New documentary underscores Koch brothers' broad influence in policy and politics

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Koch Inc., headquartered in Wichita, Kan., spends tens of millions of dollars to lobby Congress and federal agencies on issues ranging from oil and gas to the estate tax.

 

Larry W. Smith/Associated Press

Bloomberg has produced a video news program about Charles and David Koch, the brothers who built Koch Industries into a multibillion-dollar global corporation and have increasingly used their personal fortunes to back conservative political causes.

The program, part of a series called "Game Changers," includes an interview with John Farrell, a senior reporter at iWatch News. Farrell documented Koch's rapidly expanding presence in Washington in a project published in April titled, "Web of Influence."

Some key findings from the Koch project:

  • Koch Industries has increased its lobbying from $857,000 in 2004 to $20 million in the last two years.
  • Koch has 165 manufacturing facilities and lobbies against increased regulation of toxic byproducts like dioxin, asbestos and formaldehyde.
  • Koch has purchased four ethanol plants with a combined capacity of 435 million gallons; ethanol subsidies cost the government $6 billion each year.
  • Koch lobbies to protect the Section 199 deduction to help U.S. manufacturers; the subsidy for energy firms cost the Treasury $14 billion over 10 years.
  • Koch had $100 billion revenues in 2009, second only to Cargill as a private U.S. company.

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