Billionaire brothers are funding climate change skeptics and Tea Party

The very rich funding political causes is not new, but the billionaire Koch Brothers are finally getting much deserved publicity-

That money is the “mothers milk of politics” is well known, but the identify of the mothers often isn’t. In recent years the role of really rich people funding their causes has mushroomed.  Rightwingers will point to George Soros, for example.

David and Charles Koch, the billionaires who own privately-held Koch Industries are not well known, however. A recent piece on their lavish funding of Tea Party organizations and various climate change deniers was profiled in the New Yorker magazine. Now many other media are investigating.

The Brothers have given a million dollars to advance prop 23 in California that would repeal the state’s landmark climate change legislation. Others tied closed to traditional oil and gas such as Valero Energy and Tesoro Corp are propping up the effort to kill off progress.  Story: Koch Industries Donates $1 Million To Kill California Climate Law. By Brendan DeMelle. Huffington Post.

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Added. Article about Koch Industries.The company was started in 1927 by Fred Koch, a charter member of the John Birch Society, with an oil delivery business in Texas.”

More on the long reach of the Koch Brothers. Is Nova Catering to Its Anti-Science Sugar Daddy? 09/08/2010 by Jim Naureckas. FAIR. It’s about the program NOVA and David Koch.





  1. Maska Avatar

    Just imagine what these guys can do in the wake of the Citizens United decision!

  2. william huard Avatar
    william huard

    I can see the Brawny man running for cover. The two idiot sons would be safely aboard a private jet just as Manhattan falls into the ocean due to climate change!

  3. william huard Avatar
    william huard

    Boy those Texas boys really stick together. I think the dropping of 88 environmental crime charges pretty much summed up Bush environmental policy. After all it’s just the environment, always gettin the way of business.

  4. Salle Avatar

    I bet they are probably friends of Rupert Murdoch as well. It seems almost as though the SC had them in mind when it made that ruling. Custom made best democracy money can buy… wait, that was a book that came out a few years ago…

  5. Matt Avatar

    a much more in-depth article on the brothers Koch:

  6. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    Amazing how people can deny climate change. Do they think gravity exists as well?

  7. Jon Way Avatar
    Jon Way

    Yet the real kicker is that they probably are the first ones to get access to our advanced medicine and health care systems, which have their own roots in the same scientific method that supports human-caused climate change.

  8. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Jon Way,

    In the same vein, one of the Koch Brothers is a big supporter of research in curing prostate cancer. He had prostate cancer. He has given a great deal of money to researching a cure.

    Is he really a selfless giver? I’d say this confirms his worldview that society and government should work exclusively for his self interest.

    Being a polluter, he doesn’t was government enforcing pollution laws; being a greedy person, he hates minimum wages; having had prostate cancer, he wants a cure discovered.

    1. william huard Avatar
      william huard

      The shocking thing about that world view is that no one is entitled to anything but them. If you are unemployed you are lazy, if you don’t have health care you don’t deserve it.

      1. Jon Way Avatar
        Jon Way

        And I wonder if his being a polluter helped cause the cancer. Now that would be full circle if I have ever heard of an example.
        Instead of cheaply cleaning up and not causing others to get toxic elements/waste, he would rather find a cure for the disease…

      2. Ralph Maughan Avatar

        Jon Way,

        I doubt that the relationship between pollution and cancer occurred to the brothers, or perhaps they thought they could move to a clean place for billionaires.

        They are libertarian economic individualists. The trouble with these folks is they don’t see the organic interconnection among things.

  9. Nathan Hobbs Avatar
    Nathan Hobbs

    I read this year that 2010 elections are set to be the most expensive campaigns ever.
    What a waste of money just imagine if we put this money to work on causes all (or the vast majority of us) could agree upon!

  10. Jimt Avatar

    A so so review of a book called Invisible Hands that exposes just how strong the historic connection is between industrialists and the conservative political movements such as the John Birch Society, and the present Day Tea Party. Koch Brothers seem to be the latest, along with Murdoch, in a long line that goes back to Standard Oil days. Maybe worth a read…

    I think I would add “amoral” to your description above, Ralph.

  11. WM Avatar

    If I recall correctly one of the Koch brothers turned on the others to file a whistleblower (aka qui tam) law suit for fraud against the federal government and certain Indian tribes back in the late 1990’s. It seems Koch systematically over a period of years under-represented the amount and quality of natural gas/petroleum they were extracting on public land and tribal sovereign land leases. This meant the government and tribal lessors got much less in royalties than they should have. It is, in effect, theft. At least one lawsuit resulted in a jury verdict against Koch, and a huge dollar verdict, which was later settled for something less while the case was on appeal.

    1. JimT Avatar

      If I remember, that law provides up to a 30% recovery benefit to the person filing the suit if fraud is proven.

      1. WM Avatar

        Koch brothers eating their own. Reminds me of the 80’s TV series, “Dallas.”

  12. RLMiller Avatar

    People interested in climate (including me) have known about the Koch Bros for a long time, but they’ve flown under the radar of the mainstream media. Now that they’re out in the open, I expect to see some organized boycott efforts. Among others, they own Georgia-Pacific and thus a lot of disposable paper products (Brawny, Angel Soft, etc), and some outdoor-enthusiast fabrics (Polarguard, CoolMax, etc).

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar


      Thanks for the link. I had been trying to figure out more of the products they made.

    2. Paul White Avatar
      Paul White

      *THEY* own outdoor clothing fabric companies?? WTH? THat’s wrong sick and twisted.

  13. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    I added another new link to the story on the Koch Brothers.

    “Is Nova Catering to Its Anti-Science Sugar Daddy?”
    09/08/2010 by Jim Naureckas


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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