The top funders of anti-science disinformation in this country, the Koch brothers, are fighting in court to seize control of the Cato Institute. The Washington Post’s Allen McDuffee broke the amazing story this morning. Politico further reports:
Charles G. Koch and David H. Koch, the deep-pocketed conservative activists, launched a court fight yesterday over control of the Cato Institute, one of the nation’s best-known free-market think tanks. The Washington-based public-policy group was founded in 1974 as the Charles Koch Foundation. The name was changed to Cato in 1976, with the Koch brothers as longstanding contributors. The group had four shareholders until last year: Charles Koch; David Koch; Edward H. Crane III, Cato’s president; and William A. Niskanen, who died in October.
You can read the Kochs civil filing here.
Koch officials tell Politico that the brothers think the shareholder agreement is clear that there should now only be three shareholders, while Crane thinks Niskanen’s 25-percent control should go to his widow, Kathryn Washburn. “We’ve proposed a stand-still agreement and third-party mediation,” said Wes Edwards, deputy general counsel of Koch Companies Public Sector LLC. “We feel that we’ve been refused. … We haven’t alleged any wrongdoing or sought any damages. This is not about money. We view this as a matter of shareholder rights.”
Let’s remember who the Kochs are — billionaire brothers who have done more to spread anti-science, pro-pollution disinformation than any other people on the planet:
- A 2010 report found Koch Industries now outspends Exxon Mobil on climate and clean energy disinformation
- We have video proof David Koch pulls the strings of the Tea Party extremists
- We know Koch-fueled Americans for Prosperity takes credit for bullying GOP lawmakers into climate denial
Of course, the Cato Institute has been a bastion of anti-science, pro-pollution disinformation for a long time, with research fellows like Patrick Michaels, who is a serial deleter of inconvenient data. This power grab would just make it official that Cato is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Koch Industries.