the heritage foundation koch brothers

Now, with grants from Charles Koch and other conservative donors, You can find his bylines on tough-talking Heritage Foundation policy. The company is run by the billionaire libertarian brothers Charles and David nonprofits, private companies and political-action committees that fund. Promoting an American public policy based on individual liberty, limited government, free markets and peaceful international relations.

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In 1964, US Surgeon General Luther Terry released a landmark report that would drastically change American society. Having reviewed over 7,000 articles on smoking and disease, he confidently concluded that cigarettes were indeed causing a lung cancer epidemic that was impossible to ignore.

This reality may have dismayed tobacco industry executives, but it definitely didn’t stop them from carrying on business as usual.

In fact, in a radical effort to protect their product, cigarette companies launched a massive misinformation campaign that successfully shrouded the truth for years. These companies used their soaring budgets to create industrial-grade doubt, suppressing life-saving sciencein the process.

The craziest part of that story? That today the exact same scenario is unfolding before our eyes. Fossil fuel interests are using the same strategies (and even strategists!) that the cigarette industry once used to deceive the public and protect their profits.

The difference? This time around, it's not just smokers’ lives in danger. It’s everyone’s – and the stakes could not be higher. Just as this past June and July were recorded as the hottest ever, the climate denial machine continues to churn out junk-science, protecting what should be a fossilized dirty-energy industry.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE DENIAL MACHINE

If that was a surprise, now might be a good time to grab your seat. The shocking truth is that this denial machine has been shaping public and political opinion on climate change since the 1970s.

It all began with Exxon Mobil.

Decades ago, the company’s own scientists confirmed that carbon emissions were indeed warming our planet. As an internal report produced by Exxon researcher James Black from 1978 states, “A doubling of carbon dioxide is estimated to be capable of increasing the average global temperature by from 1° to 3°C, with a 10°C rise predicted at the poles.”

Realizing that their product was on the line, Exxon Mobil began pushing forward a multimillion-dollar misinformation campaign to cast doubt on well-established science. So well-established in fact, even all those decades ago, that the company was using the same climate models it publicly attacked to plan future operations in the Arctic — a region they knew would become cheaper to drill as temperatures rose and sea ice rapidly melted.

Exxon might have been a pioneering denier, but they were not alone. As the 1980s and 1990s carried on, a slew of other corporations joined this war against science.

Notably, at a 1980 American Petroleum Institute meeting, representatives from companies including Exxon, Texaco, and Shell concluded that as a “likely impact,” by 2005 we would see 1 degree Celsius of warming. They also concluded that by 2038 we would see 2.5 degrees of warming causing “major economic consequences,” and that by 2067 we would face a 5 degree rise with “globally catastrophic effects.”

In spite of knowing that, for every action the world took to address the crisis, the fossil fuel industry presented an equal and opposite reaction – constantly finding new ways to cloud the truth. Ultimately, these efforts produced the deeply-rooted denial machine we face today.

HOW IT ALL WORKS

It’s not easy to shape public opinion when the facts are against you. So, the industry began attacking the facts, creating an alternate universe where decades of rising CO2 and rising temperatures had nothing to do with each other and scientists who claimed that we had to act were alarmists not to be trusted.

Getting enough people to join them in that universe, well, that took some work.

Their effort ultimately produced a full-on denial machine: a huge, sprawling network of talking heads, front groups, and faux-research built to persuade people that we have nothing to worry about.

To understand how it all comes together, it’s worth looking at the five key parts.

The Fuel: Fossil Fuel Industry Funding

In order to run, any machine needs fuel. In the case of this denial machine, that fuel is money – and lots of it. The source? A fossil fuel industry that desperately wants to prolong our dependence on its product.

Given that so many of the world’s most profitable companies produce oil, coal, or natural gas, it should be no surprise that these companies have plenty of "fuel" to keep the denial machine running.

To be exact, a 2019 Influence Map report found that “the five largest publicly-traded oil and gas majors (ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron, BP, and Total) have invested over $1Bn of shareholder funds in the three years following the Paris Agreement on misleading climate-related branding and lobbying.”

It’s clear that this climate denial machine isn’t running out of funds soon – that is, unless we do something about it.

The Story: Right-Wing Think Tanks

It’s all but a truism these days that if you really want to change someone’s mind in a big way, you don’t give them a single fact or point to a contradiction in an argument. You tell them a story that gives them a new worldview.

That’s exactly what the fossil fuel industry tried to do. Only it had to look respectable. If the industry wanted to discredit real science that said troubling things about its product, it had to create an alternative worldview with something that looked like science.

Something that said: burning fossil fuels isn't the cause of rising temperatures, and even if it is, it really isn’t that bad.

Creating this worldview came down to the faux-research and white papers of right-wing anti-environmental regulation think tanks. Groups like the Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation, and the Heartland Institute, which are funded and often even created by fossil fuel companies, produce the “science” the machine shows the world to rationalize its actions. bok financial correspondent mortgage services As Kert Davies, director of the Climate Investigations Center noted, “you can definitely credit Exxon and Koch brothers' money for giving the think tanks the megaphone to keep climate science denial in the world.”

He’s right.

Without fake research to frame denial, how else could the industry even pretend to fight real science? Knowing the reason why these think tanks exist, it's not surprising that “90% of skeptical or denialist climate change papers in the United States originate from right-wing think tanks.” The sole purpose behind many of these groups is, after all, producing that skepticism.

The Veneer of Respectability: Climate Denier Scientists

The fossil fuel industry didn’t stop with think tanks. It even directly funded scientists who deny climate change.

As a Washington Post article explains, “in the 1990s, oil companies, fossil fuel industry trade groups and their respective PR firms began positioning contrarian scientists such as Willie Soon, William Happer and David Legates as experts whose opinions on climate change should be considered equal and opposite to that of climate scientists.”

A vital part of the denial machine really was, and continues to be, these contrarian climate scientists. Vital, because it works. After all, for most people with busy lives who don’t spend every minute focused on climate, seeing a name or face in the news with “Scientist” or “PhD” attached is enough to give their opinion a veneer of respectability.

The contrarian voice of these funded-skeptics hides the fact that basically the entire scientific community agrees the crisis is real and caused by humans, promoting the myth of disagreement.

The Illusion of Support: Front Groups and Astroturf Organizations

Once the fossil fuel industry has built a foundation of fraud-science on which to stand, it proceeds to spread that misinformation as far and wide as possible. The problem it faces, however, is that it must do so discreetly and away from the eyes of the public.

That’s where front groups and astroturfing enters the picture.

In order to appear uninvolved with the spread of climate-change denial, the machine deploys groups such as the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) to lobby and petition on its behalf. Using the fake science that right-wing think tanks produce, these third-party groups push pro-fossil fuel policies on government officials at every level, all across the US.

Astroturf groups use a similar strategy, but instead their main purpose is to simulate public disdain. This tactic gives the false illusion that far more people oppose climate solutions like wind and carbon pricing than actually do.

Regardless of their different approaches, both of these groups serve one purpose: to push forward the agenda of the fossil fuel interests that fund them. They may be who we see opposing climate action, but Big Oil, Big Coal, and Big Gas are the ones pulling the strings. 

THE MACHINE IN MOTION

So, with this knowledge, what the heritage foundation koch brothers some examples of the climate denial machine acting in our world?

The Koch-funded think tank Heartland Institute is a prime example. One stunning step it’s taken is creating the NIPCC: a denier-scientist spinoff of the world-renowned IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). It’s got the official-looking acronym that could easily fool someone into thinking it’s a legitimate organization speaking for the scientific community. Only problem is – as The Government Accountability Project notes – it has no real legitimacy or science:

The discredited Heartland Institute is attempting to present its new NIPCC report, Climate Change Reconsidered, as a legitimate alternative authority to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). But the NIPCC report is not a credible scientific undertaking, and the Heartland Institute has no credibility, scientific or otherwise.

We really couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

Observing another Koch-funded group, Americans for Prosperity, also shows the climate denial machine in action. This organization, which carries out textbook “astroturfing” (pretending to be a people-driven grassroots movement), is a front for its funders and creators — the oil and gas industry.

The New York Times describes how “Koch controls a ‘boots on the ground’ army in the form of Americans for Prosperity, a network of employees and volunteers who knock on doors, attend rallies to protest climate change legislation, and visit the offices of any lawmakers who seem likely to cross Koch Industries.”

These organizations, which disguise themselves as advocates for the rights of average people, are just extensions of the fossil-fuel industry’s recklessly anti-regulation agenda.

If groups like the Heartland Institute and Americans for Prosperity really were built by people and for people, they wouldn’t support trading the hospitable climate we all depend on to prolong a lucrative business climate for so few. Funding groups like these is ultimately how Big Oil, Big Coal, and Big Gas continue obstructing urgently-needed emissions reductions – all while remaining hidden behind the scenes.

Источник: https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/climate-denial-machine-how-fossil-fuel-industry-blocks-climate-action

Koch-Funded Think Tanks The heritage foundation koch brothers Lobbying to Send Workers to Their Deaths

Amid this climate, a small army of right-wing think tanks and conservative organizations is cynically invoking the plight of the downtrodden to make the case for swiftly reopening the economy and sending workers into deadly conditions. Some of the organizations beating this drum the loudest — the Heritage Foundation, Americans for Prosperity (AFP), and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) — are behind the most anti-worker measures of our times, from the anti-union Janus Supreme Court ruling to the Trump administration’s work requirements for food stamps. As Trump, the GOP, CEOs and now billionaire-backed​“protesters” call for the economy to reopen, these think tanks are working fervently behind the scenes, crafting talking points, speaking with legislators and building coalitions aimed at boosting Wall Street’s profits, at the expense of ordinary people.

“The people running these organizations are going to remain safely ensconced in gated mansions with little danger of getting infected themselves, while they make millions of Americans go back to work standing shoulder to shoulder,” Carl Rosen, general president for the UE union (United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America), told In These Times.

On April 16, Kay Coles James, the president of the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank, praised President Trump for issuing guidelines for states to reopen their economies in three phases. ​“The administration is rightly working to restore livelihoods in the midst of catastrophic job losses while also taking care to balance Americans’ health and safety,” said James. ​“The Heritage Foundation’s National Coronavirus Recovery Commission is also working quickly to deliver additional recommendations to governments at every level, the private sector, and churches, charities, and other parts of civil society on a pathway to reopen America.”

