The Corrupt Billionaire
Brothers David &
For decades, fossil fuel billionaires David and Charles Koch led the war of the superrich against the middle class and poor. (David just died.)
The 2 brothers are worth $125 billion. They each make about $1.8 million per hour. They have a number of palatial homes across the US, plus massive yachts in the Meditteranean and corporate jets.
- They own a huge variety of businesses including oil, gas, pipelines, fracking, coal, fertilizers, chemicals, minerals, lumber, drywall, insulation, glass, windows, Stainmaster carpets, clothing, Brawny paper towels, napkins, Dixie cups, Quilted Northern and Angel Soft toilet paper, electronics, robotics, auto parts, cattle ranching, commodities, derivatives, the nylon, spandex, and Lycra in diapers and exercise clothing, etc.
- In 1980, David Koch ran for vice-president. He wanted to end Social Security, Medicare, the minimum wage, labor laws, including child labor laws, corporate and personal taxes, and many government agencies, including the FBI, CIA, Department of Energy, and the Occupational Health and Safety Administration.
Their Crimes, Resulting Deaths, & Toxic Waste
- The Koch brothers break our laws on a massive scale and hate government regulations, especially those that protect our food, water, air, workers, and consumers.
- In 2012, the Environmental Protection Agency said Koch Industries was the largest producer of toxic waste in the US. Other studies consistently put them in the top 3 or 5.
- They expect us taxpayers to pay for the resulting illnesses, emergencies, and damage to the environment.
- They often cut costs and hide contamination, even when their chemicals cause high rates of illnesses nearby, and when discovered, often declare bankruptcy to escape the costs.
- They have had to pay $400 million in fines for massive chemical waste releases and disasters and violations of workplace safety laws.
- In the 1990s alone, our government sued them for over 300 oil spills into lakes and rivers in 6 states.
- In just one case, they illegally dumped a million gallons of high-ammonia wastewater on the ground and into the Mississippi River and negligently let aviation fuel leak into the Mississippi.
- The Koch brothers helped write laws to make fracking chemicals almost entirely exempt from the Safe Drinking Water Act and to keep those toxic chemicals injected into the earth secret from the public.
- After two deaths, a jury found Koch Industries guilty of negligence and malice for only fixing 80 of 538 corrosion defects in their butane pipes to save money.
- As a result of ignoring the corrosion, two teenagers in Texas smelled gas and tried to drive away to a pay phone to call for help but the gas cloud ignited and they burned alive to their deaths.
Their Dangerous Factories Screw Workers
- The Koch paper, packaging, and building materials company Georgia-Pacific is a more dangerous place to work than its major competitors.
- Our government has found Georgia-Pacific violated dozens of federal worker safety regulations and fined Georgia-Pacific in the deaths of 4 different workers: a crushed skull, two burning deaths, and a worker hit by a truck in a crosswalk.
- In 2014 alone at Georgia-Pacific, 6 workers died, 9 employees lost limbs or body parts (marked as amputations in their database), 154 workers suffered heat burns, and 19 suffered electrical shocks.
- Georgia-Pacific worker injuries have constantly increased as Koch Industries has cut staff and pushed workers to work harder, faster, and longer, with fewer days off than ever before.
- Koch warehouses track their workers’ activities each minute, including every conversation and bathroom trip, forcing them to compete against each other for the best performance ratings in order to keep their jobs.
- One female Georgia-Pacific warehouse worker asked her bosses for a day off but they forced her to work 30 days in a row. When they finally told her she could stay home on the 31st day, she broke down in tears. All she did that next day was sleep.
- These Koch employees make less money now than they did in the 1980s, when you adjust for inflation.
- Koch Industries sold oil equipment to Iran and appears to have bribed governments like Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Algeria, India, and Nigeria for business.
- When they discussed possibly making Koch Industries a publicly-traded company, their lawyer warned that taking the company public would land all the executives and board members in jail.
- Our government forced a Koch plant to pay a settlement of $3.75 million for sexual and racial harassment of Hispanic workers.
- Charles and David Koch spent 20 years suing their other 2 brothers to inherit more of their father’s wealth.
- They even blackmailed their gay brother in order to win more of the family fortune, threatening to out him to their father unless he gave them his shares in the company.
- Charles and David also hired private investigators to go through their two brothers’ garbage and bribed janitors to dig up dirt.
- They’ve also hired private investigators against other enemies, including journalists, prosecutors, and even the FBI while they were being investigated.
- The Koch brothers make a lot of money from derivatives, the risky financial securities that nearly crashed our economy.
- They bet on commodities despite owning and/or distributing many of them, so they have insider knowledge and can control their market conditions.
- Of course, they flooded Congress with lobbyists after the financial crash to make sure they wouldn’t get much regulation.
Funding Climate Change Denial
- For decades, the Koch brothers funded climate change deniers and their fake science.
- They probably did more to fund climate change deniers and to stop laws fighting climate change than even ExxonMobile.
- They pushed 156 members of Congress to sign a promise never to do anything about climate change that requires spending any money.
- They spent money on television attack ads to change the minds or destroy the careers of any politicians who dared to support renewable energy programs, cap and trade pollution taxes, mass transit, or limiting emissions of carbon and other greenhouse gases.
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