Koch Brothers Should Return $157 Million in Government Subsidies

The fossil fuel barons, Charles and David Koch, have long advocated for "economic freedom" and a smaller government. They have slammed "collectivism" and market distorting subsidies.

In 2012, Charles Koch decried corporate welfare and “crony capitalism” in the pages of the Wall Street Journal: “Far too many well-connected businesses are feeding at the federal trough. By addressing corporate welfare as well as other forms of welfare, we would add a whole new level of understanding to the notion of entitlement reform,” he wrote.

The Koch's “secret bank” Freedom Partners has spent hundreds of millions in elections in part to tackle “‘rent-seeking,’ ‘corporate welfare,’ and other forms of cronyism.”

In 2014, the Koch-funded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) rolled out a report on the “Unseen Cost of Tax Cronyism” and the Kochs launched a public broadside against corporate subsidies in a letter to Congress. The Kochs were so upset by programs, such as the Wind Production Tax Credit, that their chief lobbyists declared: “We oppose ALL subsidies, whether existing or proposed, including programs that benefit us.”

Now Good Jobs First, a nonprofit watchdog on corporate subsidies, has provided the Kochs with an excellent opportunity to put their money where their mouth is.

Good Jobs First unveiled a new, upgraded version of the their Subsidy Tracker data base which aggregates subsidy recipient data from more than 700 state, local, and federal economic development programs.

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Click on "Koch Industries" in their parent companies list and voila! $157 million in state and federal subsidies are revealed, with an additional $6.2 million in federal loan guarantees.

Louisiana has ponied up the most $77 million in subsidies for the Koch operations, followed by $25 million in Oregon, $21 million in Oklahoma, and $15 million in Iowa.

These are all states that could use the cash.

Surely Charles and David Koch don't want to sully themselves with subsidies? With a combined net worth estimated to be $82 billion dollars, they are two of richest men in the world.

Its time to ask @Koch_Industries to give it back.

Mary Bottari

Mary Bottari is the Deputy Director of the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD). She helped launch CMD's award-winning ALEC Exposed investigation in 2011 and is a recipient of the Hillman Prize for investigative journalism.

Comments

I'm 100% in favor of Koch returning the tax payer dollars if you can get every other company to do the same. Why would any company do this if others won't? They'd be putting themselves at a competitive disadvantage to those who suck up and lobby for special treatment (Boeing, ADM, GE, etc., etc.). Oh, and while you're busy being unrealistic, why don't you ask the Chinese gov't to stop subsiding local industry and allow the market process to work globally? Get real you liberal hack.

All large corporations need to start giving the money back. With an average 0.4% (effective) federal tax rate after all deductions and tax loopholes are realized, corporations are devastating the economy. Although these tax loopholes are all "legal", the loopholes were implemented by puppet politicians believing the ultra-rich needed a break. Look at the results of short-sighted economic policies.

Use mouthwash before speaking. You smell of rushballs.

So the BIG question is WHY ARE THESE SUBSIDIES AVAILABLE????? What about the giveaway laws that make this possible? I heard Hilary Clinton say "I didn't break any law, did the Koch brothers, or did they use the laws to their advantage LIKE ANY INTELLIGENT PERSON WOULD DO?? Don't people take income tax credits when they file? Why don't liberal/progressives give all of it back?

John said: "I heard Hilary Clinton say "I didn't break any law, did the Koch brothers, or did they use the laws to their advantage LIKE ANY INTELLIGENT PERSON WOULD DO??" Quite a statement that John (not verified) said on March 23, 2015 - 3:58pm. Perhaps John should provide a link to back it up!

Counting the 100 million to the hospital wing and just a few other donations listed below, it appears the 157million is canceled out? Yes, you just cannot make stuff up like this. http://nypost.com/2014/03/16/loopy-liberals-freak-over-koch-brothers-100m-hospital-gift/ Not a bad link, I understand completely about the Soros's quote... Yes, liberals hate for conservatives to give money to charities - it's so unfair. "Among the many David Koch gifts to New York city alone are a previous $15 million to New York-Presbyterian’s Weill Cornell Medical Center, $30 million to Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, $25 million to the Hospital for Special Surgery, $20 million to a dinosaur exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History, $65 million to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and $100 million to the Lincoln Center theater that is home to the New York City Ballet and the New York City Opera. The anti-Koch groups held their protest on International Women’s Day to signify that this was a woman’s issue: It turns out a group called the Center to Protect Patient Rights, which also receives some Koch brothers largesse, has given $1 million to Susan B. Anthony’s List, a pro-life group. And the nurses who have made it their calling to protect human life? They don’t like that." I good continue on and on but I have a job.

The government should just give the money directly to projects that benefit citizens like hospitals and women's groups not underwrite corporate PR/One Percenter vanity projects that have the ultimate goal of whitewashing the image of these polluters and supporters of anti-women politicians.

Why would we give the Kochs subsidies ....for what reason? They've got so much money that our subsidies are peanuts compared to the profits they are making for all the oil they're extracting all over the U.S. and Canada. The number 1 recipient of oil profits via the Keystone Pipeline are the Kochs! The Kochs are making so much money they are buying our government and our country and pushing their agenda for the way we should live our lives to all the products they produce. GIVE THE TAX SUBSIDY MONEY BACK....you don't need it! IF we had that money, maybe we could afford to fix erroding roads that used to be good roads! Maybe we could also afford healthcare for all! All you're doing with the money is making our country a disaster and pushing your religion on everyone!

we want them to to something. Maybe bring jobs to Oregon instead of Kansas or Texas. Maybe cut emissions with some marginally effective tech that the inventor is lobbying to force on the refining industry. Maybe something that Exxon lobbied for and won, so now to compete they take the same subsidy.

Our nation is long overdue for some tax and subsidy law reform; which is the real take away from this article. As you can see from other reader's comments, it'd logical for any corporation to leverage the subsidies and tax breaks available to them. They would be amiss in their fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders not to do so. Even so, I think we can all agree that subsidies are intended to provide disenfranchised industries a leg up so that they can somehow serve a public need that the free market otherwise could not. Obviously, any company proving itself to be many times more profitable than the subsidies it receives does not need those subsidies to encourage participation in the market. I suggest we are overdue to restructure half-century-old subsidies to discourage unsustainable practices and encourage sustainable ones.

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