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Opinion

Opinion

Koch responds to criticism

April 11, 2012

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Craig Grant’s letter (Koch Causes, April 9) is a textbook example of fictitious assertions that have no basis in reality. Where to begin? Koch’s commitment to environmental, health and safety is reflected in the more than 450 awards we have received since President Obama took office. Grant’s notion that we “defund arts and culture” is debunked by the hundreds of millions of dollars we contribute to arts organizations and causes.

On the issue of formaldehyde, Koch companies make and use this compound, which occurs naturally, in some of our manufacturing processes, and we do so in compliance with all laws and regulations. It is also a fact that each of us, including Mr. Grant, produce formaldehyde every day and emit it in every breath we exhale.  

Mr. Grant refers to us as a “top ten polluter,” this according to a partisan index created in concert with a radical socialist group that faults virtually every major manufacturer in America today. Further, the so-called “pollution” tracked by the index is emissions that are permitted by law and carefully regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency. With a U.S. unemployment rate of more than 8 percent, demonizing lawful companies like Koch that continue to manufacture goods in America is counterproductive at best.

Since Mr. Grant misunderstands, or chooses to misrepresent, what we support, here is the truth. Koch supports causes that advance economic freedom and prosperity. We believe in the Bill of Rights, individual freedom, personal responsibility and limited government, not “no government,” as Mr. Grant charges. We believe in honesty and in treating others with dignity and respect. To suggest otherwise (as Mr. Grant purports regarding treatment of women, abortion and gay rights) is unequivocally false.

We employ nearly 50,000 people in the U.S. in good-paying jobs, many of those unionized. We have productive relationships with our unions, but don’t take our word for it. Last year, Jon Geenen, international vice president of United Steelworkers, praised Koch for providing “among the best-paid manufacturing jobs in America,” and stating that Koch “in practice and in general has positive and productive … relationships with its unions.”  

Fair-minded debate and differing points of view are the foundation of this great nation, but let’s base the discussion on hard facts, not fallacy.

— Melissa Cohlmia is director of corporate communication for Koch Companies Public Sector, LLC

Comments

Richard Heckler 2 years ago

Voting can work

The voting process can work. Do as Ralph Nader has been suggesting for years. Replace 90% of incumbents each voting cycle. Perhaps Occupy can get this off the ground.

I say replace all republicans with green party thinkers and 90% of democrats with new democrats each voting cycle. This retains the two party system.

Think this way..... maybe? Why do we americans vote in the right wing rich which are supported by too many of the rich to make decisions for the entire middle class and low income?

Too many of the rich want to destroy the middle class so they have sent tens of millions of middle class jobs abroad with no job replacement in sight. Isn't their something wrong with this picture?

Ask yourself why do we voters tend to vote for the largest spending candidates? What good has this choice been for the USA or our local government?

Let's demand a new system and vote in Fair Vote America : http://www.fairvote.org/irv/ Demand a change on the next ballot.

Let's have public financing of campaigns. Citizens cannot afford special interest money campaigns for it is the citizens that get left out. Let citizens vote on this issue. http://www.publicampaign.org/

Bribery of elected officials and bribed officials = the most stinky of all bribery!

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ShePrecedes 2 years ago

I wonder if we are wiping our privates and poe-poes with BPA, Koch.

I simply do not trust Koch and their thinking, their carelessness. I boycott them as much as I can. Do you all need a list of their products? It is easy to find.

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Bob_Keeshan 2 years ago

A breakdown of the awards Koch has received since President Obama took office:

449 awards -- presented by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)

1 awards -- presented by Americans for Prosperity (AFP)

Yup, that's 450 awards alright.

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camper 2 years ago

What kind of Koch products can I now begin to boycot?

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camper 2 years ago

What in the world is the communications director of a large multi-national corporation reponding to one citizen, by name, in a letter to a mid-sized town newspaper? This is juvenile, and very unprofessional. I am surprised that such a prestigious company would respond in this manner.

Modern day David Vs. Goliath.

