[Marxism] Father of Koch Brothers Helped Build Nazi Oil Refinery, Book Says
lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Jan 11 19:15:09 MST 2016
NY Times, Jan. 11 2016
Father of Koch Brothers Helped Build Nazi Oil Refinery, Book Says
By NICHOLAS CONFESSORE
The father of the billionaires Charles G. and David H. Koch helped
construct a major oil refinery in Nazi Germany that was personally
approved by Adolf Hitler, according to a new history of the Kochs and
other wealthy families.
The book, “Dark Money,” by Jane Mayer, traces the rise of the modern
conservative movement through the activism and money of a handful of
rich donors: among them Richard Mellon Scaife, an heir to the Mellon
banking fortune, and Harry and Lynde Bradley, brothers who became
wealthy in part from military contracts but poured millions into
But the book is largely focused on the Koch family, stretching back to
its involvement in the far-right John Birch Society and the political
and business activities of the father, Fred C. Koch, who found some of
his earliest business success overseas in the years leading up to World
War II. One venture was a partnership with the American Nazi sympathizer
William Rhodes Davis, who, according to Ms. Mayer, hired Mr. Koch to
help build the third-largest oil refinery in the Third Reich, a critical
industrial cog in Hitler’s war machine
The episode is not mentioned in an online history published by Koch
Industries, the company that Mr. Koch later founded and passed on to his
Ken Spain, a spokesman for Koch Industries, said company officials had
declined to participate in Ms. Mayer’s book and had not yet read it.
“If the content of the book is reflective of Ms. Mayer’s previous
reporting of the Koch family, Koch Industries or Charles’s and David’s
political involvement, then we expect to have deep disagreements and
strong objections to her interpretation of the facts and their
sourcing,” Mr. Spain said.
Ms. Mayer, a staff writer at The New Yorker, presents the Kochs and
other families as the hidden and self-interested hands behind the rise
and growth of the modern conservative movement. Philanthropists and
political donors who poured hundreds of millions of dollars into think
tanks, political organizations and scholarships, they helped win
acceptance for anti-government and anti-tax policies that would protect
their businesses and personal fortunes, she writes, all under the guise
of promoting the public interest.
The Kochs, the Scaifes, the Bradleys and the DeVos family of Michigan
“were among a small, rarefied group of hugely wealthy, archconservative
families that for decades poured money, often with little public
disclosure, into influencing how the Americans thought and voted,” the
Many of the families owned businesses that clashed with environmental or
workplace regulators, come under federal or state investigation, or
waged battles over their tax bills with the Internal Revenue Service,
Ms. Mayer reports. The Kochs’ vast political network, a major force in
Republican politics today, was “originally designed as a means of
off-loading the costs of the Koch Industries environmental and
regulatory fights onto others” by persuading other rich business owners
to contribute to Koch-controlled political groups, Ms. Mayer writes,
citing an associate of the two brothers.
Mr. Scaife, who died in 2014, donated upward of a billion dollars to
conservative causes, according to “Dark Money,” which cites his own
unpublished memoirs. Mr. Scaife was driven in part, Ms. Mayer writes, by
a tax loophole that granted him his inheritance tax free through a
trust, so long as the trust donated its net income to charity for 20
years. “Isn’t it grand how tax law gets written?” Mr. Scaife wrote.
In Ms. Mayer’s telling, the Kochs helped bankroll — through a skein of
nonprofit organizations with minimal public disclosure — decades of
victories in state capitals and in Washington, often leaving no
fingerprints. She credits groups financed by the Kochs and their allies
with providing support for the Tea Party movement, along with the public
relations strategies used to shrink public support for the Affordable
Care Act and for President Obama’s proposals to mitigate climate change.
The Koch network also provided funding to fine-tune budget proposals
from Representative Paul D. Ryan, such as cuts to Social Security, so
they would be more palatable to voters, according to the book. The Kochs
were so influential among conservative lawmakers, Ms. Mayer reports,
that in 2011, Representative John A. Boehner, then the House speaker,
visited David Koch to ask for his help in resolving a debt ceiling
“Dark Money” also contains revelations from a private history of the
Kochs commissioned by David’s twin brother, William, during a lengthy
legal battle with Charles and David over control of Koch Industries.
Ms. Mayer describes a sealed 1982 deposition in which William Koch
recalled participating in an attempt by Charles and David to blackmail
their fourth and eldest brother, Frederick, into relinquishing any claim
to the family business by threatening to tell their father that he was gay.
David Koch has since described himself as socially liberal and as a
supporter of same-sex marriage.
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