When Koch Attacks, Gas Prices Edition

Oil-Funded Group: Leave Oil Companies Alone!

The billionaire Koch Brothers; their giant oil conglomerate, Koch Industries; and their vast network of right-wing political groups, think tanks, and other organizations are rarely out of the news these days, but the oil profit-fueled, multi-pronged assault on clean energy that Koch groups launched this week is particularly notable — and worrisome. Here’s what you need to know about the latest Koch-fueled attack on clean energy and President Obama, which is, at its core, an effort to make the American people forget that oil companies like Koch Industries are responsible for and benefit from today’s high gas prices and our reliance on dirty energy.

WHO: Americans for Prosperity (AFP), the Koch Industries, oil-funded front group with state chapters in at least 32 states. The group, bankrolled in part directly by the Koch Brothers, spent $45 million in last year’s elections, and is positioning itself to be a force in 2012.

WHAT: AFP is involved in at least five major campaigns against clean energy right now:

The Please Don’t Blame Oil Companies for High Gas Prices Campaign : This week, AFP announced it was launching a “Running on Empty” tour to try to falsely blame President Obama for high gas prices. The tour will travel to Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Missouri, Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. The tour is, of course, funded in part by the profits Koch Industries is making as a result of today’s high oil prices.

In reality, polls show that nine of out 10 Americans blame Wall Street speculators and Big Oil’s greed for the high prices. Even Goldman Sachs and ExxonMobil agree that speculation is to blame for today’s high oil prices.

Unlikely to be mentioned on the tour? How the Kochs built an oil speculation empire that is partially responsible for driving up oil prices right now.

Attacking the Clean Air Act:Various Koch groups, but especially AFP, are attempting to gut the Clean Air Act in order to prevent the EPA from using it regulatory powers to protect public health from the dangers caused by global warming pollution.

Attacking Regional Cap-and-Trade Programs: AFP has launched an all-out assault on the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), the Northeast’s successful regional cap-and-trade system. Having already persuaded New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to bail on RGGI, AFP is staging a major protest today featuring 2012 contender Herman Cain outside the RGGI headquarters in New York City. AFP has also been trying (unsuccessfully thus far) to convince other states, including New Hampshire, Maine, and Delaware to leave the climate pact.

Attacking State-Level Renewable Electricity Standards: Politico reports that AFP is considering strategies for killing Renewable Electricity Standards in “some three dozen states,” including Colorado, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

Attacking Natural Gas Vehicles: While Koch rakes in billions in annual subsidies as a result of oil and ethanol businesses, among others, AFP has launched a campaign against legislation to incentivize the use and production of natural gas vehicles. The campaign’s main attack on the legislation: that it’s a “subsidy.”

WHY: To protect the sizable profits of Koch Industries and its vast array of polluting business, both from regulations and competition from cleaner energy sources. And, most importantly, to pretend that oil companies like Koch Industries have absolutely nothing to do with the pain American consumers are feeling at the pump right now.

Evening Brief: Important Stories That You May have Missed

Rick Santorum still thinks John McCain is wrong on torture.

Troops coming home from Afghanistan probably shouldn’t fly Delta.

New report details prevalence of sexual assault on journalists in foreign countries.

Rand Paul on Iran: Send professors, not bombs.

WY Supreme Court: Same-sex marriage is not “contrary to the law of nature.”

Report: Poverty does not breed extremism.

Art is good for society, but should we fund it?

David Mixner predicts a society in which seeing a candidates “junk” will be no big deal.

Marriage equality could end up saving the black family.

Numbers to Know: U.S. Defense Spending

When a chart is worth a thousand words, via the Economist:

2012 Watch: Mitt Romney versus Jon Huntsman on LGBT Equality

Compare and contrast the strategies of Jon Huntsman and Mitt Romney when it comes to discussing their views on LGBT issues.

Huntsman: At Odds With Social Conservatives, Huntsman Doesn’t Worry About Losing Support Over Civil Unions

Romney:  Asked If Homosexuality Is A Sin, Mitt Romney Responds, ‘Nice Try’

Survey Says: Highlights From Polls Out This Week

  • 8 percent is how much Tim Pawlenty would lose his home state of Minnesota by to President Obama (PPP)
  • 13 percent is the size of President Obama’s lead over Mitt Romney, the challenger that comes closest, relatively speaking, to beating him (Reuters/Ipsos)
  • 22 percent is Sarah Palin’s take in poll of the GOP primary, giving her a slight lead over Mitt Romney, who is at 20 percent (Reuters/Ipsos)
  • 48 percent believe that another Great Depression is likely in the next year (CNN)

Notable Quotable

“I think there is a risk that the U.S. debt default may happen.  The result will be very serious and I really hope that they would stop playing with fire.”

An adviser to China’s Central Bank on the GOP idea of using a brief “technical default” on the nation’s obligations to force Democrats to agree to deeper spending cuts.


“It’s impossible.”

Robert Reischauer, Congressional Budget Office director under President George H.W. Bush, commenting on Tim Pawlenty’s economic plan.


“It’s totally unrealistic.”

Robert Penner, Congressional Budget Office director under President Ronald Reagan, commenting on Tim Pawlenty’s economic plan.



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Advocacy Team