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camper 2 years ago

Oceanic oil leaks also develop naturally. For this reason, we should not be concerned about oil spills.

Mold is natural. Therefore we should not be concerned about indoor mold.

Asbestos can be detected outside. For this reason we should not be concerned about it either.

I think I might be good as a "Corporate Spokesman". These are the tuff things you gotta say and come up with. These are all standard lines commonly used in the Biz.

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camper 2 years ago

For starters, I am not going to listen to a Koch representative to form my opinion on formaldehyde. But this statement looked naive and stupid enough for me to do a little research. And yes, the statement below is stupid, and would be the standard industry line:

"It is also a fact that each of us, including Mr. Grant, produce formaldehyde every day and emit it in every breath we exhale."

Yes formaldehyde is naturally occuring, but when only 1 part per billion (PPB) is associated with nasal and sinus irritation, I am hesitant to believe that chemically formed (industrial) formaldehyde is something we should not be concerned about.

For this reason, I aint buying what the writer of this letter is saying.

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wastewatcher 2 years ago

Craig Grant is a lifelong liberal who has sucked on the taxpayer, his fellow union members and or the democrat party all of his life. He is a well known democrat activist who is very good at spinning the facts and telling stories without regard to the truth. I would urge everyone to read any of Craig's writings with a grain of salt and remember the authors background and his roots.

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Flap Doodle 2 years ago

Who will be the next target of the current regime's howling mob? Stay tuned...

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guess_again 2 years ago

I was waiting for Ms.Cohlmia to explain the John Birch Society for us. Didn't see it. I wonder what awards they received for starting this political movement?

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kochmoney 2 years ago

It's down to 50,000 jobs now, is it? Used to be at least 20% higher than that, and yet the Kochs have seen record profits. Why is that we need to give them more tax cuts again? How does that help them hire more people when they can't manage to funnel their record profits back into the workforce?

I love the Koch "some of my best friends are black" response about unions. They've actively worked to undermine unions and collective bargaining rights with their political donations and affiliations. That's documented. Just because you're willing to buy companies that are already unionized doesn't mean you wouldn't rather get rid of unions and are playing the long game by weakening them politically. Does Koch own a company that unionized after being purchased by them? Does Koch support any politicians that gathered huge amounts of union support? Just curious.

But in the end, I don't really care that they have a lot of money, and I figure that their labor negotiations with their employees are their concern and not mine. What I do care about is how they're buying politicians - including the guy who wants to cut taxes for the rich and raise them for the poor in this state. Including a couple of Supreme Court justices who decided that getting pulled over for no reason was a hunky dory grounds for a strip search. I care about how they're claiming to support "freedom" and "small government," while taking government subsidies for themselves and buying politicians that take away our freedoms.

As long as you're putting this much money into our political system, I'm going to continue to hold you accountable for every lousy action, bad mistake, and stupid idea the politicians you back take. That includes defunding the arts right here in Kansas. I don't care if you gave some money to a ballet. You pushed a guy into office that took away our funding for ballet lessons for children. You're perfectly welcome to replace the money in the Kansas Arts Foundation if you'd care to prove me wrong. Uh huh. I didn't think so.

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weiser 2 years ago

I think they should give all their profit to Obama, and he should give it to me!

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Armstrong 2 years ago

Can't imagine the Koch's are losing a minutes sleep over what the far left thinks anyway.

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pace 2 years ago

'so-called “pollution” tracked by the index is emissions that are permitted by law " so if you can read double speak, except for when their are caught and fined their pollution is not pollution but only emissions. Comparing their industrial spew to my burbs or exhales is ludicrous, but only to thinking people. To a spinner it sounds just right. Rot. Economic freedom, freedom from fair tax. When they appear in ads promoting their hate and radicalism it is in the guise of a caring mother of two.

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its_just_math 2 years ago

"Astroturf". Didn't Pewlosi use that term? Pewlosi, who's district recieved a whopping 20% of all ObamaCare waivers-----you know that law which Biden said of "this is a big f'ing deal" and Pewlosi said "we have to pass the bill before we know what's in it". Pewlosi, whose hubbie has made millions off of gov't contracts. Pewlosi, who has not and will ot employ one single union employee.

