Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Koch brothers' rap sheet

That the Koch brothers want to buy Congress and the White House is fairly well known, but not so much for their long legacy of criminal activity. Their privately held company, Koch Industries, has paid out record civil and criminal penalties while selling oil equipment to terrorists, polluting the air and water and doing business with Josef Stalin.

Rolling Stone recently published a lo-o-o-o-ng expose of the brothers, which you can read here. Or you can just read the brothers' rap sheet below.
  • In 1999, a Koch pipeline company paid what was then the largest wrongful-death judgment of its kind in U.S. history,after a defective pipeline exploded and killed two teenagers.
  • Between 1929 and 1931, the Kochs' father did business with Josef Stalin, building oil refinery units in the Soviet Union.
  • In 1974 Koch Industries was caught overcharging customers and had to pay $20 million in rebates and future price reductions.
  • In 1980, Koch Industries pleaded guilty to five felonies for illegally using frontmen in a federal lottery for exploration tracts.
  • In 1988 a Senate committee concluded the Kochs pilfered $31 million in oil from Native American reservations.
  • From 1988 through 1996, the Kochs' poorly maintained pipelines spilled 11.6 million gallons of oil; the company paid a $30 million penalty for 312 oil spills in six states.
  • Thoughout the 1990s, the Kochs dumped 600,000 gallons of jet fuel into wetlands near the Mississippi River and ammonia-laced wastewater into the river itself; they ultimately pleaded guilty to  "negligent discharge of a harmful quantity of oil" and "negligent violation of the Clean Water Act." It paid a $6 million fine and $2 million in remediation costs.
  • Until as recently as 2007, a Koch subsidiary sold oil equipment to Iran despite U.S. trade sanctions against the country because it sponsored terrorism.
  • The Kochs paid a $3 million fine in 2004 for helping to manipulate the California electricity market, driving up prices and causing rolling blackouts.
  • They paid a $20 million fine for venting massive quantities of benzene at a refinery in Corpus Christi in 2000 and then trying to cover it up.
  • In June, the EPA noted a Koch facility violated the Clean Air Act with petcoke particulates that endanger the health of Chicagoans.
And that, boys and girls, is how Charles and David Koch came to be worth $40 billion each.