Bloomberg Markets magazine dropped a bombshell on Sunday, with its 14-page investigation of Koch Industries—one of the largest privately-held corporations in the world—owned by conservative activists Charles and David (pictured above) Koch. The question that looms today is how much damage the exposé will do, given its eyebrow-raising allegations of foreign bribery, environmental negligence and price-fixing. So, what will come of the Kochs who are already pushing back against the article? These seem to be the initial reactions.
New ammo for Democrats, write Chris Cillizza and Aaron Blake at The Washington Post: "Democrats have attempted to make bogeymen out of the tea party-supporting billionaire Koch brothers, and we’d expect them to push this big time." Noreen Malone at New York's Daily Intel notes that even some on the right won't be able to ignore the piece. "The charge about sales to Iran--after it had been dubbed a member of the axis of evil by President Bush--probably won't sit well with conservatives who care about more than just regulatory issues."
The depth of the reporting props up the article's assertions, writes Patrick at PoliticalGates: "There is nothing to 'discredit.' The article is an effort of almost monumental proportions, carefully researched by no less than 15 journalists all over the globe, and very courageous at the same time," he writes, "This will be a tough ride for the Koch Brothers."
Bloomberg can't be dismissed as a liberal rag, writes David Dayen at FireDogLake. "Because this story appears in such a commie broadsheet like Bloomberg, it will surely be dismissed. OK, tongue out of cheek. This is an extremely serious piece of journalism," he writes. "The time frame for the article is mostly but not at all limited to the 1999-2003 period. But despite a spokesbot’s claims that the company has reformed its ways, it strains credulity to believe that Koch Industries now complies with all relevant regulatory laws."
The article's false premise gives it less heft, writes Ira Stoll at The Future of Capitalism:
The Bloomberg approach seems... to conclude that Koch's libertarianism is somehow the cause of its transgressions or supposed transgressions, or as the article puts it, "how the Kochs' anti-regulation political ideology has influenced the way they conduct business." Bloomberg seems to suggest, without actually coming out and saying so, that these libertarians somehow believe they don't have to obey any laws. But libertarianism is not the same as anarchism.