Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Here's A Real SOB (Son Of A Bircher) — Koch Zero (William Koch)

This blogger didn't realize it at the time, but his favorite person of wealth was Scrooge McDuck — who, like Andrew Carnegie — was childless. One of the founders of the John Birch Society, Fred Koch, was more fecund and has afflicted us with his disgusting offspring: Charles, David, and William; the eldest Koch brother, Frederick is non-political. If only the young Koch siblings emulated their eldest brother and not their father.... If this is (fair & balanced) wistful thinking, so be it.

[x Salon]
Meet The other Koch Brother, William
By Michael Beckel

Tag Cloud of the following piece of writing

created at TagCrowd.com

Billionaire businessman William Koch once operated green energy plants on multiple continents and had a reputation for being more politically moderate than his better-known brothers, Charles and David — the principal owners of Koch Industries, Inc.

But William now rejects the “apocalypse of global warming.” He says investing in alternative energy is “foolhardy.” And ahead of the 2012 election, he criticized President Barack Obama for trying to “socialize” the country.

Koch is putting his fortune where his mouth is and is also using his companies’ funds to do so. He has spent millions of dollars to aid politicians he sees as more business-friendly and to fight the Obama administration’s moves to combat climate change, which could mean costly new regulations for Koch’s expansive Oxbow Carbon LLC business network.

Unlike his brothers who have favored politically active nonprofits as their vehicles of choice to back conservative causes, William Koch has poured resources into super PACs, with millions of dollars coming straight from the corporate treasuries of his firms. Meanwhile, donations from his company’s traditional political action committee are at an all-time high — as are Oxbow’s lobbying expenditures.

“Energy companies see a threat to their bottom line and they are taking action,” political analyst Kyle Kondik of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics told the Center for Public Integrity. “Whatever way they can influence the process, that’s what they’re going to do.”

At the vanguard

Very few large companies took advantage of the more liberal campaign finance system that emerged following the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision in 2010 the way Koch’s Oxbow Carbon LLC did.

The decision allowed corporations to use treasury funds to pay for expenditures that call for the election or defeat of a candidates — or give them to intermediaries, like super PACs.

In 2012, Oxbow was at the vanguard, contributing millions to Republican super PACs — more than nearly any other company. Oxbow, along with Huron Carbon LLC, another of Koch’s companies, contributed $4.35 million to GOP super PACs, according to a Center for Public Integrity analysis of federal records.

The vast majority of that sum — $3.75 million — went to Restore Our Future, the main super PAC supporting Republican Mitt Romney’s unsuccessful presidential bid. Meanwhile, $500,000 went to a group that backed former Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., known as the America 360 Committee.

Another $100,000 went to a Florida-based organization called Freedom PAC, which spent money on behalf of then-Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., and Republican U.S. Senate candidate Connie Mack IV.

(Click to see our visualization of political giving by Koch and his companies going back to 1989.)

Through Oxbow spokesman Brad Goldstein, Koch declined an interview for this story. But earlier this year, Koch told Massachusetts-based CommonWealth magazine that “a lot of our business is influenced regularly by government, too damn much by government. And so we have to play in that game.”

In 2011, Goldstein told The Village Voice that the Obama administration “has made it extremely difficult for businesses to operate.” Koch himself used even stronger language in a 2012 interview with the Cape Cod Times. “I think Obama’s trying to socialize this country,” he said.

Koch also argued to CommonWealth that the renewable energy industry is only profitable when big government gets involved: “The alternative energy business is uneconomical unless you get a government subsidy or a government-enforced contract,” he said.

Florida-based empire

Oxbow Carbon LLC, which is described in government records as the “holding company for all Oxbow business,” has interests in natural gas, coal, petroleum coke and sulfur, among other natural resources. (Petroleum coke is a byproduct of oil refining, which is used to manufacture steel and aluminum, and Oxbow is one of the leading companies in the industry.)

Its corporate headquarters are in Palm Beach, Fla., but its operations span the globe. Including its subsidiaries and related companies, Oxbow’s annual sales exceed $4 billion, and it employs more than 1,000 workers worldwide.

A related company, Oxbow Mining LLC, owns and operates the Elk Creek coal mine in Colorado. And another Koch company, Oxbow Carbon and Minerals LLC, has sold significant amounts of coal over the years to both the U.S. Department of Defense and Tennessee Valley Authority.

This relationship prompted controversy when Koch’s companies began giving millions of dollars to GOP super PACs, as federal contractors are prohibited from making such donations.

When the Los Angeles Times raised questions about the contribution ban faced by federal contractors, Goldstein, the Oxbow spokesman, maintained that Koch’s companies were on the right side of the law.

“I can say without equivocation that Oxbow Carbon LLC is not a federal contractor,” Goldstein wrote in an email to the Times.

Billy the Kid and Katy Perry

Koch, who is the 92nd-richest person in the United States according to Forbes, is Oxbow Carbon LLC’s founder, president and chief executive officer. While he may not have the same profile in political circles as his brothers — who are tied for fourth among the richest Americans according to Forbes — he’s arguably more colorful. Ω

[Michael Beckel joined the Center for Public Integrity as a politics reporter in February 2012, where his focus is super PACs and the influence of money on elections. He previously worked for three years as the money-in-politics reporter for the Center for Responsive Politics. Earlier, he completed a yearlong editorial fellowship with Mother Jones magazine, wrote for two alternative newsweeklies in Colorado and performed legislative research at Project Vote Smart. Beckel is a graduate of Colorado College.]

Copyright © 2013 Salon Media Group

Creative Commons License
Sapper's (Fair & Balanced) Rants & Raves by Neil Sapper is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Based on a work at sapper.blogspot.com. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available here.

Copyright © 2013 Sapper's (Fair & Balanced) Rants & Raves