Yeah, those Dems and all of their big money people---like Jeff Immelt----are some top-flight folks. Dems are so honest and well-intentioned.

Man, the Kool-Aid must be getting sent in my the tanker load over in The Little Blue Island.

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Richard Heckler 2 years ago

Grover Norquist and Koch Brothers

What short memories would be republicans have. Yes being led around by the likes of Grover Grover Norquist,Newt Gingrich, Charles and David Koch and Turd Blossom(Karl Rove). Yes those Koch brothers are funding anti insurance reform tea baggers.... Funding the Tea Baggers in general.

These so called republicans are for reduced wages across the board thus wallets smaller.

The Koch Brothers http://www.forbes.com/2001/01/04/0104faces.html http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2005/0705rebne.html

Oh yes controlling state and federal government behind closed doors which seemingly would violate the open meetings act:

Unlike many other organizations, ALEC’s membership includes both state lawmakers and corporate executives who gather behind closed doors to discuss and vote on model legislation.

In recent months, ALEC has come under increasing scrutiny for its role in drafting bills to: attack workers’ rights roll back environmental regulations privatize education funded with our tax dollars deregulate major industries * passing voter ID laws.

Nonetheless, this year’s annual ALEC meeting boasts the largest attendance in five years, with nearly 2,000 guests in attendance. Center for Media and Democracy organization released 800 model bills approved by companies and lawmakers at recent ALEC meetings.

http://www.democracynow.org/2011/8/5/secretive_corporate_legislative_group_alec_holds

http://www.justice.org/cps/rde//justice/hs.xsl/15044.htm

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Flap Doodle 2 years ago

The ghost of Richard Nixon must envy the current regime's skill in creating and managing an enemies list.

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Richard Heckler 2 years ago

Any Walton Wal-Mart /Koch/ Brownback appointee is likely not republican like Sam Brownback.

It's hard to give it up BUT the repub party was taken over by the Bush family of politicians and Falwell nutty, power hungry,bogus, and money grubbing Christians. With a taste of Libertarian Facism in the mix.

These people are hard core in their belief that corp America and/or government should have control of all facets of our lives and our tax dollars. This group absolutely believes in legislating morality and capturing our tax dollars in their corrupt fashion.

Koch sponsored Sam Brownback was an error of monumental proportions who has no respect for republicans,democrats or any other source that disagrees. The man deserves to be recalled

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jimmyjms 2 years ago

Leaving aside the allegations made by both parties, this response is a violation of nearly every tenent of public relations SOP. So some crank in a very small market local paper called you out. By responding Ms. Cohlmia is merely keeping these charges top of mind, and generating more posts about Koch. She then addresses some charges in more detail, but leaves others unmentioned...are those charges true, then? Also, calling an unnamed index part of a "radical socialist group" does not engender any confidence in the unbiased-ness of her corporate communication.

Bad, bad form.

One would think that a company the size of Koch Companies would employ a competent communications director. This response looks like the work of a first-year j-school student.

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deec 2 years ago

"For the love of money is the root of all evil..."

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years ago

I don't hate the Kochs. I merely believe that their willingness to spend $million to increase their $billions at everyone else's expense is an admirable quality.

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BornAgainAmerican 2 years ago

The far left wingnut radical extremists are gonna' hate on the Koch Bros. as long as they have a lot of money and support a right wing political agenda with that money. It really doesn't matter what else teh Kochs' may or may not do.

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JackMcKee 2 years ago

Math wants to talk about George Soros, the veracity of Fox News, anything to avoid the subject of the editorial. There is a good reason for that, the reality of the Kochs is a pretty hideous sight to behold.

