Damning the Koch Bros.


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Image publicized by Think Progress

The recent headline in Bloomberg Markets magazine was nothing if not sensational: “Koch Brothers Flout Law Getting Richer with Secret Iran Sales.” Those would be the billionaire Koch brothers, Charles and David Koch, whose support for libertarian, small-government causes and sponsorship of the Tea Party has turned them into bêtes noires for the Left and a foil for much of the mainstream media.

Bloomberg Markets’ article was almost precisely calculated to fuel left-wing contempt for the Koches, with its account of an alleged pattern of unethical and illegal business practices by Koch Industries Inc., the brothers’ Wichita, Kansas, based oil company. As depicted in the report, Koch Industries Inc. was the very personification of corporate greed and profit-first amorality, a notoriously secretive company that regularly disregarded U.S. laws and regulations in order to do business, including with America’s enemies like Iran.

The Left instantly seized on the sinister-sounding storyline. Left-wing blogs raged at the Koch brothers’ supposed “Iranian treason” and insisted that all the causes supported by the Koch brothers, from groups like Americans for Prosperity to the Tea Party, were tainted by association with them. Not to be outdone, Mother Jones demanded that Rick Perry, who had received funding from the Koch brothers while running for Texas governor, return all donations and renounce any and all ties to the Koches. New York magazine chimed in that, as a result of Bloomberg’s report, the Koch brothers “seem to be resembling more and more the left’s caricature of them” as evil right-wingers bent on doing the country ill. What more proof could be needed of the Koch brothers’ malevolence?

For all the hyper-partisan outrage it generated on the Left, however, there was significantly less to the Bloomberg Markets report than met the eye. As journalism, the hit-piece was shoddy at best. For example, to back up its claims about Koch Industries’ disregard for American laws in dealing with Iran, the magazine relied primarily on two sources, both disgruntled former employees. One of the sources, Ludmila Egorova-Farines, had been fired by the company for failing to show up to work. And the sources contradicted each other. Thus, to support its claims about Koch’s dealings in Iran, the magazine relied on the say-so of one George Bentu, who was identified as a sales engineer for a subsidiary of Koch Industries based in Germany. “Every single chance they had to do business with Iran or anyone, else, they did,” Bentu was quoted as saying. Nowhere mentioned in the report was that Bentu’s account was dismissed by Ergorova-Farines, the other main source for the story, while she was still with the company. After investigating Bentu’s concerns, she found that they were “contradictory” and had “insufficient or no substantiation.” Clearly, the magazine had not chosen the most credible sources on which to base its indictment of Koch Industries.

But the problem with the story exceeded its dubious sources. Bloomberg Markets reported that between 2001 and 2007, a French subsidiary of Koch sold petrochemical equipment to Iran. Yet the magazine declined to highlight a highly critical point: the deals were perfectly legal. Although U.S. law banned American multinational companies from doing business in Iran, these companies’ foreign subsidiaries were allowed to operate under certain conditions. That exception is the reason that 74 corporations have done business in Iran over the last decade, according to the New York Times.

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  • Larry

    It's the classic leftard tactic, as laid out by Alinsky, that basically comes down to "pick a target and throw lots and lots of sh*t, eventually enough will stick, even if there is no basis in truth of any of it".

    That and of course that there are two sets of rules, one for leftards and one for everybody else.

    • trickyblain

      That's actually a Lee Atwater tactic, Larry. Perfected by Karl Rove (See: McCain's illegitimate black baby).

      Sort of like the article in yesterday's FPM edition that claims Obama wanted to apologize for the atomic bomb. No evidence, just a rumor reported as fact. And of course all the sheep commenters simply agree – "baaah, baaaah, baa-aaa-aaahhhhh!"

      • akbass

        Ha ha ha……you Lefttards are all the same. You want to see a flock of sheep? Check out the videos from the Atlanta OWS demonstrations (or from any other city for that matter).

        • Questions

          Rep. Ron Paul has publicly endorsed the demonstrators, especially its anti-Fed signs. Does that make Paul a "Lefttard," too?

      • derekcrane

        Actually, trickyblain, there is evidence of Obama's apology for Hiroshima. It is from WikiLeaks. See: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2011/10/12/14

      • Free4500

        It's amazing to see the left and right both attack each other as Evil. Are both right? Are both wrong? Or are both partially right and partially wrong?
        But one thing is clear as it stands now: with the country split down the middle, with each side convinced the other is the Evil one…how long before real blood starts to flow? How long before Civil War Two becomes a reality? Who or what is behind these amazingly different paradigms of the world? God help us. Good luck to everyone.

        • Beth

          "God help us" yes

          And thank God, there are 2 sides. That means there is still a side that refuses to get into bed with those who bow to a murderer.

  • Traveler

    now it it time for Bloomberg to our George Soros, the master pupperteer and owner of one of the other political parties, oops…right that will never happen…does he have a share of Bloomberg too?

  • Traveler

    that was suppose to be out George Soros

  • SoCalMike

    The Left lies.
    They can't open their mouths without lying so for Bloomberg to smear the Koch Brothers with lies makes perfect sense.
    Bloomberg and NY Times writers just don't feel like their feet are on the ground if they aren't busy selling their own leftist gospel or aiding and abetting mass murder.
    The Party of Pinocchio is at it again.

