[Marxism] Father of Koch Brothers Helped Build Nazi Oil Refinery, Book Says

Louis Proyect 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 
anti-government philanthropy.

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 
sons.

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 
book says.

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 
stalemate.

“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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