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

by Kert Davies

January 28, 2011

Today, a Greenpeace team flew our 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 at a resort in that town.

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.

In conjunction with today’s airship action, Greenpeace has also obtained and analyzed tax forms from the various Koch charitable foundations. These records show that in 2009, the oil billionaires gave an additional $6.4 million to front groups and think tanks that spread inaccurate and misleading information about climate science and clean energy policies.

This updates findings from our March 2010 report, Koch Industries, Secretly Funding the Climate Denial Machine, and show that Koch foundations have given a total of $54.9 million to climate denial organizations since 1997, including $31.3 million in recent years of 2005 2009.

The Kochs were thrust into the spotlight in 2010 by an August expose in the New Yorker magazine. This secret meeting was revealed by an invitation leak to the New York Times in October and offers a glimpse of the way that the Koch Brothers use their network of corporate executives, polluter-friendly politicians and media personalities to hone political strategies and bundle money to fund front groups and other campaigns. POLITICO dug deeper into the participants and objectives of the meeting earlier this week, and Lee Fang from Think Progress has new details about some of the attendees expected this weekend, and what the Koch Brothers have planned.

Thus begins a weekend of events to Uncloak the Kochs and their corporate polluter agenda. 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 theyre scheming to roll back the Clean Air Act and other critical health and environmental protections with their partners in Congress. 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.

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