Pat McCrory's Dirty Energy Pfriends

Koch Industries has been called the biggest oil company you've never heard of, but Pat McCrory has heard of it. On Monday October 20th his campaign got a $4,000 check from KOCHPAC the PAC of a company with a history of oil spills, air pollution violations and funding of global warming skeptics and right-wing think-tanks to the tune of millions of dollars. Koch Industries, headquartered in Wichita, Kansas, is the among the largest privately held companies in the country. Brothers Charles and David Koch (pronounced “coke”) control an empire with about $100 billion in annual revenues. Their father Fred was a founding member of the John Birch Society and they are friends of Bob and Elizabeth Dole.

Koch Family Foundations fund the Heartland Institute, Competitive Enterprise Institute, John Locke Foundation, Americans for Prosperity, Cato Institute, Heritage Foundation, Reason Foundation, FreedomWorks, Hudson Institute, George Mason University and its Institute for Human Studies. The Koch Industries Inc PAC (KOCHPAC) is a leading campaign contributor, having disbursed some $2.4 million in the 2008 Election cycle through the end of September. Some other notable NC contributions in the 2008 cycle include:

$10,000 Leadership Circle PAC (Elizabeth Dole)
$10,000 Next Century Fund (Richard Burr)
$7,500 Elizabeth Dole
$5,000 Sue Myrick

The Next Century Fund in turn contributed $4,000 to Pat McCrory. In 2002 David Koch gave $100,000 to the Elizabeth Dole's "Dole North Carolina Victory Committee Inc". Pat McCrory is the beneficiary of a well-oiled machine, so to speak. Koch companies operate thousands of miles of oil, gas and chemical pipelines, oil refineries crude oil processing capacity of over 800,000 barrels per day. Other companies deal in fertilizers, fibers, forest products and minerals including sulphur, cement and carbon materials like coke and coal for electricity generation while another company handles oil and gas exploration.

Americans for Prosperity, an organization funded by Koch Family Foundations and our own Art Pope, has reportedly spent $300,000 in the 2008 Senate campaign for ads advocating for offshore oil drilling, half attacking Kay Hagan and half praising Elizabeth Dole. The Dole family has a long history with Koch Industries. In an online project called the "Politics of Oil" the Center for Public Integrity posted an article on how Koch's Low Profile Belies Political Power.

In 1995 Koch was facing a $54 million lawsuit filed by the EPA, the Coast Guard, and the Justice Department for causing more than 300 oil spills in six states over a five year period. Bob Dole introduced legislation that would have helped Koch defend itself but the bill died a year later. Koch eventually settled the case in 2000, paying $35 million. Later that year Koch Industries was hit by the Justice Department with a 97 count indictment for violting federal air and hazardous waste laws and for conspiracy and making false statement in connection with an unreported release in Corpus Christi, TX, of 91 metric tons of benzene, 15 times the legal limit of 6 metric tons. Koch faced a penalty of $48.5 million. The case dragged on into 2001 and three months after George W Bush took office Koch settled for a $20 million fine, days before trial. 90 counts had been dropped and Koch plead guilty to one count of concealment of information.

And so we come to 2008 and Nancy Pfotenhauer, a top policy advisor to John McCain and described by Think Progress as McCain's Dirty Energy Spokeswoman. You may recognize her from her frequent appearances on cable news. Before joining the McCain campaign she headed up Americans for Prosperity. She also headed another Koch funded group, the Independent Women's Forum prior to which she was Koch Industries top lobbyist in their Washington office. The company spends about $4 million lobbying annually. Pfotenhauer also worked for Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE) founded and funded by the Koch Family and a precursor to Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks. We don't need any dirty energy pfriends of Koch Industries like Pat McCrory. Koch Industries record speaks for itself however Nancy Pfotenhauer seems to drive that scary message home almost every night this election season.


Regardless of how this election turns out,

and it's looking more and more like a Democratic rout, environmental causes have taken a beating this year.

From the tv debates and ad spots to the robocalls and propaganda mailers, Americans have been bombarded with misinformation by criminal polluters like Koch, and I have a feeling the effects of this barrage will be with us for some time.

Unfortunately, I think you're right.

I've also been wondering whether we are going to have a Democratic rout, and then worrying that we're over-optimistic. I hope the GOP doesn't find a way to steal this election, but am not confident that they won't, and like a lot of people, have lost faith that our electoral process is truly protected from tampering. The efforts of the GOP to discourage voting in Ohio are bad enough without the reports that still pop up about machines "malfunctioning."

But putting that aside for the moment, your question about whether a Democratic rout represents a real step up for environmental issues is a damned good one. Democrats may be gaining the votes of people who have traditionally voted GOP, but unless I'm mistaken, these Democrats have not been especially vocal in opposition to offshore drilling. There's been a lot of trepidation from Democrats on the environment as they posture themselves as being "just a wee bit to the left" of some hard rightwing war hawks.

This election won't be viewed as a referendum on the environment, in any case.

Well, I can promise you

the environment will be receiving some more attention after the election's over. At least here, anyway. And for any soon-to-be freshly-elected or re-elected Democrats reading this, the gloves are coming off real soon, so you better start practicing hugging that damned tree right now. Hug it!

Bark mark on my arms

I'll roll up my sleeves and show ya.