James was listed as a thought leader on Trump’s dubious ​“Great American Economic Revival Industry Groups” — likely at least partially a P.R. stunt, but nonetheless, a measure of influence and power. For the Heritage Foundation, it’s a sign that the organization’s campaign to reopen the economy might be paying off. The group announced a ​“National Coronavirus Recovery Commission” on April 6 and, soon after, issued a five-phase plan for reopening America. According to the Washington Post, the Heritage Foundation is working with other conservative groups including FreedomWorks and ALEC as part of an informal ​“Save Our Country” coalition aimed at reopening the economy. With funding from the Koch Foundation, ExxonMobile and a bevy of wealthy donors, the Heritage Foundation is at the center of political efforts to prematurely restart the economy.

Remarkably, the organization is citing the well-being of the poor people it wants to send into treacherous conditions when issuing this call. On April 13, James declared,​“Keeping the American people at work and prosperous is what will produce better health outcomes for our citizens. A growing economy has the money for research and development into new medical innovations and cures; has more resources to better educate and train medical personnel; and creates greater capacities of beds, equipment, medicines, and personnel to handle the sick. It’s also an economy where abundance allows us to have the resources to help poorer citizens get the medical help that they need.” In other words, she is arguing that reopening the economy will make people sick, but market forces will somehow offset this catastrophe by providing the things we need to treat them — a claim made without evidence, and against the advice of epidemiological experts.

This insistence on sending workers into treacherous conditions ​“for their own good” stems directly from the organization’s history. The Heritage Foundation was heavily influential in the Reagan administration and right-wing Tea Party movement, and was a major influencer in the Trump administration’s transition team. It is vehemently anti-union, a fierce opponent of a $15 minimum wage, a fervent supporter of the 2018Janus ruling, which pummelled public-sector unions, and a proponent of so-called right-to-work laws, which say workers don’t have to pay dues to the unions that represent them. Heritage has made gutting public programs for the poor a central focus throughout its existence, and opposes expanding healthcare access.

The organization saw one of its cruelest agenda items come to fruition in December of 2019, when the Trump administration placed further restrictions on who can receive assistance from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as food stamps, declaring that able-bodied adults without children in places that have an unemployment rate below 10% have to work 20 hours a week to qualify. This rule was approved by Trump despite warnings that 700,000 people would lose their food stamps. Maggie Dickinson, a researcher who studied SNAP in New York City from 2011 to 2013, wrote that ​“work requirements have been shown to not help unemployed people find work and to make it more difficult for them to feed themselves. But taking people who are unemployed off SNAP often does harm to more than just those who directly receive food assistance.” The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that the rule change ​“appears to base its intellectual underpinning on policy developed at the conservative Heritage Foundation, experts say.” The Heritage Foundation, for its part, claimed credit in an article titled ​“Heritage Research Influences Food Stamp Eligibility Rule.”

According to Rosen of UE, ​“The only thing these corporations want to achieve is corporate profits as usual. That’s their real goal — not making sure working people have an income, not to make sure health and economic needs were taken care of. If those were their goals, they would support much more robust policies right now that make sure everyone has a full income and full healthcare through Medicare for All. These are the steps that have been taken in many european countries.”

“People need to be paid to stay home right now — that’s the only way we can recover as a country,” Rosen added. ​“Attempts to force people to go back to work when it’s not safe for them to do so is a horrendous, murderous policy.”

When it comes to the push to reopen the U.S. economy, the Heritage Foundation is not going it alone. As the Associated Pressnotes, the Koch-backed AFP was ​“one early shutdown opponent,” making the case that business should be allowed to ​“adapt and innovate.” Intercept reporter Lee Fang noted on March 26 that AFP, which calls itself a political advocacy group, ​“wants employees to return to work despite desperate pleas from public health officials that people should stay home as much as possible to help contain the spread of the coronavirus.” State chapters of AFP have also joined in the effort.

Like the Heritage Foundation, the AFP cites the hardships of poor people when pushing for the economy to reopen. ​“We can achieve bok financial correspondent mortgage services health without depriving the people most in need of the products and services provided by businesses across the country,” the organization said on March 20. ​“If businesses are shut down, where will people who are most in need get the things they need to care for themselves and others? Rather than blanket shutdowns, the government should allow businesses to continue to adapt and innovate to produce the goods and services Americans need, while continuing to do everything they can to protect the public health.”

Yet AFP, described by In These Times writer Mary Bottari as ​“the Kochs’ ​‘grassroots’ lobbying arm,” has played a tremendous role in gutting public programs aimed at protecting ordinary people, including the CDC, and social welfare programs, particularly Medicaid. In recent years, the organization has gone on a blitz trying to pass right-to-work laws, seeing some success.

Before the COVID-19 crisis began, AFP was mobilizing against the PRO Act, which passed the House in February. This legislation would strengthen the right to strike, override ​“right-to-work” laws, and punish bosses who retaliate against workers for attempting to form a union. While the legislation is not perfect, it would ​“go a long way toward reversing decades of GOP-backed efforts to grind unions into dust,” Jeremy Gantz wrote in February for In These Times. AFP is presently circulating a letter which declares, ​“This legislation would turn back the clock on workers’ rights by undermining many pro-worker successes of recent years, just one year after the Janus v. AFSCME Supreme Court decision that affirmed union membership is a choice for all government workers nationwide.” AFP is not only pushing to send workers into dangerous conditions: It also wants to erode their right to collectively fight back.

But perhaps the biggest villain of all is ALEC, the Koch-backed ​“nonprofit” model-legislation shop that has devoted its nearly half-century of existence to eroding workers’ rights. ALEC has been active in efforts to reopen the economy. Its The heritage foundation koch brothers Lisa B. Nelson told Newt Gingrich on March 27, ​“We believe preparations need to be made for a clarion call to get Americans back to work, and so the economy can start its rebound.” ALEC hosted a March 21conference call featuring ALEC Board of Scholar Member Art Laffer, a right-wing economist and key figure behind the Reagan-era tax cuts for the rich. ​“We need to get production back — period,” declared Laffer, who was awarded the presidential medal of freedom by Trump last year.

As ALEC has called for policies that would endanger society’s most vulnerable, the organization has sought to portray itself as a victim. On an April 1 legislators call, ALEC Chief Economist Jonathan Williams said: ​“I think we all know how times of crises like these can be very dangerous times for those of us who believe in the ALEC principles of free markets and limited government and federalism.” Meanwhile, the organization is pushing for a host of other goals, including deregulation of telecommunications and supporting ​“federalism” and ​“state’s rights.”

In an interview, Laffer cited the plight of poor people when staking out his political positions. Reuters paraphrases, “‘I think it’s really important to balance out the economic consequences with the health consequences,’ Laffer said, adding that increased poverty from an extended shutdown could mean lower life expectancy, more suicide and a jump in child abuse.” (Notably, robust social programs, which Laffer opposes, are proven to reduce suicides during times of economic downturn.) And in a podcast interview, Nelson cited ​“working” as a public good: ​“Open america and get America working again,” she declared.

ALEC’s current advocacy emanates from a long history. As Mary Battari noted in a February 2018 story for In These Times, ​“ALEC was founded in 1973 as a venue for politicians and corporate lobbyists to meet behind closed doors and draft cookie-cutter legislation, known as ​‘model bills,’ that promote corporate interests.” Today it boasts a massive network of 2,000 legislative members and 300 or more corporate members, according to The Center for Media and Democracy, which says, ​“ALEC is not a lobby; it is not a front group. It is much more powerful than that.” Aided by funding from corporations, corporate trade groups and the Koch Foundation, its bills have aimed to undermine unions, criminalize protests and privatize public goods. Over the past 15 years it has worked closely with conservatie advocacy groups, including AFP, to undermine unions.

According to Rosen, groups like ALEC are a big reason why we are so ill-prepared to meet the COVID-19 crises. ​“Over the last 50 years,” he says, ​“we’ve allowed corporate forces to systematically destroy the social safety net. There was no preparation done for a pandemic like this, even though it was clear that something like this could happen. The groups demanding we reopen are the ones that destroyed the social safety net, thereby creating the pressures making some people want to start up again.”

These three think tanks are pillars of a much broader effort to ​“reopen the economy,” which is another way of saying ​“treat workers as disposable widgets in service of corporate profits.” The oversized role of wealthy people in pushing this effort calls into question any claims that local protests for reopening constitute an organic, working-class movement. As the Guardianreports, ​“The Michigan Freedom Fund, which said it was a co-host of a recent Michigan rally against stay-at-home orders, has received the heritage foundation koch brothers than $500,000 from the DeVos family, regular donors to rightwing groups.” The DeVos family is one of the richest in Michigan.

Joining in the cacophony are individual CEOs, who occasionally put conservative organizations’ talking points in cruder and more honest terms. Billionaire Tom Golisano, founder and chairman of Paychex Inc., told Bloomberg in late March, ​“The damages of keeping the economy closed as it is could be worse than losing a few more people. I have a very large concern that if businesses keep going along the way they’re going then so many of them will have to fold.” He added, ​“You have to weigh the pros and cons.”

Of course, for him, the ​“pro” is that he will not be the one serving tables, stocking warehouses or struggling to get healthcare once the economy reopens: When he talks about the costs, he’s talking about other people. The same can be said about the leaders of the conservative think tanks and organizations that are leading the push to send workers into danger: It will cost them nothing. The price for ordinary people will be immeasurable.

Lu Zhao and Indigo Olivier contributed research to this report.

Источник: https://inthesetimes.com/article/koch-think-tank-heritage-foundation-alec-americans-for-progress-trump-covid

This post originally appeared atThe Huffington Post.

As billionaire conservatives Charles and David Koch become a focus of Democratic Party attacks for their big spending in the 2014 elections, conservatives have argued back that the Kochs’ “dark money” is puny compared to the shadowy funds spent by an array of wealthy liberal interests and individuals.

Businessman Tom Steyer listens during a meeting to announce the launch of a group called Virginians for Clean Government at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va., Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013. The group was formed to explain the impact of CONSOL Energy not paying royalties to their family and neighbors as well as speaking out against Ken Cuccinelli's acceptance of $111,000 in CONSOL contributions. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Businessman Tom Steyer listens during a meeting to announce the launch of a group called Virginians for Td bank stock exchange Government in Richmond, Va., Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Fingers have been pointed at labor unions, billionaire investor George Soros, billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer and the Tides Foundation as the supposed liberal counterparts to the Kochs.

