Pro-Koch Op-ed Betrays Claim of "journalistic integrity"

  • Posted on: 9 February 2011
  • By: Connor Gibson

Stephen Moore--Wall Street Journal editorial board member and senior economics writer

Koch Industries, which has dumped tens of millions of dollars into organizations that deny climate science, also wields its influence through a network of media operatives that are now shielding the private conglomorate from criticism.

Industry: 

Koch Brothers media manipulation: propaganda and hired thugs

  • Posted on: 4 February 2011
  • By: Connor Gibson

David and Julia Koch watch hundreds of protestors speak out against the pollution of democracy by the oily few for the oily few. Photo credit.

Industry: 

Tom Hassenboehler

Status: 
Revolving Door Lobbyist and Climate Denier
Image Caption: 

Position: 
Chief Council, Energy and Power Subcommittee

Law Clerk - Keogh, Cox and Wilson, Attys at Law, 2001
Law Clerk - Tayler Porters Brooks & Phillips, LLP, 2001
Legislative Correspondent - rep. Bob Riley (R-AL), 2002
Executive Recruiter - The Direct Impact Company, Alexandria Va, 2003
Legislative Assistant - rep. Billy Tauzin (R-LA), 2003-2004
Counsel for Joe Barton (R-TX) – House Energy and Commerce Committee 2004-2008
Minority Counsel for ranking member James Inhofe (R-OK) - Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works 2008-2010

Evidence: 

Tom Hassenboehler was hired as Chief Council to the Energy and Power Subcomittee by the Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., in 2012.

Hassenboehler was paid $138,289.44 by the Federal Government in 2010

Hassenboehler supported climate denier James Inhofe’s trip to Copenhagen, where Inhofe hoped to prove that climate change was the “the second-largest hoax ever played on the American people, after the separation of church and state.”

Hassenboehler played a major role in working to derail efforts by Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and former Sen. John Warner (R-Va.) to pass a cap-and-trade bill in 2008. “He joined just before Lieberman-Warner cap-and-trade bill hit the floor and was instrumental in working to defeat it,” Matt Dempsey, Inhofe’s spokesman, said.

As a counsel on the House Energy and Commerce Commitee for rep. Joe Barton, Hassenboehler made several trips funded by the natural gas interests he then represented as a lobbyist.

Hassenboehler wrote a letter to the EPA opposing the Waxman-Markey climate legislation and questioning the existence and science behind global warming.

Hassenboehler was employed by America’s Natural Gas alliance (ANGA), which is an alliance of 31 independent natural gas companies.  ANGA was formed in March 2009 because industry executives feared climate legislation would disadvantage the fuel compared with competitors. The group beefed up lobbying in the Senate after the House-passed climate bill gave a boost to coal-fired power plants.

ANGA has hired multiple high level republican staffers since the 2010 election, which gave republicans control of Congress.
 

Quotes: 

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Prominent Tea Party Activist Realizes She is a Prop for Americans for Prosperity

  • Posted on: 7 January 2011
  • By: JesseColeman

I Am a Prop!

Tim Phillips and Gena Bell in a PR stunt.

A recent Washington Post article chronicles the AFP-funded journey of one prominent tea party activist to Cancun for the UN Climate Conference.  Once there it didn’t take long for her to realize that Tim Phillips and AFP were using her as a backdrop to give AFP the veneer of honest populist activism.  The Post writes:

Industry: 

Americans for Prosperity

Image Caption: 

Address: 

2111 WILSON BLVD - SUITE 350 - ARLINGTON, VA 22201

Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is an astroturf front group started by oil billionaire David Koch and Richard Fink (a member of the board of directors of Koch Industries) in 2003. AFP works together with the Koch family’s other conservative foundations promoting right wing and libertarian causes.

Evidence: 


AFP funding
went from $7 million in 2008 to $16.3 million in 2009 to a $40 million in 2010 to $50 million in 2011.

Americans for Prosperity has reported spending a total of $1,322,058 on independent campaigning through October 2010, with 96% benefiting Republican candidates.

Americans for Prosperity and its sister organization, Americans for Prosperity Foundation, have 31 state chapters that are active players in organizing Tea Party demonstrations, training activists, and bussing in speakers and participants.

AFP orchestrated the anti-Obama, anti-tax tea party protests beginning in April of 2009.  AFP continues to organize tea party rallies currently, bussing speakers and participants all over the country.

According to Jane Mayer in The New Yorker, Americans for Prosperity and its foundation plan to spend $45 million on “some fifty House races and half a dozen Senate races, staging rallies, organizing door-to-door canvassing, and running ads aimed at “educating voters about where candidates stand.”

AFP was involved in the attacks on Obama’s "green jobs" czar, Van Jones, and has crusaded against international climate talks.

