Greenpeace Airship Hovers Over Secretive Koch Summit with Message "Koch Brothers: Dirty Money"

Greenpeace Airship Hovers Over Secretive Koch Summit with Message "Koch Brothers: Dirty Money"
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UPDATE: Video footage of the Greenpeace airship flight below this post.

A Greenpeace airship today flew over the secretive Rancho Mirage polluter strategy meeting hosted by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch of Koch Industries. Wealthy elite interests and oil tycoons arriving at the posh resort to plot their anti-democracy agenda were greeted with the aerial message “Koch Brothers: Dirty Money.”

Greenpeace also released information collected from tax records confirming that the Koch Family Foundations continue to fund climate denial organizations.  The most recent records available document that the Kochtopus dished out $6.4 million in 2009 to front groups and think tanks that spread inaccurate and misleading information about climate science and clean energy policies. That brings the Kochtopus’s confirmed Dirty Money total to $54.9 million since 1997, with the majority, $31.3 million, spent since 2005.

Kert Davies, Research Director for Greenpeace USA, commented:

“David and Charles Koch used their dirty money to block progress on clean energy and climate change policies, and now they’re scheming to roll back the Clean Air Act and other critical health and environmental protections with their partners in Congress. Their agenda of increased polluter profits at the expense of people, our health, and environment must be exposed and stopped.”

According to the tax records reviewed by Greenpeace from David H. Koch Charitable Foundation, Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation and the Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation:

  • Top recipients in 2009 included The Institute for Humane Studies, the Mercatus Center, Americans for Prosperity, the Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute. 
  •  Americans for Prosperity has now received over $5.6 million in documented donations from the Koch foundations.

This new information updates Greenpeace’s previous findings from the March 2010 report, “Koch Industries, Secretly Funding the Climate Denial Machine,” which detailed Kochtopus funding of climate denial organizations, as well as lobbying and political contributions to block progress on climate and clean energy policies.

2010 marked the first widespread recognition of the secretive Koch brothers’ efforts to elevate their polluter agenda above public health and environmental protection. Jane Mayer’s blockbuster New Yorker magazine  investigation of the Koch Brothers’ anti-democratic efforts put David and Charles Koch under the spotlight last summer, documenting the oil billionaires’ central role in founding and financing astroturf campaigns and think tanks to promote their oily agenda. 

Ever since, the Koch Brothers have had nowhere to hide from that spotlight, with college senior and Marine Corps veteran Joel Francis knocking on the front door at Koch Industries’ Wichita headquarters with an invitation to debate Charles Koch on his hefty support for Prop 23, and David Koch being booed at the Nutcracker ballet in New York just before Christmas.

This Sunday, the Koch brothers will face protests by a diverse array of labor, environmental, consumer, and other groups gathering near the site of the secret Koch retreat at Rancho Las Palmas resort in Rancho Mirage, California.

Check out photos of the Greenpeace airship delivering the “Koch Brothers: Dirty Money” message today.

Update: Here is a video of the Greenpeace flight:

Greenpeace Airship Hovers Over Secretive Koch Summit with Message "Koch Brothers: Dirty Money"
Brendan is Executive Director of DeSmog. He is also a freelance writer and researcher specializing in media, politics, climate change and energy. His work has appeared in Vanity Fair, The Huffington Post, Grist, The Washington Times and other outlets.

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