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Steven Gaudreau 2 years ago

And we wonder why America no longer manufactures goods anymore. Do the haters want Koch to close shop, lose 50,000 jobs and have us buy more foreign oil? We can't expect big business to be ethical. Any ethical big business will be a bankrupt business. Big business is cut throat and brutal. Do you think the Hearst, Rockefellers or du Ponts were any different? How can you want the Kochs to stay out of politics when politicians dictate the laws by which their business operates? Backing "their guy" running for office is perfectly legal and done by every business in America from liquor store owners to big oil. Until PAC's and lobbyists are banned from politics, don't hold your breath, big business controlling our political system is business as usual and the Koch's are no different from any other company.

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Mike Ford 2 years ago

talk to the Osage Nation whom you settled with because of a jury trial for ripping them off for oil royalties. or the former chief whom you bamboozled Koch Brothers. try and spin that one. ahalabi (liar).

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Flap Doodle 2 years ago

Somebody got their copy/paste button stuck this morning.

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Liberty275 2 years ago

We have a new merril to copy/paste crap from garbage websites. What wrong merril, you can't regurgitate enough thinkprogress, thenation and GVkLpr on your own? Hope you're OK.

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oldvet 2 years ago

Good grief, did this one go to the Merrill School of Cut and Post... :-(

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Michael LoBurgio 2 years ago

ALEC Exposed: The Koch Connection

No one knows how much the Kochs have given ALEC in total, but the amount likely exceeds $1 million—not including a half-million loaned to ALEC when the group was floundering. ALEC gave the Kochs its Adam Smith Free Enterprise Award, and Koch Industries has been one of the select members of ALEC’s corporate board for almost twenty years. The company’s top lobbyist was once ALEC’s chairman. As a result, the Kochs have shaped legislation touching every state in the country. Like ideological venture capitalists, the Kochs have used ALEC as a way to invest in radical ideas and fertilize them with tons of cash

Take environmental protections. The Kochs have a penchant for paying their way out of serious violations and coming out ahead. Helped by Koch Industries’ lobbying efforts, one of the first measures George W. Bush signed into law as governor of Texas was an ALEC model bill giving corporations immunity from penalties if they tell regulators about their own violation of environmental rules. Dozens of other ALEC bills would limit environmental regulations or litigation in ways that would benefit Koch.

http://www.thenation.com/article/161973/koch-connection

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Michael LoBurgio 2 years ago

How The Kochs Are Fracking America

The October 2011 issue of Discovery, the in-house Koch Industries newsletter, explains how the Koch Industries empire is profiting from the “really exciting” fracking boom:

– 1. Koch Pipeline is partnering with NuStar Energy to develop a dormant pipeline from Pettus, TX to refineries in Corpus Christi. The pipeline will transport natural gas from fracking sites in southern Texas. Koch Pipeline is a Koch Industries subsidiary.

– 2. Flint Hills Resources recently purchased a small craft pier and wharf in Ingleside, TX to store shipments of natural gas from fracking operations in the Eagle Ford shale formation. Flint Hills Resources is a Koch Industries subsidiary.

– 3. Koch Supply & Trading, a Koch Industries company that deals with commodity trading and financial products, is “already trading Eagle Ford crude” to help supply Koch companies and other customers, according to a Koch Industries newsletter.

– 4. Koch Chemical Technology Group is designing a processing facility near Yoakum, TX to help process natural gas fracked in southern Texas. Koch Chemical is a subsidiary of Koch Industries.

– 5. John Zink, a Koch Industries company, is providing flares for a natural gas processing plant in Helena to service the fracking industry.

– 6. Georgia Pacific produces resins used for chemicals used to prop open micro-fractures, an important process for fracking to occur. GP is a Koch Industries subsidiary.

– 7. Koch Fertilizer, a Koch Industries company, has tapped into increased natural gas production from fracking to develop fertilizer. http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/03/02/436669/how-the-kochs-are-fracking-america/

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Michael LoBurgio 2 years ago

Koch Brothers Behind Efforts to Overturn Health Reform

http://bit.ly/GVkLpr

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Michael LoBurgio 2 years ago

Neo-Nazi Tea Party KKK

Koch Industries two bossmen-owners Charles & David Koch created the Tea Party.