But the numbers just don’t add up. And these progressive groups tend to operate regions bank allen tx phone number the sunshine of public disclosure, unlike the Kochs’ semi-secret political empire.

Let’s start with the misunderstanding — or the deliberate expansion — of the term “dark money.”

Coined in October 2010 by Bill Allison, editorial director at the Sunlight Foundation, “dark money” was meant to describe the funds spent on elections and election-related issue ads by political nonprofits that are not required to disclose the names of their donors. This money skyrocketed following the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision.

The term “dark money” does not apply to every nonprofit that does not disclose its donors — not even to every nondisclosing nonprofit with political goals, broadly speaking, on the left or the right.

The term “dark money” does not apply, however, to every nonprofit that does not disclose its donors — not even to every nondisclosing nonprofit with political goals, broadly speaking, on the left or the right.

“Cato [Institute], Heritage [Foundation] and Center for American Progress aren’t dark money groups, and neither is the March of Dimes, which also does not disclose donors,” Allison said via email. “I think of Dark Money as the money from undisclosed donors spent to influence the outcome of an election.”

What kinds of nonprofits does the term cover? Mainly, “social welfare” nonprofits (organized under section 501(c)(4) of the tax code) and trade associations (organized under section 501(c)(6)), when they spend money to influence electoral outcomes. It can also cover shell corporations that spend on elections and have no other apparent purpose.

Those not included under the “dark money” moniker: public interest nonprofits (organized under section 501(c)(3)), which may be involved in shaping policy but are forbidden to engage in electoral activity and labor unions (organized under section 501(c)(5)), which can participate in elections but must disclose their donors to the Labor Department.

Super PACs must file with the IRS as 501(c)(4)s.

The Koch brothers run most of their political empire through a network of 501(c)(4)s and 501(c)(6) nonprofits.

The Koch brothers run most of their political empire through a network of 501(c)(4) and 501(c)(6) nonprofits, the majority of which spend money directly on elections or fund those that do.

In total, the Koch political empire marshaled $400 million in the 2012 election cycle toward first united bank online banking and efforts that spent money directly in the electoral arena. Not every group that received money from the empire reported spending on elections, but the vast majority of that money went to groups that spent tens of millions on electoral ads — which must be reported to the Federal Election Commission — and even more on issue ads that targeted candidates but didn’t advocate their electoral victory or defeat — which is not reported. Koch players included Americans for Prosperity, the American Future Fund and the 60 Plus Association.

Already, Koch-linked dark money groups have spent more than $30 million on ads targeting vulnerable Democratic congressional candidates running in the 2014 midterms.

It is the electoral focus of the Koch nonprofits and their sophisticated efforts to shield donors’ identities — plus the vast sums of money they move — that has brought them the unwanted attention of both Democratic Senate leadership and reporters.

There exists no outside network or organization supporting Democratic Party candidates in elections, the heritage foundation koch brothers not disclosing its donors, that spends money in comparable amounts.

Take the Tides Foundation, a longstanding liberal donor fund that provides money to nonprofits working on the environment, labor issues, immigrant rights, gay rights, women’s rights and human rights. Conservative blogs blasted the foundation as far more influential than the Koch brothers as early as 2011.

But according to tax records accessed through CitizenAudit.org, the Tides Foundation allocates little of its money to groups that engage in FEC-reportable spending on elections. Tides gave just $3.1 million of its $136 million in 2011-2012 grants to 501(c)(4) nonprofits that are permitted to engage part-time in politics. An even smaller sum went to such groups that actually reported election spending — i.e., dark money groups.

Some of those recipient groups reported spending large sums on elections, but they received very little of that from Tides: The League of Conservation Voters, which spent $11.2 million on elections, received just $150,000 from Tides. The Michigan League of Conservation Voters spent $860,237 but received only $15,000. Planned Parenthood spent $6.7 million and received $110,000. And VoteVets.org spent $3.2 million and received $82,500.

The Advocacy Fund, a former Tides organization that is still run out of the same office, gave more to 501(c)(4) nonprofits in the last election cycle: $11.5 million. But only $5.7 million went to those dark money groups that actually spent money on the elections. Recipients that engaged in electoral spending included America Votes ($1.8 million from the Advocacy Fund), the Campaign for Community Change ($1.3 million), the League of Conservation Voters ($2 million), the National Wildlife Federation Action Fund ($125,000), the NRDC Action Fund ($80,000) and the Sierra Club ($278,000).

So if the Tides Foundation is supposed to be the liberal equivalent of the Kochs, it’s a the heritage foundation koch brothers shadow of the conservative juggernaut. Combined, the money from Tides and the Advocacy Fund falls well short of the amounts amassed by the Koch operation.

Another favorite target of conservative comparison making is George Soros, who is indeed a major progressive political donor and operates a large network of nonprofit funds to push his vision of an “open society.” This network holds assets in the billions of dollars.

But again, the Soros foundations direct only a tiny fraction of their funds to groups spending money to directly influence elections. The Open Society Policy Center and the Fund for Policy Reform, the main Soros groups donating to 501(c)(4) nonprofits, gave $12.9 million to those nonprofits in the 2012 cycle, of which just $1 million went to the subset that spent money in elections. Soros himself has publicly stated his opposition to funding attack ads.

In addition, Soros was personally a major donor to Democratic super PACs in the last election, including $1 million to American Bridge 21st Century, $1 million to Priorities USA Action, $675,000 to House Majority PAC and $100,000 to Senate Majority PAC. He has also donated $25,000 to the Ready for Hillary PAC. But unlike whatever funds the Koch brothers pour into their political empire, the Soros donations to super PACs are not “dark,” for they are all disclosed to the FEC in publicly accessible records.

As for Tom Steyer, the former hedge fund investor turned super-environmentalist, the majority of his spending this election cycle has gone through a super PAC, which discloses its donors ibc link login or in Steyer’s case, its donor.

Other liberal donor funds — including the Atlantic Advocacy Fund, the Green Tech Action Fund and the Public Interest Projects The closest bank of america around here Fund — donated approximately $35 million to 501(c)(4) nonprofits during the 2012 election. But only 19 percent of that went to groups that actually spent money on elections.

As for Tom Steyer, the former hedge fund investor turned super-environmentalist, the majority of his spending this election cycle has gone through a super PAC, which discloses its donors — or in Steyer’s case, its donor. So far, his CE Action Committee has spent more than $1 million to help Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) secure victory in a 2013 special election and more than $8 million to help Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe (D) win his race.

Steyer has declared that he intends to spend up to $100 million in the 2014 elections. Although that would no doubt make him the largest political donor among those backing Democratic candidates, it remains to be seen whether he will follow through. The Los Angeles Times said as much when it wrote that Steyer “may” be the liberal answer to the Kochs.

In the meantime, the Kochs’ dark money empire is not merely a future threat or a possible hope. It is a reality, controlled by two billionaires who chose to operate, as much as they can, in the political shadows.

Paul Blumenthal is a reporter at The Huffington Post covering campaign finance and money-in-politics. His work has appeared on PBS’ Frontline, MSNBC, CNN and The New York Times and been included in Principles and Practice of American Politics: Classic and Contemporary Readings, 5th Edition and in Transparency International’s Global Corruption Report: Climate Change. He previously worked as the senior collins community credit union online banking for The Sunlight Foundation.

Источник: https://billmoyers.com/2014/04/10/nothing-really-compares-to-the-koch-brothers-political-empire/

The funders of climate disinformation

Koch BrothersImage

Brothers Charles and David Koch own the controlling shares (84%) of Koch Industries, a massive conglomerate ranked as the second largest, privately owned company in America.  This wealth is based mainly on fossil fuels. For instance the conglomerate operates oil refineries rockland news Alaska, Texas, and Minnesota, and controls some four thousand miles of pipeline  - although it also owns other products and brands such as Lycra. As a result of its huge involvement in fossil fuels it has been called "one of the primary sources of carbon pollution in the United States".


This vast conglomerate has a deplorable record for is chase bank open on july 3rd environmental regulations and illegal pollution. A Koch Industries subsidiary paid a landmark $35 million penalty in January 2000 for its  three hundred oil spills in Texas and five other states. There is a catalogue of other fines paid by Koch industries for assorted environmental violations and, for instance, stealing oil from Federal and Indian land. The Koch brother have not held back from using their political influence to evade such penalties: in April 2001 after Koch helped to elect George Bush in 2000, the Bush Justice Department abruptly settled a criminal case with $350 million in penalties that Koch faced for discharging toxic chemicals from a refinery in Corpus Cristi, Texas.

It might come as no surprise then that the Fcbc church online brothers devote a considerable portion of their enormous income to funding a political campaign against every kind of environmental or other regulation that might get in the way of their huge profits. In fact the Koch brothers disguise this with a smokescreen of philanthropic donation to prestige institutions like the Smithsonian but they have also used their money to create an extensive network of think tanks, foundations, lobbyists and tame politicians which has been called “the Kochtopus”.

In fact alongside this crude use of political influence to inflate their personal fortune the Koch brothers have a strand of ideological fanaticism that they may have inherited from their father, Fred C Koch a virulent anti-communist.  In 1980 David H. Koch was a vice-presidential candidate for the extremist Libertarian party. Since then the brothers have given up overt politics but doggedly supported Libertarian causes – which just happen to coincide with the interests of their industrial empire in pushing back regulations – by more covert means.


The list of right wing and free market groups they have used their vast fortune to support is endless but it includes the Cato Institute which Charles cofounded in 1977, the American Enterprise Institute, the George C Marshall Institute, the Reason Foundation, the Heritage Foundation, the Manhattan Institute and Americans for Prosperity, founded by David Koch himself and which spent $40million for the 2010 Congressional elections alone.

The “Kochtopus” has been involved in undermining every kind of environmental progress but in particular it has opposed climate change legislation, for instance  in New Hampshire. and in California where it backed the infamous Prop 23 which threatened (but failed) sprint pay my bill app push back climate change legislation  In fact a Greenpeace report in 2010 (Koch Industries: Secretly Funding the Climate Denial Machine) found that they are now the leading funder of climate change disinformation, outdoing even ExxonMobil. A follow-up report in 2011 found that the Kochs are still spending vast amounts of money opposing bills to control pollution, most notably supporting Proposition 23 - a move to abolish laws controlling greenhouse gas emissions until unemployment fell below a certain level.