AFP has enthusiastically promoted global warming denial and attacked environmental regulation with a series of national PR campaigns.  AFP’s  "Hot Air Tour,” a national tour that calls predictions of global warming “hysteria,” labels cap and trade legislation a “climate tax,” and features a hot air balloon, is one such stunt.

AFP also runs the website No Climate Tax, which exhorts citizens to send a message to federal and state lawmakers urging them to sign the No Climate Tax Pledge.

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, AFP has positioned itself as a conduit for corporate money entering political campaigns.  Americans for Prosperity spent $6 million in ads attacking democratic incumbents in the 2010 elections.

AFP director Art Pope is an ex-legislator in North Carolina who has been dubbed "The Knight of the Right" by Raleigh News and Observer journalist Rob Christensen. Pope has spent $24.1 million (1997-2008) on organizations  that deny climate change science including Americans for Prosperity, which has received over one millions dollars from Pope's family foundation. In addition to money from Art Pope's John William Pope foundation, AFP also received money from the Lynde and Harry Bradley foundation, of which Art Pope is a board member.

Americans for Prosperity Vice President Alan Cobb was the “director of Kansas Public Affairs for Koch Industries,” and is the lead policy maker at led two pro-corporate front groups: The Free Enterprise Fund and The Internet Freedom Coalition.

AFP advocates pro-tobacco industry positions on issues like cigarette taxes and clean indoor air laws.

AFP’s highest paid independent contractor in 2009 was FLS Connect, one of the largest GOP pollsters and fundraisers.  FLS Connect is a side project of the right wing PR firm DCI Group, which specializes in creating astroturf support for corporate interests and is responsible for organizing climate denial front groups such as Tech Central Station. FLS Connect received well over $100,000 in fees from AFP in 2009. FLS Connect and the DCI Group are “sister companies” says Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor party chairman Brian Melendez.  FLS Connect was originally incorporated in 1999 as Feather, Hodges, Larson & Synhorst, according to filings with the Arizona Corporation Commission. In 2001 the firm’s name was changed to FLS-DCI. Then in 2006 the company’s moniker was switched to FLS Connect. Synhorst is a founder and current chairman of the DCI Group, while Feather worked as a lobbyist for the firm from 2001 to 2006. “It’s basically the same group of people who have established and run both organizations” says Menendez.

In conjunction with political donations from Koch Industries to Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Americans for Prosperity has coordinated support for the Governor's union busting efforts. Wisconsin's budget crisis has been inflamed by corporate tax cuts initiated by Gov. Walker, who then used the lack of income to justify taking bargaining rights from Wisconsin union workers and cutting the salaries and benefits of state employees. Koch Industries holds numerous business operations in Wisconsin.

In March, 2011, Americans for Prosperity sent memos to U.S. senators to support an attack on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's lawful regulation of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. An amendment introduced by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to a small business bill, based on anti-climate legislation authored by Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), was introduced as a partisan tactic with low likelihood for success, although other amendments on the table would also threaten the EPA's ability to curb the consequences of climate change. AFP's effort was complimented by advertisements run by the National Association of Manufacturers and the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity.

Silobreaker Map: 
Industry: 

Tim Phillips

Status: 
“We need to keep taking back victimhood.”
Image Caption: 

Position: 
President

Chief of Staff to Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) 1992-1996
Co-founder and Vice President of Century Strategies 1997-2006
President of Americans for Prosperity and Americans for Prosperity Foundation 2006-present

Evidence: 

Phillips co-founded Century Strategies (along with Ralph Reed), a company that offered business consulting, political and campaign consulting, and direct mail services.  According to the The National Journal, Century Strategies has "raked in millions of dollars by mounting grassroots lobbying drives and other campaigns—as well as doing some inside-the-Beltway advocacy—for two dozen or so Fortune 100 companies and lesser-known enterprises.”

Phillips spearheaded Century Strategies’ campaign for George W Bush during the 2000 GOP primary and general election. Beginning in 1999 and continuing through the election, Century provided direct mail, telemarketing, coalition building and strategic services to Bush for President.

While Phillips was vice president, Jack Abramoff hired Century Strategies to organize a coalition to block Native American tribes in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas from creating casinos that would drive gamblers away from the casinos Abramoff's clients owned. According to the Washington Post, Century Strategies was paid as much as $4 million for its work opposing several tribal casinos in southern states from 2001 to 2003.

Century Strategies’ laundered the money Abramoff paid them through the Faith and Family Alliance, a political advocacy group that was founded by Phillips.  Robin Vanderwall, the director of the Faith and Family Alliance, has stated he "was operating a shell."

