Koch Industries Rebukes Democrats Over Shutdown

Reid, Sanders spreading misinformation, company says

October 9, 2013

Koch Industries on Wednesday publicly rebuked allegations by Senate Democrats that the company and its libertarian founders, Charles and David Koch, are responsible for the partial government shutdown.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) were among those who blamed the company for Congress’s inability to agree to legislation to fund the federal government.

Those allegations amount to "misinformation," the company said in a letter circulated to Senate offices.

"Koch believes that Obamacare will increase deficits, lead to an overall lowering of the standard of health care in America, and raise taxes," Phillp Ellender, Koch Industries’ president of government and public affairs, wrote.

"However, Koch has not taken a position on the legislative tactic of tying the continuing resolution to defunding Obamacare nor have we lobbied on legislative provisions defunding Obamacare."

The letter was sent to Capitol Hill on Wednesday morning.

It was designed to blunt attacks against the company that Ellender said completely disregard Koch’s actual position, or lack thereof, on the shutdown.

"By shutting down the government, Republicans are satisfying the Koch Brothers while millions of people are suffering," Reid claimed on Tuesday.

Sanders has been more outspoken, posting numerous items on his official website blaming the company or Charles and David Koch for the partial shutdown.

The shutdown was "planned by the Koch brothers and other very wealthy people from the day after Obama was re-elected," Sanders claimed on a Burlington television station on Monday.

Many of the Koch criticisms stemmed from a New York Times article last week that singled out the company due to its founders’ financial support for some groups that have supported the Obamacare defunding strategy that led to the partial shutdown.

Americans for Prosperity, the group most often associated with the Kochs, has also not taken a position on the shutdown.

"The billionaire Koch brothers, Charles and David, have been deeply involved with financing the overall effort" to defund Obamacare, the Times wrote.

The article called Charles Koch a "driving force" behind the strategy.

Ellender was open about the company’s opposition to Obamacare. However, he wrote the company's priorities are "balancing the budget, tightening and cutting government spending, curbing cronyism, and eliminating market-distorting subsidies and mandates."

"We are hopeful this sets the record straight and that in the future Senator Reid and other politicians will stop misrepresenting and distorting Koch’s positions," Ellender added.