 

Rolling Stone magazine places them second on a list of politicians and execs blocking progress on climate change, exposing David Koch's claims that global warming is good: "The Earth will be able to support enormously more people," he says, "because a far greater land area will be available to produce food."


Describing their political activities in support of their corporate agenda and right wing causes Charles Lewis, founder of the Center of Public Integrity - a watchdog group was quoted as saying: "There's no one else who has spent this much money. The sheer dimension of it is what sets apart. They have a pattern of lawbreaking, political manipulation, and obfuscation. [.] They are the Standard Oil of our times."


Jane Mayer, meanwhile, has written a landmark article for New Yorker magazine which describes the critical role they have played instigating and funding the Tea Party movement, especially through their front group ‘Americans for Progress’  George Monbiot describes  the Tea Party as the way the Koch brothers have found to  "persuade the people harmed by [their] agenda that it's good for them."


Key reading:


Center for American Progress:
The Koch When was social security first taxed What You Need to Know About the Financiers of the Radical Right
www.americanprogressaction.org/issues/2011/04/pdf/koch_brothers.pdf


Greenpeace Report:  Koch Industries - Secretly Funding the Climate Denial Machine
www.greenpeace.org/usa/Global/usa/report/2010/3/koch-industries-secretly-fund.pdf
and follow-up report Koch Industries: Still Fueling Climate Denial 2011 Update
https://www.greenpeace.org/usa/Global/usa/planet3/publications/gwe/Koch-Ind-Still-Fueling-Climate-Denial.pdf

New Yorker Article: The Billionaire Koch Brothers’ War Against Obama
www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/08/30/100830fa_fact_mayer?currentPage=all

Al Jazeera Video on the Koch brothers
http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2011/10/29/356067/the-1-has-a-stranglehold-on-politics-new-al-jazeera-documentary-sheds-light-on-the-koch-brothers/  

ExxonMobil

 ExxonMobil has a long history of funding climate denial, and has the heritage foundation koch brothers in total around $23 million to organisations aiming to undermine climate science. The company was created in 1999 with the merger of Exxon and Mobil. Both companies who were already active in campaigning against climate change legislationas part of the Global Climate Coalition. In 1997 the Coalition sponsored the Global Climate Information Project, (GCIP). The GCIP ran an advertising campaign in the USA against the Kyoto agreement, reported by the Los Angeles Times to have cost $13 million.

In 1998 Exxon helped plan the American Petroleum Institute’s Global Climate Science Communications Action Plan. This recognised that economic reasons for refusing to act on climate change would not be as effective as undermining the science. Drawn up before climate negotiations in Buenos Aires, the plan stated:
“Victory will be achieved when:
. Average citizens understand (recognise) uncertainties in climate science
. Those promoting the Kyoto treaty on the basis of extant science appear to be out of touch with reality"
Part of the strategy was to enable decision makers to raise “such serious questions about the Kyoto treaty’s scientific underpinnings that American policy makers not only will refuse to endorse it, they will seek to prevent progress towards implementation”.

This focus on the science has been vital to the success of the campaign by vested interests to prevent actionon climate change. There are marked similarities with the tactics tobacco companies have used in the past, as detailed in the report on ExxonMobil, Smoke, Mirrors and Hot Air, by the Union of Concerned Scientists.

The Greenpeace report, Exxon’s Weapons of Mass Deception, shows the close links that ExxonMobil had with the Bush is capital one mobile app down, funding political campaigns and lobbying against the Kyoto treaty. In April 2002 Dr Married at first sight season 2 episode 10 Watson was removed as chair of the IPCC, following concerted lobbying by the Bush administration. A leaked memorandum to the White House shows ExxonMobil recommending his removal.

Under pressure, ExxonMobil conceded in its 2007 Corporate Citizenship Report, "In 2008 we will discontinue contributions to several public policy groups whose position on climate change could divert attention from the important discussion on how the world will secure energy required for economic growth in an environmentally responsible manner."

However, this funding has clearly continued. In 2009 ExxonMobil gave around $1.3 million to at least 24 organisations known for working to create doubt about global warming. This is a reduction from the peak funding in 2005 of over $3.5 million, but includes, for example $100,000 to the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, co-sponsors of the 2009 conference of leading climate sceptics entitled "Global Warming: Was It Ever Really a Crisis?". The web of funding can be difficult to unravel, for example the Atlas Foundation in turn supports more than 30 other foreign think-tanks that espouse climate change scepticism. Greenpeace has mapped some of the organisations and individuals linked to Exxon with an interactive tool.

Key ‘sceptic’ scientists receive funding from multiple sources. For example Dr Willie Soon is most famous for his influential, although thoroughly debunked, paper with Sallie Baliunas attacking the ‘hockey stick’ graph of global temperatures, funded by the American Petroleum Institute (API).In 2007 Soon co-authored a a ‘viewpoint’, published in the journal Ecological Complexity  that stated that polar bears were not under threat from global warming and that Arctic sea ice decline was less severe than had been thought. As a ‘viewpoint’, this was not peer-reviewed but has become a key reference for those arguing that polar bears are not under threat from climate change. This piece of work by an astrophysicist (hardly the most relevant field to polar bear ecology) was funded by ExxonMobil, API and the Charles G Koch Charitable Foundation. Dr Soon’s work and funding has been detailed by Greenpeace (more here, also criticism of the science).

The American Enterprise Institute, also funded by ExxonMobil, sent letters to scientists and economists in 2007 offering $10,000 for articles criticising the 2007 IPCC report. Recent analysis by Carbon Brief found that of the ten most referenced authors in a list of papers alleged to support climate scepticism, nine had funding links to ExxonMobil.

Key reading:

Carbon Brief profile on ExxonMobil

https://www.carbonbrief.org/daily-brief/exxonmobil-defies-market-and-invests-in-oil-refinery

Exxon's Weapons of Mass Deception

https://www.greenpeace.org/international/

Dealing in Doubt

https://www.greenpeace.org/usa/Global/usa/report/2010/3/dealing-in-doubt.pdf

'Exxon secrets' funding map

https://exxonsecrets.org:443/maps.php

Источник: https://www.campaigncc.org/climate_change/sceptics/funders

Charles Koch Is Funding Rightwing, Pro-Trump Media, New Disclosure Reveals

Koch Industries has a reputation for attacking journalists who write things that make it look bad, but that isn’t stopping its billionaire CEO, Charles Koch, from funding media—at least, media that share his conservative, free-market ideals.

The foundations of the 83-year-old Koch are increasingly funding conservative media outlets, newly disclosed tax forms show. Sludge has found that the Charles Koch Foundation (CKF), a nonprofit known for funding conservative think tanks and free-market higher education programs, and a connected nonprofit, the Charles Koch Institute (CKI), donated over $2 million to mostly conservative media operations in 2017.

The 2017 grants include a number of first-time recipients of CKF and CKI funding, as well as increased grant amounts to media groups the foundations had previously funded, amounting to a roughly $600,000 increase in funding for media- and media-adjacent organizations identified by Sludge, according to tax documents.

Koch has claimed he dislikes one united customer service of President Donald Trump’s trade and immigration policies. But New York Times columnist Thomas Edsall suggested in September that Trump and the Koch political network work in concert, having achieved major policy goals of Koch and other wealthy conservatives, including a massive tax cut for the rich, weakened EPA regulations, and the confirmation of numerous pro-business judges.

Through his foundations, Koch is bankrolling some very pro-Trump outlets. In 2017, the Charles Koch Foundation gave the Daily Caller News Foundation $960,000, while the Charles Koch Institute added $20,000. The previous year, the two nonprofits combined to give a slightly smaller amount, $958,000, but this total made up 84 percent of the Daily Caller News Foundation’s annual revenue. The foundation, which produces much of the content for The Daily Caller website, has not yet released its 2017 tax form, so its revenues for last year are unknown.

Founded by Tucker Carlson, now a Fox News primetime host who promotes Trump and has many white nationalist fans, The Daily Caller often publishes uncritical, promotional stories about the president, publicizes the Trump administration’s conspiracy theories, and recently presented a softball interview of Trump.

The 2016 Trump campaign reportedly paid at least $150,000 to the Daily Caller Foundation to rent its email list, which the campaign used to send fundraising messages in the months leading up to the general election, according to the Center for Media and Democracy. At the same time, Carlson was analyzing the election on The heritage foundation koch brothers News without ever having disclosed this conflict of interest.

In 2016, the two Koch nonprofits and the Trump campaign provided 97.5 percent of the Daily Caller News Foundation’s revenue.

Kevin Molony/Fortune Brainstorm TECH

In the conservative American Spectator, the editor recently wrote a piece comparing Winston Churchill to Trump. The outlet has published essays from other writers including “Trump’s Great Post-Election Offensive” and “CNN, Liberal Media, Flake, Kasich Play the Race Card With Trump Ad,” a piece claiming that a racist Trump ad, which even Fox News took off the air, wasn’t racist at all. CKF and CKI gave the American Spectator Foundation $90,000 in 2017.

Last year, CKF gave to two operations founded by former Fox News host Glenn Beck, Mercury Radio Arts ($42,000), a production company, and TheBlaze ($7,500), a news and entertainment TV channel and website owned by Mercury. TheBlaze publishes de facto pressreleases for Trump and even posted a video in which Beck attempts to prove the anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that George Soros is funding the migrant caravan that’s currently in Mexico, something to which Trump has alluded. Beck once compared Trump to Adolf Hitler but later flip-flopped as his business revenue began to plummet.

TheBlaze is reportedly on its last legs, having gone through several rounds of layoffs over the past two years. Daily Wire owners the Wilks brothers were reportedly thinking about buying TheBlaze, but that did not happen.

CFK and CKI gave $84,000 total to the Student Free Press Association—a nonprofit also funded by and linked to the family of Education Sec. Betsy DeVos—which runs the conservative site The College Fix.

In contrast to some other Koch grantees, libertarian website and magazine Reason does offer critiques of Trump. CKF gave the Reason Foundation $268,000 in 2017, down from $745,000 the previous year, and CKI added $65,000 last year, representing one of the only decreases in funding for a media outlet the foundations supported in both 2016 and 2017, Sludge found. David Koch is a current trustee of the Reason Foundation.

