The industrial conglomerate headed by the billionaire Koch brothers isn't playing ball with liberal Senate Democrats who are hunting for ties between the fossil-fuel industry and research that casts doubt upon human-induced climate change.
Koch Industries Inc. is among 100 companies, lobbying groups, and conservative organizations that received a late-February letter from the lawmakers asking for 10 years worth of detailed information by April 3 about support for scientific research.
But Koch Industries, in a March 5 letter, told the senators that they can have the company's answer to the inquiry now: They will provide nothing in response to the Senate request. Mark V. Holden, the Kochs' general counsel, criticized the senators' "apparent efforts to infringe upon and potentially stifle fundamental First Amendment activities."
"The activity and efforts about which you inquire, and Koch's involvement, if any, in them, are at the core of the fundamental liberties protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution," states the letter to Sens. Ed Markey, Barbara Boxer, and Sheldon Whitehouse.
"To the extent that your letter touches on matters that implicate the First Amendment, I am sure you recognize Koch's right to participate in the debate of important public policy issues and its right of free association," Holden writes to the senators.