Century Strategies’ first big client was Enron, which hired Phillips to mobilize "religious leaders and pro-family groups" to generate support for energy deregulation in Congress and in state assemblies. Phillips and Ralph Reed, co-founder of Century Strategies, used multiple mediums including advertising on conservative talk shows, placing op-eds from community leaders in major newspapers, and having major political campaign contributors press members of Congress to pass the favorable legislation. It is estimated Enron paid Century Strategies $380,000 for its services.  Phillips and Century Strategies worked for Enron from 1997 to 2001.

Phillips is the president of the Koch funded front groups Americans for Prosperity (AFP) and Americans for Prosperity Foundation.  Since Phillips took over as president of the AFP in 2006, the organization has expanded to over 17 states and has increased its membership to 700,000.  In 2007, Phillips earned $250,000 as President of AFP.

Through AFP, Phillips has enthusiastically promoted global warming denial and attacked environmental regulation with a series of national PR campaigns.  AFP’s  "Hot Air Tour,” a national tour that calls predictions of global warming “hysteria,” labels cap and trade legislation a “climate tax,” and features a hot air balloon is one such stunt.

AFP also runs the website No Climate Tax, which exhorts citizens to send a message to federal and state lawmakers urging them to sign the No Climate Tax Pledge.

Other astroturf organizations conceived by Phillips under the AFP banner include:

  • “Free Our Energy,” a group promoting increased domestic drilling, the
  • “Save My Ballot Tour,” a group that pays Joe the Plumber to travel around the country smearing the Employee Free Choice Act, and
  • “No Stimulus” a group launched to try to stop the passage of the Recovery Act.

AFP and Phillips have also been instrumental in orchestrating the anti-Obama, anti-tax tea party protests in April of 2009.

Phillips and AFP are also heavily involved in the tea party movement, organizing rallies and bussing in speakers and participants.

In the wake of Citizens United, Phillips has positioned AFP as a conduit for corporate money entering political campaigns.  Americans for Prosperity spent $6 million in ads attacking democratic incumbents in the 2010 elections.

According to Jane Mayer in The New Yorker, Americans for Prosperity and its foundation plan to spend $45 million on “some fifty House races and half a dozen Senate races, staging rallies, organizing door-to-door canvassing, and running ads aimed at ‘educating voters about where candidates stand.’”

 

Quotes: 

If we win the science argument, I think it’s game, set, and match

“[AFP] is not a corporate front group

“Our busses are a really good prop…A good way to dramatize the healthcare debate.”

"We need to keep taking back victimhood." - Bloomberg Politics, 11/17/2014

 

Industry: 

EPA Dramatically Inflates Economic Benefits of Recycling Coal Ash

  • Posted on: 3 January 2011
  • By: Connor Gibson

Bobby Ray Inman

Status: 
"Zealots often carry the day"
Image Caption: 

Position: 
Non-Executive Chairman

Director of Naval Intelligence from September 1974 to July 1976
Vice Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency until 1977
Director of the National Security Agency until 1981
Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, February 12, 1981 to June 10, 1982.
Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas from 1987 through 1990
Board of Directors, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), 1982 to 2003
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Microelectronics and Computer Technology Corporation

Evidence: 

In December 2010, Massey Energy's Board of Directors announced that its Chairman and CEO, Don Blankenship, would retire from the company at the end of 2010. Company president Baxter F. Phillips Jr. was named as the new CEO. Admiral Bobby Ray Inman, Lead Independent Director on the Massey Board, was named as Non-Executive Chairman.

Inman has served on the board of Virginia-based Massey since 1985 — making him the longest-serving board member by far — and is the lead independent director of the company, which has a record of violating safety and environmental rules. Between 2006 and 2008, according to the latest company filings available, he earned more than $1 million in cash, stock and other compensation.

Shortly after the Upper Big Branch mine disaster Inman blamed labor unions for the accident.  He also blamed the large amount of citations UBB accumulated prior to the explosion on an effort by the government to target Massey's non-union mines.

Inman was announced as President Bill Clinton's choice to succeed Les Aspin as Secretary of Defense on December 16, 1993, initially receiving broad bipartisan support. He accepted the post at first, but withdrew his nomination during an unusual press conference on January 18, 1994 that shocked members of both major political parties.

Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) SAIC is one of the largest private employee-owned corporations and escapes scrutiny because it is privately owned, despite annual revenues of more than $8 billion.

In 1990, while Inman was on the Board of Directors, SAIC was indicted and pled guilty to ten felony counts of fraud on a Superfund site, called "one of the largest of environmental frauds…" in Los Angeles history.

DOE contracted SAIC to manage and operate the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste storage program

Quotes: 

"[Blankenship] is without a question the best coal miner in the business."

"My anger level is pretty high for the disinformation pushed by unions, I'm a political independent, but this is enough to make a tea partier out of me."

"I'm opening up a hornet's nest."

 

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