CKF gave out a total of $88.3 million in donations last year, up from $80.2 million the heritage foundation koch brothers previous year, fueling on-campus free-market centers, such as the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, and rightwing think tanks, such as the Heritage Foundation and the Manhattan Institute. The foundation says its 2018 grant total has already surpassed the 2017 amount. A request from comment from CKF was not immediately returned.

Billionaire funding of conservative media outlets is quite common. Many other rightwing news sites are owned or funded by GOP megadonors:

  • Entrepreneur Philip Anschutz owns the Washington Examiner.
  • Hedge fund manager Paul Singer heavily funds the Washington Free Beacon.
  • Dan and Farris Wilks, who are Texas fracking billionaire brothers and big Ted Cruz donors, own conservative millennial media personality Ben Shapiro’s Daily Wire.
  • Breitbart News got a $10 million investment from Trump- and Steve Bannon-backer Robert Mercer.
  • Independent Journalism Review got a boost from investor Pete Snyder, a Virginia GOP insider and former Fox News contributor.

The increase in Koch’s media funding came at the same time as Koch Industries made a major media investment. In November 2017, the Meredith Corporation announced that Koch Industries’ investment arm would put $650 million towards its $1.8 billion acquisition of magazine publisher Time, Inc., which owns Time, Fortune, and Sports Illustrated, among other publications. Meredith claimed Koch’s private equity subsidiary will have no seats on Meredith’s board and will “have no influence on Meredith’s editorial or managerial operations.”

Koch is known for his free-market and partisan philanthropy, but CKF did donate to a few nonpartisan groups in 2017.

Nonpartisan organizations such as the Poynter Institute ($70,000 for a college journalism training program on covering “divisive issues”) and the American Society of News Editors Foundation ($80,000 for a First Amendment-focused legal hotline) accepted CKF’s money in 2017 despite Koch Industries’ history of attackingreporters who write things it doesn’t like. The company paid for an ad against InsideClimate News publisher David Sassoon and even had New Yorker reporter Jane Mayer followed.

These donations came with a large dose of criticism, as Columbia Journalism Review reported. Poynter announced an expansion of its Koch partnership in 2018 and posted an explanation of how it uses the CKF money, claiming it will “uphold journalism values.”

CKF also gave money to the Media Coalition Foundation, Techdirt, and the National Freedom of Information Coalition in 2017 for free speech initiatives. In 2018, CKF committed $3.25 million to fund the Knight Foundation First Amendment Institute’s legal work.

But nearly all of the Koch foundations’ direct funding of media outlets continues to go to rightwing operations that generally cover business, tax, and environmental issues with the free-market slant that Koch prefers.

A previous version of this article stated that CKF’s 2016 donation made up 83 percent of the Daily Caller News Foundation’s 2016 budget. It has been corrected to state that the donation constituted 84 percent of the Daily Caller News Foundation’s 2016 revenue.


Related:

State Propaganda: EPA Cites Koch-Funded Article to Attack Climate Report

Koch Brothers Continue to Influence Tax Policy After Huge Cuts Last Year

Koch and Adelson Come to the Rescue of Trump Devotee Ron DeSantis in Florida

Источник: https://readsludge.com/2018/11/21/charles-koch-is-funding-rightwing-pro-trump-media-new-disclosure-reveals/

The heritage foundation koch brothers -

In a private meeting last month with big-money donors, the head of a top conservative group boasted that her outfit had crafted the new voter suppression law in Georgia and was doing the same with similar bills for Republican state legislators across the country. “In some cases, we actually draft them for them,” she said, “or we have a sentinel on our behalf give them the model legislation so it has that grassroots, from-the-bottom-up type of vibe.”

The Georgia law had “eight key provisions that Heritage recommended,” Jessica Anderson, the executive director of Heritage Action for America, a sister organization of the Heritage Foundation, told the foundation’s donors at an April 22 gathering in Tucson, in a recording obtained by the watchdog group Documented and shared with Mother Jones. Those included policies severely restricting mail ballot drop boxes, preventing election officials from sending absentee ballot request forms to voters, making it easier for partisan workers to monitor the polls, preventing the collection of mail ballots, and restricting the ability of counties to accept donations from nonprofit groups seeking to aid in election administration.

All of these recommendations came straight from Heritage’s list of “best practices” drafted in February. With Heritage’s help, Anderson said, Georgia became “the example for the rest of the country.”

The leaked video reveals the extent to which Heritage is leading a massive campaign to draft and pass model legislation restricting voting access, which has been swiftly adopted this year in the battleground states of Georgia, Florida, Arizona, and Iowa. It’s no coincidence that so many GOP-controlled states are rushing to pass similar pieces of legislation in such a short period of time. 

Republican legislators claim they’re tightening up election procedures to address (unfounded) concerns about fraud in the 2020 election. But what’s really behind this effort is a group of conservative Washington insiders who have been pushing these same kinds of voting restrictions for decades, with the explicit aim of helping Republicans win elections. The difference now is that Trump’s baseless claims about 2020 have given them the ammunition to get the bills passed, and the conservative movement, led by Heritage, is making an unprecedented investment to get them over the finish line. 

“We’re working with these state legislators to make sure they have all of the information they need to draft the bills,” Anderson told the Heritage Foundation donors. In addition to drafting the bills in some cases, “we’ve also hired state lobbyists to make sure that in these targeted states we’re meeting with the right people.”

“In some cases, we actually draft [the bills] for them, or we have a sentinel on our behalf give them the model legislation so it has that grassroots, from-the-bottom-up type of vibe.”

To “create this echo chamber,” as Anderson put it, Heritage is spending $24 million over two years in eight battleground states—Arizona, Michigan, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Nevada, Texas, and Wisconsin—to pass and defend restrictive voting legislation. Every Tuesday, the group leads a call with right-wing advocacy groups like the Susan B. Anthony List, Tea Party Patriots, and FreedomWorks to coordinate these efforts at the highest levels of the conservative movement. “We literally give marching orders for the week ahead,” Anderson said. “All so we’re singing from the same song sheet of the goals for that week and where the state bills are across the country.”

Days before the Georgia legislature would pass its sweeping bill rolling back access to the ballot, Anderson said she met with Gov. Brian Kemp and urged him to quickly sign the bill when it reached his desk. “I had one message for him,” said Anderson, a former Trump administration official in the Office of Management and Budget. “Do not wait to sign that bill. If you wait even an hour, you will look weak. This bill needs to be signed immediately.” Kemp followed Anderson’s advice, signing the bill right after its passage. Heritage called it a “historic voting security bill.”

Anderson said she delivered “the same message” to Republican governors in Texas, Arizona, and Florida. Texas is the next big fight for Heritage. Anderson said Heritage Action wrote “19 provisions” in a Texas House bill that would make it a criminal offense for election officials to give a mail ballot request form to a voter who hadn’t explicitly asked for one and would subject poll workers to criminal penalties for removing partisan poll challengers who are accused of voter intimidation. It’s expected to pass in the coming days. 

“Gov. Abbott will sign it quickly,” Anderson said. She warned of corporate opposition to the bill, following actions by Georgia-based companies to distance themselves from the restrictive voting bill there. “American Airlines, Dell, they’re coming after us,” she said. “We need to be ready for the next fight in Texas.” 

In response to a request for comment, Anderson said in a statement, “We are proud of our work at the national level and in states across this country to promote commonsense reforms that make it easier to vote and harder to cheat. We’ve been transparent about our plans and public with our policy recommendations, and we won’t be intimidated by the left’s smear campaign and cancel culture.”

Heritage Foundation fellow Hans von Spakovsky, a former George W. Bush administration official who for two decades has been the driving force behind policies that restrict access to the ballot, spoke alongside Anderson at the donor summit.

“Hans is briefing governors, secretaries of state, state attorney generals, state elected officials,” Anderson said. “Just what three weeks ago, we had a huge call with secretaries of state, right?”

“We’ve now for several years been having a private briefing of the best conservative secretaries of state in the country that has so annoyed the left that they have been doing everything they can to try to find out what happens at that meeting,” von Spakovsky replied.

“So far unsuccessfully,” Anderson said. “No leaks.

Though the bills shaped by Heritage have been sold as advancing “election integrity,” they appear aimed more at helping GOP candidates take back power. “We are going to take the fierce fire that is in every single one of our bellies,” Anderson told the donors in April, “to right the wrongs of November.”

The Heritage Foundation was co-founded in 1973 by Paul Weyrich, a well-connected conservative activist on a mission to create more aggressive conservative infrastructure to rival more liberal think tanks like the Brookings Institution. Weyrich, who was also Heritage’s first president, went on to co-found the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which pairs corporations with conservative state legislators to draft model legislation, and the Moral Majority with Jerry Falwell, which mobilized evangelical voters behind GOP causes and candidates. Heritage received major funding from leading right-wing donors such as Charles and David Koch, Richard Mellon Scaife, and Joseph Coors. 

Speaking in 1980 at a meeting of evangelical leaders in Dallas, Weyrich bluntly articulated his radical views on voting rights. “I don’t want everybody to vote,” he said. “Elections are not won by a majority of the people. They never have been from the beginning of our country and they are not now. As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.”

In the years since, the Heritage Foundation became the driving force behind much of the Republican Party agenda, writing many of the policy recommendations that were enacted under the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump. 

Heritage is spending $24 million over two years in eight battleground states—Arizona, Michigan, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Nevada, Texas, and Wisconsin—to pass and defend restrictive voting legislation.

It remains one of the best-funded organizations in GOP circles. It raised more than $76 million in 2020, according to its most recent annual report. More than $1.6 million of that was raised from corporations, most of which chose to remain anonymous. But according to the annual report from 2019, Google, the pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, and the multi-level marketing company Amway all gave at least $100,000, and Citigroup and Hitachi each gave $25,000.  

In 2010, as opposition on the right to the Obama administration reached a fever pitch, Heritage launched Heritage Action, a dark money group that does not have to disclose its donors but has received at least $500,000 from the Koch brothers. The goal was to connect the Heritage Foundation to the growing Tea Party movement and to enable the group to undertake more aggressive political activities, such as leading opposition to the Affordable Care Act and promoting a government shutdown in 2013. This right-wing advocacy alienated Republicans on Capitol Hill, with former Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn accusing the group of “destroying the Republican Party.”

