Pro-pollution, anti-science Koch Industries takes credit for the ˜spontaneous tea parties: Were glad we ˜helped stimulate them.

Koch Industries infamously outspends Exxon Mobil on climate and clean energy disinformation.  We’ve seen anti-science Tea Partiers push climate denial with the help of disinformers like Lord Monckton.

As ThinkProgress has documented, the lobbyist-run Americans for Prosperity (AFP) has been instrumental in orchestrating the Tea Party movement. The group coordinated “grassroots” protests around the country and provided organizations and communications support to the Tea Parties. AFP staffers are also regular presence at Tea Party rallies. The man behind AFP is David Koch, who is one of the richest men in the world thanks to his oil, chemicals, and manufacturing conglomerate Koch Industries. In 2009, AFP President Tim Phillips said he “launched our organization.”  TP has the story.

Koch Industries and AFP have largely tried to keep their distance from the Tea Parties. From a May 2010 interview with the Frum Forum’s Tim Mak:

Most incredibly striking is Koch’s efforts to distance itself from the Tea Party movement. “We’ve been labeled tea party founders or funders – in fact, masterminds – but that’s not consistent with the facts,” said Fink. “To my knowledge, we have not been approached for support by any of the newer ‘tea party’ or other grassroots groups that have sprung up around the country in the past year or so.”

However, now that Tea Parties are becoming institutionalized, Fink is taking some credit. While still calling the Tea Parties “spontaneous,” he says that Koch would be happy to know that he helped “stimulate” these people into action and acknowledged the role of AFP:

Q: What about the accusations that you are driving these activities – that they’re corporate-sponsored ‘astro-turf’ rather than real grassroots movements?

A: That’s nonsense. “¦ Tea parties reflect a spontaneous recognition by people that if they do not act, the government will bankrupt their families and their country. They’re absolutely right about that.

Now, if our work over the past 30 or 40 years has helped stimulate some of those citizens who are becoming more active, that’s great, but it’s a far cry from pulling strings.

What we have done is support the Americans for Prosperity Foundation, which has been active in various forms for nearly 30 years. “¦ AFP and its state chapters have begun collaborating with tea party groups, and we’re in favor of any group willing to constructively address irresponsible government policies.

Koch Industries communications director Melissa Cohlmia has also insisted to ThinkProgress that “AFP is an independent organization and Koch companies do not in any way direct their activities.” However, both Koch and Fink serve as directors of the AFP Foundation.

AFP has used the Tea Parties to push causes that fit the agenda of its wealthy backers. Even though the estate tax hits only the very wealthiest estates “” 99.8 percent are not subject to this tax “” AFP was urging its members to lobby Congress to block a reinstatement of the estate tax.

This is a Think Progress cross-post.

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14 Responses to Pro-pollution, anti-science Koch Industries takes credit for the ˜spontaneous tea parties: Were glad we ˜helped stimulate them.

  1. fj2 says:

    Yeah. There’s a lot of big oil damage control since the BP disaster and increasing obviousness of the accelerating environmental crisis caused by business as usual.

    Maybe we should all apologize to BP and get on with building the future (despite them).

  2. fj2 says:

    The president should have a meeting with the large industries, labor, DoE Secretary Chu, and advocacy groups capable of leading the transformation to establish a framework for doing so; i.e., if he has not done so already.

  3. fj2 says:

    2. fj2 (continued),

    (Should also include Secretary of Defense)

  4. PSU Grad says:

    “AFP has used the Tea Parties to push causes that fit the agenda of its wealthy backers.”

    Why does the term “useful idiots” come to mind?

  5. Dana says:

    I’m thinking if Koch doesn’t direct AFP’s activities, maybe he shouldn’t be called their ‘director’.

  6. Prokaryotes says:

    Why the World Needs U.S. Climate Action
    Panel of global climate policy leaders explain why the United States must lead on climate change and clean technology

  7. Prokaryotes says:

    A new “grassroots” organization has emerged – coincidentally on the same server as the rightfully maligned Friends of Science. arose this month, as if from nowhere and it offers narry a name or address on its website. The About Us section says only that, “We are a group of private citizens who have studied all aspects of climate change for many years.”

    The new denier site’s greatest crime, however, is cowardice. The creators say that they aren’t receiving funding from industry (a false claim that FOS tried to get away with, as well), but they have hidden their operations behind a firewall that denies even the provision of a post office box. They clearly have no intention of standing accountable for their risible science or the true source of their funding and support.

  8. Peter Mizla says:

    Koch will do anything to preserve his empire- the peril of human culture and the planet mean little to this greedy arrogant man.

    Too bad the misinformed fall for his slimy propaganda.

  9. mike roddy says:

    The Kochs and Fink are not even that political, really. They believe the Tea Partiers are suckers, just like the people who buy their products. The ideology of Koch and AFP is not waving flags and slogans at anti gubment rallies. It’s money, period. What an empty and pitiful way to live.

  10. Joe Ferdinand says:

    Fred Koch had 4 sons.
    Which “greedy arrogant man” do you refer to Peter?

    WASHINGTON — Some 750 boats drafted in to scoop up oil from the Gulf of Mexico are having “trouble” finding any crude in the sea, a top US official said Wednesday, almost a week after a busted well was capped.

    “We are starting to have trouble finding oil,” US pointman Admiral Thad Allen, who is in charge of handling the government’s response, told reporters.

  11. PurpleOzone says:

    Who is behind the Tea Party, er, Republican party plank, in the state of Maine that promised to investigate climate scientists for fraud? Was this a big concern to Maine politicians? A burning issue with the public? Or did the plank come from outside “advise”?

    Who is behind Cuccinelli, Attorney General for Virginia, and his civil fraud investigation of Michael Mann’s work when he was at the University of Virginia?

    Are the Tea-Party’ers angry puppets on Koch’s strings? They can thrash about but they still go up and down with the puppet-master.

  12. peter whitehead says:

    In the USA the phrase ‘tea party’ makes you think ‘Boston’. In England it makes us think ‘Mad Hatter’. In ‘Alice in Wonderland’ our guy Lewis Carroll creates the MHTP as a never-ending consumption event. In Victorian times those who made hats often went mad due to the mercuric compounds they used in the manufacture. When the plates got dirty, the Mad Hatter, the March Hare and the Dormouse simply moved along the table to start again.
    The new MHTP is trying to keep that same old idea going – except now all the plates are dirty, and we’ve come to the end of the table.

  13. Prokaryotes says:

    We released a report back in March that exposed Charles and David Koch, the billionaire oilmen who control Koch Industries, as a chief source of funding for the climate denial machine. Well, turns out doing everything possible to delay the clean energy revolution actually runs in the family. Today we’ve released a report on Bill Koch, David’s twin brother and the principal funder of opposition to Cape Wind, the project to build the nation’s largest wind farm off the coast of Massachusetts.

  14. James Newberry says:

    The story goes on from here. For example, C. Koch is with the Mercatus (sp?) Institute of George Mason U. which does climate polling on public perceptions with Yale U. Yale is the place where a professor said to Colonel Blake in 1859 that petroleum is a good thing to set on fire.

    I understand the Yale Corporation includes an Exelon board member, the nation’s largest atomic fission reactor owner. Both Axelrod and Emanuel have worked with Exelon which is based in Chicago which is heavily nuke dependent. Chicago is also the president’s home turf.

    This is just a small sample of the pervasive “web of influence” seated at the wheel room of the USA Titanic. Prepare for nuclear bailouts and eventual submergence in debt and cryosphere meltdown. The US does seem to love meltdowns at the hands of “captains of the universe.”