Donors Trust is the biggest financier of climate denier groups in the world. According to The Guardian newspaper, Donors Trust, thanks to anonymous donations from the Koch's and others, dispersed nearly $120 million funding to climate denial groups between 2002 and 2010.


Watch the movie. Then take action. Expose the Bastards. Demand the U.S. Congress investigate the lies and manipulation. 

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Bad Guys
"Greedy Lying Bastards" investigates the reason behind stalled efforts to tackle climate change despite consensus in the scientific community that it is not only a reality but also a growing problem placing us on the brink of disaster.