Koch Industries two bossmen-owners Charles & David Koch created the Tea Party. David is a twin, and his twin brother has called him and Koch Industries "Organized Crime" on CBS TV without getting sued for slander. Well with over $55,000,000 in CRIMINAL FINES for polluting six states water, air and soil, you can call Koch Industries "Organized Crime", not to mention the $293,000,000 jury award to the parents of Danielle Dawn Smalley for her being killed by Koch negligence while the brothers played politics.

http://neo-nazi--teaparty--kkk.blogspot.com/2011/04/koch-industries-two-bossmen-owners.html

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Michael LoBurgio 2 years ago

The Koch brothers…fund the Tea Party, make billions, lay off workers.

As Tea Party Koch Brothers Earned An Extra $11 Billion In Recent Years, They Laid Off Thousands

However, at a time when the Koch brothers were enjoying spectacular financial gains, Koch Industries laid off well over 2,000 people. Using the same approximate “jobs multiplier” Koch Industries used in its study last week, that means Koch Industries extinguished nearly 8,000 jobs in recent years: http://www.dirtandseeds.com/the-koch-brothers-fund-the-tea-party-make-billions-lay-of-workers/

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Michael LoBurgio 2 years ago

Business lobby, aided by $36,000 from Koch Industries, targets eight Republican incumbents in state Senate for defeat http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2012/jan...

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JackMcKee 2 years ago

The Koch's don't seem like very bright people. Unethical. Yes. Greedy. No doubt. No different than a lot of people. In a lot of ways they remind me a morbidly obese person at a Chinese buffet.

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ThePilgrim 2 years ago

Funny how the Koch PR department watches LJW, but Koch Industries does not do any corporate recruiting in Lawrence and KU because the potential candidates would not be likely be able to pass their MBM-centric interview process where they look for like-minded people.

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its_just_math 2 years ago

The uber-left has been so rabble roused by our very own community organizing president that this is what they now do. They forget the big corporate donors and they don't even want to know (some don't even know who he is) about George Soros; the biggest donor in history to far-left front groups. Soros played a big part in getting this trainwreck of a president installed. The Koch's scare the far left, but they're gonna go cast a second vote for an economic idiot this November.

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Flap Doodle 2 years ago

The object lesson is don't be wealthy and legally express your opinions if you don't agree with the current regime.

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notaubermime 2 years ago

I realize that most large companies are not the most ethical. I also realize that our lives revolve around extremely hazardous chemicals. That said, I have no stomach for Koch. The last thing that company is interested in is a "discussion on hard facts" about the health concerns of formaldehyde. They would rather confuse the issue with the levels of formaldehyde that your body produces, despite the fact that these are relatively zero compared to the level chemical they use.

Then again, maybe I'm just a "radical socialist" like the University of Massachusetts Amherst is: http://www.peri.umass.edu/toxic_index By the way, is name-calling what Koch considers to be a "fair-minded debate"?

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sci4all 2 years ago

Interesting that Koch's defense is given LJW editorial status while Grant's letter was relegated to the word-limited letter-to-the-editor pile. Really, Dolph? Your journalistic acumen couldn't handle Grant's remarks so you had to call in Koch's professional spin jockey and give her your imprimatur? Tsk tsk.

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Scott Morgan 2 years ago

Why should the Koch folks stay out of government? Good grief, Honda, Sony, you name any large Euro business certainly don't. China money influencing our leaders. Nah. We have an administration trying to push a socialist agenda and the Koch folks should sit back and watch.

Evidence keeps pouring in, facts, real facts this wonderful Kansas family is not what the left wing nutz claim.

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Number_1_Grandma 2 years ago

Maybe if the would stay out of politics and quit trying to 'buy' them, people wouldn't hate them so much.

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jonas_opines 2 years ago

Hey, if you can't trust the director of corporate communications, then who can you trust?

Regardless, Koch-hate is somewhat strangely amusing. They're not all that unique in anything that they do (though perhaps more successful than average), which makes me wonder why they get all this attention. Is it just that the name rolls easily off of your tongue?

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