Anatomy of the Latest Koch Facts Controversy

Koch Industries donated to Democrats, but got mad when asked for more contributions

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The Koch brothers, notable financiers of the Tea Party movement, are one of the Democrats favorite punching-bags. So when their PR website, Koch Facts, published an aggressive letter yesterday saying that the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee had left a voicemail at Koch Industries asking for contributions, it raised more than a few eyebrows. The Koch Facts letter, written by the company's PR head, pounced on the apparent hypocrisy, excerpted (and in full here):

I’m hoping you can help me understand the intent of your request because it’s hard not to conclude that DSCC politics have become so cynical that you actually expect people whom you routinely denounce to give DSCC money.

The problem with the aggressive PR pushback: as unlikely as it seems, Koch Industries actually had donated to Democrats in previous years, as Daily Intel's Dan Amira, Slate's David Weigel, and The Fix all pointed out. Which seemingly defeats the hypocrisy angle that Koch Facts was going with. From Dan Amira:

But the pearl-clutching reaction from Koch Industries is entirely phony. KochPAC, the political action committee of Koch Industries, donated $30,000 to the DSCC just last year, when the Democratic assault on the Brothers Koch was in full swing, and gave another $30,000 to the DSCC during the 2008 election cycle.

And Weigel:

Indeed, but this isn't the whole story. The Koch Industries Political Action Commitee gave the DSCC $15,000 on March 19, 2009, and $15,000 more on January 13, 2010. Eight months later, the New Yorker published its Bible-length slam on the Kochs, which marked the transition of Koch-bashing from "thing ThinkProgress blogged about" to "thing Democrats were comfortable attacking."

The Slate blogger--who had previously been the subject of his very own Koch Facts controversy--adds fittingly: "There is a lesson here, somewhere, about how to pick your targets."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.