Greenpeace airship sends message to secretive oil billionaires’ strategy meeting: “Koch Brothers: Dirty Money”

Tax records show Koch Foundations continued funding climate denial organizations, $54.9 million since 1997 and $31.3 million since 2005

Media release - January 28, 2011
Rancho Mirage, CA – Jan 28, 2011 – Greenpeace today flew an airship with a banner reading “Koch Brothers: Dirty Money” over Rancho Mirage, California as oil billionaires David and Charles Koch convened their latest secret political strategy meeting. The aerial message to arriving attendees of the meeting highlighted the Koch Brothers’ ongoing use of their vast oil profits to push a polluter agenda through campaign contributions, lobbying, and funding fronts groups and think tanks.

On Sunday, hundreds of people from a diverse coalition of labor, environmental, consumer, and other groups will protest the Koch Brothers’ strategy meeting at the Rancho Las Palmas resort in Rancho Mirage.

“David and Charles Koch used their dirty money to block progress on clean energy and climate change policies, and now they’re scheming to roll back the Clean Air Act and other critical health and environmental protections with their partners in Congress,” said Kert Davies, Research Director for Greenpeace USA. “Their agenda of increased polluter profits at the expense of people, our health, and environment must be exposed and stopped.”

Tax records obtained by Greenpeace show that Koch foundations continued funneling money to front groups and think tanks that spread inaccurate and misleading information about climate science and clean energy policies. The tax records from David H. Koch Charitable Foundation, Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation and the Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation show:

  • In 2009, the latest year for which data is now available, the Koch foundations continued the pace of recent funding, providing over $6.4 million dollars to a familiar array of conservative organizations that engage in global warming denial.
  • The new total funding to these climate denial organizations is $54.9 million since 1997 and $31.3 million since 2005
  • Top recipients in 2009 included The Institute for Humane Studies, the Mercatus Center, Americans for Prosperity, the Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute.  Americans for Prosperity has now received over $5.6 million in documented donations from the Koch foundations.

The newly available tax records update findings from Greenpeace’s March 2010 report, Koch Industries, Secretly Funding the Climate Denial Machine, released to expose the company's role in funding climate denial organizations, lobbying and political contributions to block progress on climate and clean energy policies. The report is available at http://www.greenpeace.org/kochindustries

The New Yorker magazine published an investigation of the Koch Brothers in August 2010, revealing the oil billionaires’ central role in funding and establishing astroturf organizations and think tanks that push a corporate agenda.  Now, a growing awareness of these oil billionaire’s destructive agenda has lead to increased scrutiny and resistance from organizations and people all over the United States.

###


Photos available at http://www.flickr.com/photos/greenpeaceusa09/sets/72157625798953453/

CONTACTS: Joe Smyth, Greenpeace Media in Washington DC, 831-566-5647
Jenny Binstock, Greenpeace Southern California organizer, in Rancho Mirage, CA 216-470-7838
High resolution photos, video footage and Koch Foundations tax records available upon request