Former Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint described the relationship between Heritage Foundation and Heritage Action as “the one-two punch.” The foundation writes the policy, and Heritage Action makes it happen. Heritage Action raised more than $11 million in 2019.

The mastermind behind the nationwide voting restrictions operation is von Spakovsky, who’s done more than just about anyone in GOP circles to spread the myth of widespread voter fraud over the past two decades. 

During the Bush administration, von Spakovsky was a special counsel at the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, where he played a key role in the department’s approval of a 2005 voter ID law from Georgia—among the first of its kind—over objections from career department lawyers, who said it was discriminatory. While advocating internally for the law, von Spakovsky published a law review article under the pseudonym “Publius” praising voter ID laws, in a move that experts said violated Justice Department ethics guidelines. (Von Spakovsky said in a statement that he received approval from a Justice Department ethics adviser and his supervisor for the article. He added, “Contrary to the maliciously false claims in the Mother Jones story, I have worked hard for many years to ensure that every eligible citizen is able to vote.”)

“It’s like he goes to bed dreaming about this, and gets up in the morning wondering, ‘What can I do today to make it more difficult for people to vote?’” the late civil rights icon John Lewis once said of von Spakovsky. 

“I don’t want everybody to vote,” said Heritage co-founder Paul Weyrich.

In 2017, von Spakovsky joined Donald Trump’s ill-fated Commission on Election Integrity, which was formed after Trump falsely claimed 3 million people voted illegally in California in the 2016 election, with the aim of unearthing evidence of voter fraud in order to justify new ballot restrictions. Von Spakovsky argued the commission should exclude Democrats and “mainstream Republican officials and/or academics” and helped Vice Chair Kris Kobach, then the Kansas secretary of state, draft a letter requesting sensitive voter data from all 50 states. The request was met with massive pushback, and the commission, facing a flurry of lawsuits, abruptly disbanded in January 2018 without finding any evidence of fraud.

Though Anderson called von Spakovsky “the premier election law expert across this country,” his work has not fared well in court. During a trial challenging Kansas’ proof-of-citizenship law for voter registration, Kobach hired von Spakovsky to support his claim that illegal votes by noncitizens had swung US elections. But under questioning, von Spakovsky admitted he couldn’t name a single election where votes by noncitizens had decided the outcome. A federal judge wrote that the court gave “little weight to Mr. von Spakovsky’s opinion,” citing “several misleading and unsupported examples of noncitizen voter registration.” 

Nonetheless, von Spakovsky’s sensationalist claims about stolen elections and advocacy for policies that restrict voting have found an increasingly receptive audience among Republicans following Trump’s attempt to overturn the 2020 election.

“The one good thing that came out of last year’s elections,” von Spakovsky said at the Heritage Action event in April, “is I think finally a lot of members of the public, and particularly state legislators, realized that these vulnerabilities exist, have existed for a long time, and have figured out in many states we really need to do something to fix it.”

Indeed, Heritage has been at the forefront of weaponizing Trump’s Big Lie of widespread voter fraud in order to build support for policies that restrict access to the ballot. “A lot of bad things happened in 2020,” Heritage Foundation senior adviser Genevieve Wood said in April to the donors, who ranked “election integrity” as their top issue in a survey this year. “But you should know a lot of good things are beginning to happen now in 2021. You’re seeing it in Georgia. You’re seeing in the state of Arizona. You’re beginning to see it in Texas and so many more.”

Heritage began its lobbying campaign early in Georgia. In February, a representative from the group delivered a letter signed by 2,000 conservative activists to Republicans in the state legislature, urging them to rewrite the state’s voting laws after GOP defeats in the November presidential election and the January Senate runoffs (where Heritage Action contacted 1.5 million voters on behalf of the losing Republican candidates). The activists wrote that they had “lost faith in the process and the outcome of their elections.” Soon after, bills restricting voting access started moving through the legislature. 

“Then we provided testimony, expert witnesses, analysis, and actually how to draft these bills so that they were legally tight,” Anderson said. “So, [Democratic voting rights lawyer] Marc Elias, if you know that name from the progressive left, he’s like their legal pit bull. He goes after all of this with lawsuits, so that Marc Elias can’t find any holes.” 

Elias has filed a suit challenging the Georgia law. “The Georgia law violates both the Voting Rights Act and the US Constitution,” Elias told Mother Jones. “Heritage Action claiming that this is legally tight is like hearing from the Titanic shipbuilders about how much confidence they have in its maiden voyage. This law is based on a Big Lie, denies Black, Brown, and young voters of their rights, and will be struck down in court.”

Republican state Rep. Barry Fleming, the author of the bill in the Georgia House, was a guest at Heritage’s donor summit. “I can tell you, back in February, I felt like some days we were alone in Georgia,” Fleming said. “And then the Heritage Foundation stepped in, and that began to bring us a boost to help turn around, get the truth out about what we were really trying to do. And I’m here in part to say thank you and God bless you.

A number of majority-Black counties that Fleming represents as a lawyer in private practice when he’s not at the legislature fired him in protest after the bill passed. But he credited Heritage for helping Republican legislators resist what Anderson called “economic terrorism.” (The group has launched a $1 million ad campaign to defend the law on CNBC and local Georgia stations, which Anderson said is aimed at “woke CEOs [who] didn’t read the bill.”)

“But for the Heritage Foundation and you stepping up to help us, what are other part-time legislators across this nation going to think when they try to do the right thing and secure our elections if they’re allowed to fire us from our jobs, threaten our livelihoods just because we stood up to try to make it easy to vote and hard to cheat?” Fleming asked. 

Other measures Anderson said Heritage drafted included “three provisions” in legislation adopted by Iowa Republicans a few weeks before Georgia’s law, including one placing voters on inactive status if they sit out one election cycle and removing them from the rolls if they fail to take action, a system that could lead hundreds of thousands of voters to be purged. 

“Iowa is the first state that we got to work in, and we did it quickly and we did it quietly,” Anderson said. “We worked quietly with the Iowa state legislature. We got the best practices to them. We helped draft the bills. We made sure activists were calling the state legislators, getting support, showing up at their public hearings, giving testimony…Little fanfare. Honestly, nobody even noticed. My team looked at each other and we’re like, ‘It can’t be that easy.’” (Elias has also filed suit against the Iowa law.)

Heritage has been at the forefront of weaponizing Trump’s Big Lie of widespread voter fraud in order to build support for policies that restrict access to the ballot.

Anderson also took credit for a Arizona law enacted in early April that prohibits election officials from accepting private funding, which was used in 2020 in both red and blue counties for things like opening more polling locations and drop box sites, saying, “We’re kicking Mark Zuckerberg out of all of our state and federal elections.” And she claimed that another bill signed by Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey on Tuesday, which could purge more than 100,000 people from the state’s list of voters who automatically receive a mail ballot, was “straight from the Heritage recommendations.”  

A Heritage lobbyist met early on with Florida Republicans to draft a bill largely mimicking the Georgia law, which passed the legislature over the unanimous opposition of Florida’s county elections supervisors. While the bill worked its way through the legislature, Anderson urged DeSantis to champion it. “I’ve got a call this afternoon with Gov. DeSantis’ team getting an update,” she said on April 22 to her donors. “Why is that? He needs to do more. He needs to say, get this bill on my desk.” DeSantis signed the bill on May 6 behind closed doors, with only Fox & Friends cameras allowed in for an “exclusive.”

“The scandal is the national pressure coming down on states with an intent to keep people from voting,” says Lisa Gilbert, executive vice president of the corporate watchdog group Public Citizen. After record turnout in 2020, “writing these bills, pushing these bills, is a mechanism to attempt to return to those new voters being unable to vote.”

In addition to pushing state-based voting restrictions, Heritage Action is leading the effort to block the passage of HR 1, Democrats’ sweeping democracy reform bill that would preempt many of these voter suppression laws by enacting policies like automatic and Election Day registration, two weeks of early voting, and expanded mail-in voting on a nationwide basis. “HR 1 is basically the dream bill of every left-wing advocacy group we’ve been fighting against for years on election issues,” von Spakovsky said at the donor event.

Von Spakovsky said at the beginning of the year that Heritage put out “a short summary of the worst provisions of a 900-page bill. Now, you all know congressional staffers don’t like reading 900-page bills. That fact sheet we put out is being used by congressional staffers, members of Congress, to go up and fight HR 1.” The group dubbed the bill the “Corrupt Politicians Act,” a label that was soon being used by leading Republicans like Ted Cruz.

“We’ve made sure that every single member of Congress knows just how bad the bill is,” Anderson added. “Then we’ve made sure there’s an echo chamber of support around these senators driven by your Heritage Action activists and sentinels across the country where we’ve driven hundreds of thousands of calls, emails, place letters to the editor, hosted events, and run television and digital ads.”

In March, the group organized a rally in West Virginia to urge centrist Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin to oppose the bill and “stand up for WV values,” according to an invitation obtained by Documented, even as it bused in conservative activists from states hundreds of miles away. Heritage Action announced on Wednesday it would run ads this summer pressuring Democratic senators in West Virginia, Arizona, Montana, and New Hampshire to preserve the filibuster in order to block HR 1. 

“It’s an all-hands-on-deck moment,” Anderson said in April. “If we don’t win this, we lose our republic, period.”

To Elias, the video from the Heritage summit is proof that Republican state lawmakers are pursuing voting restrictions not in response to real local problems, but at the behest of well-funded Washington insiders. “It’s not being run by a coalition of state legislators,” he says. “It’s not being run by election administrators. It’s being run out of an office in Washington, DC, by people whose sole agenda is to make it harder for Black, Brown, and young voters to participate in the electoral process. Republicans who adopt these model laws should be ashamed of themselves.”

Watch the full video here. This story has been updated to include comment from Hans von Spakovsky.

Nick Surgey is an investigative reporter and the executive director of Documented.

