Koch Crimes and Tea Party Chumps
We got a preview of how damaging an upcoming Bloomberg Markets magazine story on the Koch brothers would be last week. Salon’s Justin Elliott reported that “an anonymous person or persons in the orbit of the billionaire conservative donors Charles and David Koch try to discredit a forthcoming story in Bloomberg Markets magazine.”
"Based on the prebuttal items appearing this week in the Washington Examiner, the Daily Caller, and U.S. News and World Report,” he continued, “the Bloomberg story focuses on alleged malfeasance and/or fraud and/or bad behavior by the conglomerate Koch Industries.”
That’s right, prebuttals. They want to discredit the story before it ever even hits the newsstands. But this weekend, Bloomberg put up what Politico calls an “early glance" of the article up on their website and what’s there is explosive. And detailed.
There’s plenty there; illicit business dealings with Iran, bribery in Africa, India, and the Middle East, firing the company’s internal investigators for not turning blind eyes to obvious wrongdoing (“They didn’t know what to do with me,” says one. “They were really kind of baffled that I had ethics”), and general corporate culture of lawlessness and corruption. If you want an idea of what the perfect corporate climate would be for the Koch brothers and the Tea Party, look no further. Just imagine nearly everything they’re already doing, only made legal.
But it are those Tea Party ties that put the Kochs in the hypocrisy hot seat. While bankrolling a movement that argues government spends too much, Koch Industries has engaged in naked theft of taxpayer money (emphasis mine):
…Koch Industries units have also rigged prices with competitors, lied to regulators and repeatedly run afoul of environmental regulations, resulting in five criminal convictions since 1999 in the U.S. and Canada.
From 1999 through 2003, Koch Industries was assessed more than $400 million in fines, penalties and judgments. In December 1999, a civil jury found that Koch Industries had taken oil it didn’t pay for from federal land by mismeasuring the amount of crude it was extracting. Koch paid a $25 million settlement to the U.S.
Phil Dubose, a Koch employee who testified against the company said he and his colleagues were shown by their managers how to steal and cheat — using techniques they called the Koch Method.
The Kochs are members of the “taxation is theft” crowd, by the way. While David Koch has called for the abolition of “Social Security, the Federal Reserve System, welfare, minimum wage laws and federal agencies — including the Department of Energy, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Central Intelligence Agency,” here he is taking money from the Federal government — only without asking. You know what happens to the average person who steals $25 million from the government? It’s not what happens to a Koch, apparently.
But remember, it’s grandma and her Social Security and Medicare whose leeching off the system — never mind that she paid into to both of those her entire life. Entitlements (i.e., things you’ve already bought with your tax dollars and are entitled to get) are communism, but out-and-out theft is just good old-fashioned capitalism. One of the oldest of capitalist fashions, in fact — banditry.
All this anti-regulation stuff the Kochs like? Well, it’s looking like they don’t like regulations because it makes it to hard to steal. In their perfect world, they’d be able to wander through those Tea Party crowds and pickpocket every cent they could. “What? My hand in your pocket? Why don’t be silly. It was that unemployed guy over there!”
At this point, I’m having a hard time thinking of a better example of the chumpitude of the average teapartier. The Kochs have been implicated in theft, corruption, trading with America’s enemies, and even wrongful death. They almost literally have their hands in everyone’s pockets, yet these pigeons will protect them to the end.
As teapartiers march around with their “Don’t tread on me” flags, it’s hard to ignore the Koch footprints all over their backs.