    • scum

      Sure Mike, while 1 in 6 kids goes to school hungry.

      • Neils60

        There are free and/or reduced breakfasts and lunch programs available in just about every school in the USA, based upon a parent/guardians income. (I can tell you, too, from experience, there's little to sometimes no scrutiny of parent/guardians income statements.)

      • akbass

        BS, scum. You losers always rely on totally overblown BS "statistics." Nice try.

      • truebearing

        Thank you for your conspicuous honesty. Your name is perfect.

    • Beth

      NY Times defended (made excuses) for the murderers of the Beslan children. (I will never forget them for that)

      leopards can not change their spots

  • davarino

    I have seen posts here lately by lefties that mention the EVIL KOCH BROTHERS and their ties to the EVIL TEA PARTY (the capped words should be said with an echo and errie). That was all you had, and now you know the truth? Big deal, now go back home and get some more talking points you miserable twitts

    • scum

      It goes far deeper than that Davarino. Forget the 'Tea Party' connection. Like Cheney being indicted by Nigeria, the Koch Bros doled out millions in under the counter deals in dozens of countries. And that's only the beginning….

      • nightspore

        What on earth does "Cheney being indicted by Nigeria" mean?

        "And that's only the beginning …." I'm sure it is.

        Why do leftwing trolls always sound like South Park extras? Why do their posts always resemble a mirror that isn't completely smooth, so that the reflection is oddly disconnected …

  • http://jewishdefense.org AJ Weberman

    It is still wrong even if it is legal. It is like doing business with Hitler. But as long as the Right benefits anything goes including global warming.

    • Neils60

      Tell that to President Obama's most prestigious member of his Job's Council, Jeffrey Immelt of GE.

  • howdydoody

    Well, it's a well known fact (not rumour nor hearsay) that the Koch fortune was made in Stalinist Russia, so how is it surprising that they would find a way to make a profit in Iran?. They'll make money wherever they can, no matter how oppressive and bloodthirsty the regime is, they're capitalists, that's what they do. It's about money, not ethics or morals.

    • derekcrane

      And the Kennedys are all bootleggers because Joe Kennedy earned his fortune mainly by "importing" liquor during Prohibition? And Al Gore is a traitor because his father conspired with Armand Hammer to make Occidental Petroleum an important contributor to the Soviet oil industry? The sins of the father cannot be conferred to the sons.

  • Josh

    I am frankly shocked that Front Page would apologize for anyone who does business with the Iranian regime, which seeks to wipe Israel off the face of the earth. I have been skeptical of the attacks on the Koch brothers for some time, but even they aren't denying their business dealings with the Hitlerian regime in Tehran. For shame, Koch brothers, an for shame to anyone who excuses their business dealings with the greatest enemies of Israel.

    • Beth

      I'm with you Josh on this: Shame on anyone who has ANY dealings with Iran

      But the article here is coverage of the deep bias of the left – and not an apology for dealing with murderers. That's another topic.

  • Dennis X

    The so-called " grass roots tea baggers" are in fact the koch brothers.

  • Amused

    Frontpage is sympathetic to ANYONE who opposes Democrats or Obama . Which by the way is Horowitz's right , but at the expense of his own credibility .
    Just like the PHONY OBAMA APOLOGY story , which if any honesty existed on "Daves blog " there would have been a retraction , or atleast a correction [dont hold your breath ]
    Now here we have the Koch Bros. Truly a slimey crew , fought tooth and nail aginst having some of the chermicals their plants spew into the enviromnment listed as carcinogenic , having poisoned people in Arkansas , but hey they support with their millions the Conservatives therefore are off limits for criticism , EVEN WHEN IT IS JUSTIFIED .
    Oh yea , poor v,poor Koch Bros . attacked by those dirty lefties ,being called EXACTLY what they are .LOL….and they had to "investigate themselves " to find out if they were ilegally dealing with Iran ?
    Frontpage , you've sold your souls for your ideology ….and that aint a good thing . True Breitbart-ians . Makes one wonder if any of the " Koch Bros. Juice " has reahed out an touched you .
    ** BTW , that's NOT fact , just my OPINION , but shaped by your behavior .

  • Beth

    I find it amusing that FP articles are able to keep you awake at night (obviously)

  • Amused

    No , they dont keep me awake at night Beth . They are entertainment , though I am a bit surprised about just how many ignorant people there are in this country . And of course it provides evidence for a theory I've held for the past 30 or so years . Have you heard about it ?
    I call it " The Theory of ARSEHOLES in the Unverse " [ and their exponential propogation ] . All my hypothesis' thusfar have been confirmed . It's a great thing in science to have observation match exactly a hypothesis .
    Glad you're amused , so am I .

  • Amused

    ….and sooooo predictable . And look ! atleast one idiot approves your juvenile statement …so far lololol .

  • levi9

    KOCH BROS….

    CHIEF SPONSOR OF THE WISCONSIN ANTI-LABOR FIASCO LAST SUMMER!!

    They only have to blame themselves for becoming a target of the angry/resurgent left!