By Zeke Miller
A just-published bombshell article in the November issue of Bloomberg Markets magazine implicates Koch Industries, the company controlled by Republican mega-donors Charles and David Koch, in dozens of criminal acts around the globe over the past three decades.
According the report, company officials have been caught paying bribes to win contracts, trading with Iran in violation of the U.S. embargo, price-fixing, neglecting safety and ignoring environmental regulations.
The billionaire brothers are major donors to FreedomWorks, the Cato Institute, and dozens of other conservative think-tanks and nonprofits. They have also been tied to several independent expenditure groups supporting Republican candidates across the country — and last year The New Yorker exposed the family's efforts to oppose President Barack Obama.
In a statement to Bloomberg Markets magazine, a spokesperson for the company acknowledged the past mistakes, but said the company has changed altered its practices and policies to avoid running afoul of the law.
- Koch Industries allegedly made improper payments to win business in 6 countries over 8 years (through 2008) — a potential violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The company described them as "activities constitute[ing] violations of criminal law."
- Koch Industries sold millions of dollars of oil refining equipment to Iran — even after President George W. Bush described the nation as a member of the 'Axis of Evil.' The company maintains these sales were legal at the time, and says it has since cut ties with the rogue nation.
- Koch Industries allegedly stole 1.95 million barrels of crude oil pumped from federal lands by falsifying purchasing records, a Senate investigation found. Former workers testified to the "Koch Method," described as trying "to cheat the producer out of crude oil,” my mis-measuring the oil.
- The company allegedly ignored federal regulations for pipeline safety — resulting in the deaths of at least two people in a pipeline explosion in Lively, Texas in 1996.
The 6,800-word article is the result of an investigation involving 14 reporters spanning from Tehran to Detroit.
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