What Makes Koch Industries ‘Big Oil’ And Why You Shouldn’t Believe The Claims Saying It Isn’t

The Obama campaign and the super PAC Priorities USA recently fired back at Americans for Prosperity, highlighting Mitt Romney’s ties to a funding source of $18.5 million in energy attack ads: Koch Industries.

Koch Industries has produced its own video claiming it doesn’t deserve the label of a secretive Big Oil corporation.

Shockingly, and the Washington Post have taken up Koch’s argument. wrote that despite Koch’s $100 billion revenue, the corporation’s diverse holdings mean “it is hardly in the league of the truly ‘big oil’companies.” The Washington Post Factchecker took the same angle.

While it’s true the most profitable U.S. corporations — ExxonMobil and Chevron — are larger than Koch, using this standard to claim the company isn’t Big Oil is incorrect. Let’s take a look at some key facts:

  • The Koch brothers’ net worth tops $50 billion and they have pledged to spend $60 million to defeat President Barack Obama, according to the Huffington Post.
  • The Koch PAC is the largest oil and gas contributor — donating more than even ExxonMobil — spending over $1 million in each of the last two cycles. This cycle, it has spent almost $750,000. Koch Industries sends 90 percent of these contributions to Republicans.
  • It’s the fourth-largest lobbyist in the oil and gas industry, spending $2,300,000 so far in 2012 and over $8 million in 2011.
  • Koch Industries emits over 300 million tons of greenhouse gases a year, based on the assumption that Koch emits the same amount of greenhouse pollution per billion dollars in revenue as Exxon and Chevron.
  • Flint Hills Resources, a Koch subsidiary, processes 300 million barrels of oil a year. This company is responsible for up to five percent of the U.S. 7-gigaton carbon footprint.
  • Koch says itself that the company is on par with big banks and is among the world’s top five oil speculators.
  • Koch is a major player in driving up gas prices through speculation, hurting American consumers. ThinkProgress reported that in 2008, Koch leased four supertankers to hold oil in the Gulf, leading to a gas price increase anywhere from 20 to 40 cents a gallon at the time.
  • According to Inside Climate News, Koch industries “has touched virtually every aspect of the tar sands industry since the company established a toehold in Canada more than 50 years ago.” It is active in mining Canada’s tar sands and exporting to the U.S., and is active in Canadian politics, with half a million dollars in donations between 2007-2010.
  • As reporters consider these factors, Koch has been widely reported as a Big Oil corporation by media outlets like Politico, Forbes, NPR, and Politifact.

It is absurd to say Koch Industries is not Big Oil when it plays such a hugely influential role in a wide variety of fossil fuel markets — all while flexing its power to protect the oil industry’s special interests.

8 Responses to What Makes Koch Industries ‘Big Oil’ And Why You Shouldn’t Believe The Claims Saying It Isn’t

  1. john atcheson says:

    So once again we have the mainstream media playing the balance game — straining to give the appearance of being non-partisan to the point of absurdity.

    The fact is, truth has a partisan bias — it favors liberals because they don’t lie as often or tell whoppers as big as conservatives do.

    As this excellent article points out.

  2. Thanks to Greenwald and Think Progress for hounding the most dubious, insidious tyrants this side of Riyahd. I hope they can’t contain themselves from spewing expletives and epitaphs when thinking about either one.

  3. M Tucker says:

    This morning while surfing the news channels I encountered some woman on CNN who said that very thing: Koch should be considered “small oil.”

    I was amazed! They may not be one of the Big 5 but they are a major cheerleader for Big Oil and for King Coal and they show their support with very big contributions to buy politicians, to run a campaign of lies against the science of global warming and renewable energy and to defeat President Obama.

  4. Mark Shapiro says:

    Koch is Big Oil.

    ExxonMobil is Huge Oil, perhaps Gargantuan Oil.

    The moniker Big Oil suffices for both, however.

  5. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Big Oil, small oil, Big Coal, small coal-it’s all the same. These are the 0.01%, the ruling global parasite elite who control more of the planet’s resources, wealth and income than ever. They are the real masters of humanity, and their preferences rule the human world, even to the point of committing species suicide.

  6. John Pearson says:

    It was sad to see Kathleen Jamison say on the Moyers interview that oil was only a small sliver of what the Koch brothers did and so it was a lie when a White House ad referred to them as big oil. It seemed she did it simply to have a counter to the example of the actual lie told on the right. It’s sad to see her fall to the god of false equivalency. Stick to the facts! If they appear to have a conservative bias, so be it. If they appear to have a liberal bias, so be it. Either way, it would be actual information that people could use. Pretending both sides are the same and equally bad does no one any good. It simply discourages engaging in the system, which is exactly what the powers that be want. I thought Jamison was a critic of the system, and was disappointed to see her parrot the usual talking points.

  7. justin says:

    Kathleen Hall Jamieson in a discussion with Bill Moyers about the Kochs ads, referred to them as small oil and added that she did not consider them to be BIG oil. The Koch echo chamber has infiltrated and tainted PBS!!!

  8. DonB says:

    So true! It was one of the most dispiriting moments I have ever had watching a Moyers’ program. She showed that at least one of her feet is made of clay where I thought she was a shining beacon for truth in politics.