Источник: https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2021/05/heritage-foundation-dark-money-voter-suppression-laws/

The Koch Brothers
The Heritage Foundation

     
      The Heritage Foundation is a conservative “think tank” based in Washington, D.C. Founded in February 16, 1973 by Paul Weyrich, Edwin Feulner, and Joseph Coors. The foundation took a leading role in the conservative movement during the presidency of Ronald Reagan.
      Heritage Foundation's mission is "to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense." It researches, publishes, lectures on, and markets right-wing public policy. Heritage supports faith-based initiatives, school vouchers, ban on abortion, overturning affirmative action programs.
      Climate Change: While maintaining that “Science should be used as one tool to guide climate policy,” the Heritage Foundation often uses rhetoric such as “far from settled” to sow doubt about climate science. One Heritage report even claimed that “The only consensus over the threat of climate change that seems to exist these days is that there is no consensus.” Senior Policy Analyst Ben Lieberman has said that "global warming is clearly not a crisis and should not be addressed as one.
      Immigration: Jason Richwine, the co-author of a Heritage Foundation report on immigration argued that Hispanic immigrants to the U.S. have substantially lower IQs than whites. The report put the cost of immigration reform at a whopping $6.3 trillion. Though Heritage's 2007 report was one of the reasons an earlier immigration bill failed, the 2013 report was widely mocked.
      Education: The Heritage Foundation is behind the push for Charter Schools (and school vouchers). These programs take money from public education and funnel it to corporations, and pay for private school education for the rich. Critics of charter schools say these companies skimp on education costs, such as hiring inexperienced teachers, so they can turn a profit. They have also pushed for a prayers in schools amendment, and are responsible for implementing the propaganda style text books in Texas. Texas students may soon be reading in their history textbooks that the American system of democracy was inspired by Moses.
      Voting Rights: The Heritage Foundation created the “Voter Fraud” scam, which led to the voter I.D. movement that has eliminated millions of minorities and the poor from voter pools.
      Obamacare: The foundation’s CEO former Senator Jim DeMint, spent a month touring the country, drawing cheering crowds as he demanded that Republican politicians insist that Obamacare be defunded—and denouncing those who wouldn’t go along.
      The main funding for The Heritage Foundation has come from the Koch Brothers (of course) and Exxon/Mobil who have given 10’s of millions, in exchange for pushing their destructive agendas. Both Exxon and the Koch’s are known for their heavy financial support to organizations that promote doubt over climate science, peddle fossil fuel use and attack clean energy on precedent. The Heritage Foundation has played a consistent role in promoting the oil ideology. And the Koch brothers have given CEO DeMint $86,000 directly. Who said democracy is not for sale?
      In conclusion, The Heritage Foundation is just another propaganda mill, pretending to be a non partisan “think tank”.       They are behind the efforts to limit EPA power, so they can make more money, at the expense of our environment. And have been the focus of numerous environmental disasters and investigations, as well as funding the anti-climate change movement.
      The only way to fight the Koch Brothers influence is to cut off their money. You can (and must) do this by boycotting all Koch industries products. You can find a list of these products below.


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Источник: http://www.govreform.net/heritage.html

David Koch’s Monstrous Legacy

Photo: Phelan M Ebenhack/AP/Shutterstock

By the time he died on Friday at the age of 79, David Koch was worth $42.4 billion. He will be remembered for what he did with it. Some people will probably praise his charitable spirit, perhaps even his support for criminal-justice reform, or his skepticism of military intervention. “The vast bulk of Koch’s philanthropy was not political,” Brian Doherty noted in an obit for Reason magazine. “It included hundreds of millions of dollars for cancer research (he was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1992) and major arts and sciences institutions, museums, schools, and public television, with much of his institutional philanthropy centered in New York City, his home for decades.”

But Koch’s largesse wasn’t free. We are paying for it now, and have been paying for it for decades. Koch’s legacy is a testament to the power of weaponized philanthropy. For Koch did not restrict himself to supporting artists and scientists. He, along with his brother Charles, who survives him, committed their vast family fortune to the construction of a powerful conservative network. We live in the world that he helped build, and it is on fire.

Koch, who ran for office on the Libertarian Party ticket in 1980, helped funnel billions into climate-change-denying organizations for decades. His motivation wasn’t a mystery: He did it because he was greedy. Political action to arrest climate change threatened Koch’s business interests. His family originally made its money in oil and gas, and Koch Industries, as Tim Dickinson laid out in a 2014 piece for Rolling Stone, is one of the biggest polluters in the U.S. “Thanks in part to its 2005 purchase of paper-mill giant Georgia-Pacific, Koch Industries dumps more pollutants into the nation’s waterways than General Electric and International Paper combined,” he wrote.

The legacy of David Koch cannot be extricated from the work he undertook with his brother. As Jane Mayer reported for TheNew Yorker in 2010, the brothers were ideologically sympatico, bound together by their disbelief in climate science and their opposition to industry regulation. Their work had massive reach, though their use of shell trusts and foundations can make their money difficult to trace. Mayer, however, has reported much of it out over the years, in pieces for The New Yorker and in her 2016 book, Dark Money. Through the Cato Institute — which was co-founded by Charles Koch, and where David Koch once sat on the board of directors — the Kochs funded analysts and researchers who denied the extent of man-made climate change for years. They donated copiously to the Heritage Foundation, which wraps climate change denial into a broader conservative platform that opposes LGBT rights and legal abortion. They helped establish the anti-regulatory Mercatus Center at George Mason University, and that came with certain privileges; in 2018, Inside Higher Edreported that the university had given the Kochs a say in faculty hiring. Similar funding agreements also existed at Florida State University and Utah State University. Koch money bankrolled right-to-work groups that have worked for decades to reduce union membership — a goal that has, according to most experts, contributed significantly to America’s increasing wealth inequality.

But what’s bad for workers tends to be good for the Kochs. Unions cut into a corporation’s bottom line; they make it slightly more difficult for lowly businessmen to purchase Park Avenue penthouses worth millions. The same principle of self-interest applies to one of David’s pet projects. Through the Americans for Prosperity Foundation, which he founded, the family fortune helped mobilize the tea party movement. The id they unleashed — the naked white nationalism, the anti–big government hysteria, all those conspiracy theories — helped seed the ground for Donald Trump. David and his brother refused to donate to Trump, but he is in many ways the culmination of their work.

The consequences of the groundwork laid by the Koch brothers will shape American politics beyond Trump. David helped his brother build an infrastructure to train a generation of lawyers, scholars, and politicians who would carry the Koch mission into the future. And in a memo reported by CNBC in June, APF’s CEO said the group would now consider backing Democrats. But this shift was hardly proof that the Kochs, or the organizations they helped found and fund, had liberalized. Instead, APF wanted to keep the Democratic Party from moving left by protecting incumbents “who lead by uniting with others to pass principled policy and get good things done.” In other words, conservatives who might find themselves targeted by the next Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and would support the family’s in oil and gas interests from the Green New Deal.

David Koch died before he could reap the full bounty of his works. We will not be so lucky. His legacy is poisoned water and dirty air, decimated unions, and Donald Trump. No amount of arts patronage can purify that stain. It is likely not coincidental that the small government the Kochs desire would leave artists and scientists at the mercy of billionaires’ largesse. It’s as if he and his brother wanted to pitch us all on their vision for the world: If we let their companies gobble as much as they could, they would throw us a scrap or two. Never enough to live on; just enough to hold us until the next handout. They would allow us a glimpse of beauty, a mirage of progress, so that we would readily accept a cage.

Protected from consequences by death as his money protected him in life, David Koch is dead.

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David Koch Made the World a More Intolerable PlaceИсточник: https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/08/david-kochs-monstrous-legacy.html

The funders of climate disinformation

Koch BrothersImage

Brothers Charles and David Koch own the controlling shares (84%) of Koch Industries, a massive conglomerate ranked as the second largest, privately owned company in America.  This wealth is based mainly on fossil fuels. For instance the conglomerate operates oil refineries in Alaska, Texas, and Minnesota, and controls some four thousand miles of pipeline  - although it also owns other products and brands such as Lycra. As a result of its huge involvement in fossil fuels it has been called "one of the primary sources of carbon pollution in the United States".


This vast conglomerate has a deplorable record for breaking environmental regulations and illegal pollution. A Koch Industries subsidiary paid a landmark $35 million penalty in January 2000 for its  three hundred oil spills in Texas and five other states. There is a catalogue of other fines paid by Koch industries for assorted environmental violations and, for instance, stealing oil from Federal and Indian land. The Koch brother have not held back from using their political influence to evade such penalties: in April 2001 after Koch helped to elect George Bush in 2000, the Bush Justice Department abruptly settled a criminal case with $350 million in penalties that Koch faced for discharging toxic chemicals from a refinery in Corpus Cristi, Texas.

It might come as no surprise then that the Koch brothers devote a considerable portion of their enormous income to funding a political campaign against every kind of environmental or other regulation that might get in the way of their huge profits. In fact the Koch brothers disguise this with a smokescreen of philanthropic donation to prestige institutions like the Smithsonian but they have also used their money to create an extensive network of think tanks, foundations, lobbyists and tame politicians which has been called “the Kochtopus”.

In fact alongside this crude use of political influence to inflate their personal fortune the Koch brothers have a strand of ideological fanaticism that they may have inherited from their father, Fred C Koch a virulent anti-communist.  In 1980 David H. Koch was a vice-presidential candidate for the extremist Libertarian party. Since then the brothers have given up overt politics but doggedly supported Libertarian causes – which just happen to coincide with the interests of their industrial empire in pushing back regulations – by more covert means.


The list of right wing and free market groups they have used their vast fortune to support is endless but it includes the Cato Institute which Charles cofounded in 1977, the American Enterprise Institute, the George C Marshall Institute, the Reason Foundation, the Heritage Foundation, the Manhattan Institute and Americans for Prosperity, founded by David Koch himself and which spent $40million for the 2010 Congressional elections alone.

The “Kochtopus” has been involved in undermining every kind of environmental progress but in particular it has opposed climate change legislation, for instance  in New Hampshire. and in California where it backed the infamous Prop 23 which threatened (but failed) to push back climate change legislation  In fact a Greenpeace report in 2010 (Koch Industries: Secretly Funding the Climate Denial Machine) found that they are now the leading funder of climate change disinformation, outdoing even ExxonMobil. A follow-up report in 2011 found that the Kochs are still spending vast amounts of money opposing bills to control pollution, most notably supporting Proposition 23 - a move to abolish laws controlling greenhouse gas emissions until unemployment fell below a certain level.

 

Rolling Stone magazine places them second on a list of politicians and execs blocking progress on climate change, exposing David Koch's claims that global warming is good: "The Earth will be able to support enormously more people," he says, "because a far greater land area will be available to produce food."


