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I"m at the gym on the bike, I usually read a good novel but today I was listening to an old broadcast of Thom Hartmann that I had recorded from his archives. (free I might add)

"Koch" industries (pronounced "coke"), became the subject for discussion.

I am AMAZED I have never heard of this company, AMAZED this has not gotten more exposure even from progressive blogs.

In 2004 they were the leading campaign contributers from all oil concerns, they operate under the radar because it’s privately owned, only they and the IRS know much about their operation.

IT IS THE SECOND LARGEST PRIVATE COMPANY IN AMERICA

*and I didn’t even know it existed till today*

From the link I posted fade to;

Although it is both a top campaign contributor and spends millions on direct lobbying, Koch’s chief political influence tool is a web of interconnected, right-wing think tanks and advocacy groups funded by foundations controlled and supported by the two Koch brothers.
Among those groups are some of the country’s most prominent conservative and libertarian voices including the Cato Institute, the Reason Foundation, Citizens for a Sound Economy and the Federalist Society. All regularly beat the drum in official Washington for the causes the Koch’s hold dear—minimal government, deregulation, and free market economics.

Look at that group funded, controlled and somtimes founded by "koch"…STUNNING!, and then there’s THIS;

For the Kochs, conservative and libertarian views are a family tradition. Fred Koch, who founded the company’s predecessor in 1940, helped establish the ultra right-wing John Birch Society.

DO tell!

PLEASE follow me below the fold

Even critics seem awed by the Kochs’ ability to shape policy so effectively without drawing much attention to themselves.

"without drawing much attention to themselves"…no SHIT

Koch has had plenty of run-ins with government regulators and other legal problems in recent years. Through it all, the company has shown a remarkable knack for getting criminal charges dropped and huge potential penalties knocked down.

"Knocked down" is one of the understatements of the decade;

In late 2000—as the Clinton Administration was preparing to leave office—Koch was hit with a 97-count indictment for covering up the discharge of more than 15 times the legal limit of benzene, a carcinogen, from a refinery in Corpus Christi, Texas.

The company faced penalties of more than $350 million. Four Koch employees were also charged individually and faced up to 35 years in prison.

Three months after the Bush administration took office—and just before the lawsuit went to trial—the Justice Department abruptly settled the case. Koch agreed to pay $20 million and plead guilty to a single count of concealment of information. In return, the Justice Department dropped all criminal charges against Koch and the four employees.

NOT an isolated example;

In another case, Koch was sued by the government in 1995 and 1997 over a reported 300 oil spills at pipelines owned and operated by the company. Those lawsuits sought from $71 million to $214 million in penalties for the spills, which dumped an estimated three million gallons of oil into lakes and streams in six states.

On January 13, 2000, the government settled that case for $35 million in fines.

And the link provides more examples, however there are other fish to fry concerning koch, let’s look at those;

About 79 percent of Koch’s contributions went to Republican candidates, totaling roughly $3 million for the GOP compared to about $694,000 for Democrats, in transactions where a party affiliation could be identified.

I want to know who those democrats are, but that’s another thread, let’s look at this;

Koch has also shown a remarkable ability to get rid of or modify environmental policies and other government rules it doesn’t like.

After facing the spate of government lawsuits brought by the Clinton Administration, Koch cranked up its policy influence machine to gut sections of federal environmental laws causing the company problems.

Holy crap, this is simply incredible stuff

The entire article is a MUST read, originally written in 2004 and then updated in 2006, I am simply dumbfounded that I, as a progressive, have never heard anything about this company.

It is THIS company that might be entirely responsible for right wing media, paying for adds that do NOT return dividends ACCEPT for the law and lawmakers they are able to influence