Describing their political activities in support of their corporate agenda and right wing causes Charles Lewis, founder of the Center of Public Integrity - a watchdog group was quoted as saying: "There's no one else who has spent this much money. The sheer dimension of it is what sets apart. They have a pattern of lawbreaking, political manipulation, and obfuscation. [...] They are the Standard Oil of our times."


Jane Mayer, meanwhile, has written a landmark article for New Yorker magazine which describes the critical role they have played instigating and funding the Tea Party movement, especially through their front group ‘Americans for Progress’  George Monbiot describes  the Tea Party as the way the Koch brothers have found to  "persuade the people harmed by [their] agenda that it's good for them."


Key reading:


Center for American Progress:
The Koch Brothers: What You Need to Know About the Financiers of the Radical Right
www.americanprogressaction.org/issues/2011/04/pdf/koch_brothers.pdf


Greenpeace Report:  Koch Industries - Secretly Funding the Climate Denial Machine
www.greenpeace.org/usa/Global/usa/report/2010/3/koch-industries-secretly-fund.pdf
and follow-up report Koch Industries: Still Fueling Climate Denial 2011 Update
https://www.greenpeace.org/usa/Global/usa/planet3/publications/gwe/Koch-Ind-Still-Fueling-Climate-Denial.pdf

New Yorker Article: The Billionaire Koch Brothers’ War Against Obama
www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/08/30/100830fa_fact_mayer?currentPage=all

Al Jazeera Video on the Koch brothers
http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2011/10/29/356067/the-1-has-a-stranglehold-on-politics-new-al-jazeera-documentary-sheds-light-on-the-koch-brothers/  

ExxonMobil

 ExxonMobil has a long history of funding climate denial, and has given in total around $23 million to organisations aiming to undermine climate science. The company was created in 1999 with the merger of Exxon and Mobil. Both companies who were already active in campaigning against climate change legislationas part of the Global Climate Coalition. In 1997 the Coalition sponsored the Global Climate Information Project, (GCIP). The GCIP ran an advertising campaign in the USA against the Kyoto agreement, reported by the Los Angeles Times to have cost $13 million.

In 1998 Exxon helped plan the American Petroleum Institute’s Global Climate Science Communications Action Plan. This recognised that economic reasons for refusing to act on climate change would not be as effective as undermining the science. Drawn up before climate negotiations in Buenos Aires, the plan stated:
“Victory will be achieved when:
... Average citizens understand (recognise) uncertainties in climate science
... Those promoting the Kyoto treaty on the basis of extant science appear to be out of touch with reality"
Part of the strategy was to enable decision makers to raise “such serious questions about the Kyoto treaty’s scientific underpinnings that American policy makers not only will refuse to endorse it, they will seek to prevent progress towards implementation”.

This focus on the science has been vital to the success of the campaign by vested interests to prevent actionon climate change. There are marked similarities with the tactics tobacco companies have used in the past, as detailed in the report on ExxonMobil, Smoke, Mirrors and Hot Air, by the Union of Concerned Scientists.

The Greenpeace report, Exxon’s Weapons of Mass Deception, shows the close links that ExxonMobil had with the Bush administration, funding political campaigns and lobbying against the Kyoto treaty. In April 2002 Dr Robert Watson was removed as chair of the IPCC, following concerted lobbying by the Bush administration. A leaked memorandum to the White House shows ExxonMobil recommending his removal.

Under pressure, ExxonMobil conceded in its 2007 Corporate Citizenship Report, "In 2008 we will discontinue contributions to several public policy groups whose position on climate change could divert attention from the important discussion on how the world will secure energy required for economic growth in an environmentally responsible manner."

However, this funding has clearly continued. In 2009 ExxonMobil gave around $1.3 million to at least 24 organisations known for working to create doubt about global warming. This is a reduction from the peak funding in 2005 of over $3.5 million, but includes, for example $100,000 to the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, co-sponsors of the 2009 conference of leading climate sceptics entitled "Global Warming: Was It Ever Really a Crisis?". The web of funding can be difficult to unravel, for example the Atlas Foundation in turn supports more than 30 other foreign think-tanks that espouse climate change scepticism. Greenpeace has mapped some of the organisations and individuals linked to Exxon with an interactive tool.

Key ‘sceptic’ scientists receive funding from multiple sources. For example Dr Willie Soon is most famous for his influential, although thoroughly debunked, paper with Sallie Baliunas attacking the ‘hockey stick’ graph of global temperatures, funded by the American Petroleum Institute (API).In 2007 Soon co-authored a a ‘viewpoint’, published in the journal Ecological Complexity  that stated that polar bears were not under threat from global warming and that Arctic sea ice decline was less severe than had been thought. As a ‘viewpoint’, this was not peer-reviewed but has become a key reference for those arguing that polar bears are not under threat from climate change. This piece of work by an astrophysicist (hardly the most relevant field to polar bear ecology) was funded by ExxonMobil, API and the Charles G Koch Charitable Foundation. Dr Soon’s work and funding has been detailed by Greenpeace (more here, also criticism of the science).

The American Enterprise Institute, also funded by ExxonMobil, sent letters to scientists and economists in 2007 offering $10,000 for articles criticising the 2007 IPCC report. Recent analysis by Carbon Brief found that of the ten most referenced authors in a list of papers alleged to support climate scepticism, nine had funding links to ExxonMobil.

Key reading:

Carbon Brief profile on ExxonMobil

https://www.carbonbrief.org/daily-brief/exxonmobil-defies-market-and-invests-in-oil-refinery

Exxon's Weapons of Mass Deception

https://www.greenpeace.org/international/

Dealing in Doubt

https://www.greenpeace.org/usa/Global/usa/report/2010/3/dealing-in-doubt.pdf

'Exxon secrets' funding map

https://exxonsecrets.org:443/maps.php

Источник: https://www.campaigncc.org/climate_change/sceptics/funders

'Secret' weekend meeting fires up debate over $$$, politics & influence

Washington (CNN) - This weekend, at a posh resort near Palm Springs, California, two billionaire corporate titans will convene a semi-annual meeting of a politically well-connected set. It will include wealthy donors and powerful Republicans, including House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.

At David and Charles Koch's meeting, attendees will discuss items like how best to promote free markets and how to help elect conservatives. Donors are expected to be asked to donate to conservative causes.

It will be conducted virtually in secret, with no press or public allowed and many attendees keeping event details on the hush.

That's fueled criticism that this gathering is a sort of secret cabal - a "Billionaires Caucus," critics say. Robert Reich, former Labor Secretary in the Clinton administration, even said that the Koch brothers' meeting represents "a threat to our democracy."

Those and other criticisms were leveled during a Thursday telephone press conference for reporters organized by the liberal-oriented, nonprofit group, Common Cause. On Sunday, the group will hold events to counter the Koch's weekend conference: hosting a panel discussion titled, "Uncloaking the Kochs" and spearheading a protest rally, both near the Rancho las Palmas resort, the site of the Koch meeting.

A central issue inflaming this debate: the role of corporate money in politics, especially after last year's landmark Supreme Court campaign finance ruling. That decision, in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, found that the "government may not suppress political speech on the basis of the speaker's corporate identity."

During the telephone press conference, Reich said that decision "opens the floodgates to any amount of money by corporations and rich individuals" to be used in the political system - echoing the sentiment of many others. And many of them, Common Cause included, accuse the Koch brothers of funding a conservative political network to advance their corporate interests and political beliefs.

Koch Industries is the second largest privately-held company in the United States. It's based in Wichita, Kansas, and is involved in industry areas such as energy, fibers, and chemicals, among others.

Koch Industries spokeswoman Nancy Pfotenhauer responded specifically to criticism of the weekend meeting.

"Those that are attending the conference believe that everyone benefits from the prosperity that emerges from free societies," Pfotenhauer said. "This gathering is meant to discuss strategies for promoting policies that will help grow our economy, foster free enterprise and create American jobs."

The Koch Foundation is one of many donors to The Heritage Foundation. Rory Cooper, director of communications for Heritage, reacted to the criticism of the Koch meeting - though he explained his group has nothing to do with it.

"I don't understand the criticism of people getting together and talking about politics and governance," Cooper said. "I think a lot of the people who I've seen, making those statements, so far, have been people who are not transparent in their own regards. So I think that there's certainly a great deal of hypocrisy here."

This issue of transparency - of who's disclosing what - also enflames the debate.

Common Cause's effort to "Uncloak the Kochs" stems from their claim that the brothers are secretly funneling money into efforts that will, eventually, advance their interests. Van Jones, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, partly put it this way: "They are the King Kong and Godzilla of bad policy, trampling through our democracy. And they must be exposed and they must be stopped."

Koch Industries' website denies charges like these.

"For more than 40 years, these brothers have been open and steadfast proponents of individual and economic freedom," it states. "Through their personal involvement and private foundations, they have lawfully supported activities and causes consistent with their beliefs."

Meanwhile, the Center for American Progress also faces questions about its political ties and level of donor transparency. Its president and chief executive officer is John Podesta, former chief of staff for President Bill Clinton and an ally to the Obama White House.

As for donors, there are questions about who donates to the Center for American Progress - some accusing the group of keeping its donor list secret.

When pressed on this point by CNN, the group would only reiterate its "concern with the Kochs."

Common Cause, which faces the same question, responds differently.

"We are revealing our donors," Bob Edgar said. "If you contact us, you can have access to that. We have strict policies of sharing that information. You just need to contact us."

Meanwhile, as liberal or Democratic-aligned groups play up the Koch brothers' ties to conservative groups - others say it's not much different from what progressive organizations do.

Conservative critics often cite wealthy donors, like billionaire George Soros, who help fund liberal groups, like the Democracy Alliance. And they say what Soros and liberals are doing is not much different than what the Kochs and other conservatives are doing: promoting their political beliefs.

Participants in Thursday's telephone conference call vehemently outlined what they see as differences.

Edgar of Common Cause said: "It's not millions of dollars, it's billions of dollars available to them. It's the size of their reach. A few years ago, there was an analysis done of how much the radical right has invested in trying to shape policy versus all of the progressive, liberal organizations. The difference in volume and amounts of resources is very different."

Источник: https://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2011/01/28/koch-weekend-meeting-fires-up-debate-over-politics-influence/

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