There are myriad reasons why someone has intense hostility towards, and aversion to, a person or thing that typically derives from fear, anger, or a sense of personal injury. The particular “thing” that conservatives, particularly the Republican-libertarian conservatives, loathe more than America’s most dangerous enemies is the government and its various agencies; especially those tasked with enforcing laws and regulations. The two men who wield ultimate control over the conservative movement and own the Republican Congress, Charles and David Koch, certainly hate the government, but they have particular antipathy for two agencies they believe are “despotic” and illegal simply because they exist and are not under Koch brother control.
The Koch brothers have made no secret that they want the Internal Revenue Service and the Environmental Protection Agency eliminated from existence and have spared no expense to thwart the activities of the EPA. Now they will have an even greater reason to hate the Internal Revenue Service because due to a devious, and illegal, Koch plot to affect legislation neutering enforcement power of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Internal Revenue Service is beginning an investigation into an illegal Koch tax deduction. The illegal tax write-off is for payment to a scientist for phony reports “absolving the fossil fuel industry of any responsibility for anthropogenic climate change.”
The IRS has received several complaints from the environmental group Greenpeace demanding it investigate the secret relationship between the Koch brothers and a well-known climate denying scientist with questionable scientific credentials, The so-called “scientist,” Dr. Willie Soon, received over $1,6 million to create phony reports claiming climate change is not only non-existent, but that if it does exist there is no relationship to carbon emissions related to fossil fuels.
The particular issue of interest to the IRS is that the Koch brothers illegally wrote off as a tax deduction the payment to Soon for reports created specifically to affect legislation in Congress and state legislatures; a clear violation of the law. Earlier this year, the New York Times exposed the “special secret relationship” between Soon and the Kochs, ExxonMobil, and a large Southern coal-fired utility that included deliberately false scientific data Republicans regularly use to deny the existence and effects of global climate change claims made by 98% of the world’s real climate scientists.
Apparently there is nothing illegal about Soon’s well-known false ‘studies,’ or that as a so-called ‘expert’ he is renowned for “obscuring” empirical data about climate change he promised were “deliverables” to the Koch brothers. In fact, it has also been no secret that Soon has been on the payroll of “major polluters” for a long time. However, the damning revelation discovered by Greenpeace that attracted the attention of the IRS is that the Charles G. Koch Foundation, a “tax exempt charity,” was paying for Soon’s phony studies as part of the Koch’s lobbying efforts against renewable energy and climate change solutions. What that means is that the Kochs were able to write off payments to Soon on their taxes that violates Internal Revenue Service rules prohibiting “tax-exempt charities” like the Charles G. Koch Foundation from influencing legislation; any legislation.
Last week, the IRS responded to a letter from Greenpeace that pointed out this illegal lobbying by the Koch brothers. The IRS letter encouraged Greenpeace to submit additional information to the IRS Dallas office and confirmed they were reviewing Greenpeace’s complaint. The complaint contained details of Soon’s interactions and correspondence with the Koch brothers including seriously damning evidence that Soon was paid handsomely by the Charles G. Koch Foundation to specifically create papers denying the existence of climate change.
In fact, in his proposals to the Kochs, Soon promised specifically to create work that conceals the cause and existence of climate change for the stated purpose of “informing public policy;” a commonly used euphemism for lobbying legislation. Following through on his pledge, Dr. Soon used the Koch-funded ‘studies‘ while testifying in Kansas against renewable energy legislation to convince state legislators to vote against clean energy standards. The same dubious research was used in Congress to deny “that greenhouse gases are the dominant cause of climate change.” Soon even sent a letter to the Kochs boasting about the usefulness of his phony research in congressional testimony that he said contributed “very useful progress” toward Charles G. Koch’s “special project.” Soon’s letter also requested a funding extension to ensure greater progress toward the “Koch project.” Obviously the Koch “special project” is affecting legislation at the state and federal level defeating renewable energy standards and preventing legislation addressing climate change solutions; something that is illegal for a ‘tax exempt charity‘ like Koch’s Foundation.
As Greenpeace pointed out to the Internal Revenue Service, the Charles G Koch Foundation knew damn well that funding Dr. Soon’s work was as legally a risky move as taking a tax deduction for influencing legislation. In unrelated letters to the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, the Koch Foundation was extremely careful in attempting to stress that the Koch money funding Soon’s phony reports “will not be used to influence legislation.” However, the facts are clear that Soon used the Koch-funded reports in testimony before both the Kansas legislature and the United States Congress specifically to advance the Koch’s fossil fuel interests in affecting legislation on renewable energy standards and putting a halt to climate change solutions; both instances are clear violations of Internal Revenue Service rules prohibiting “non-profit charitable organizations” from using their tax-exempt funds to influence legislation.
The Koch brothers have given substantial amounts of money, over $79 million, to “climate change science denial organizations” since 1979, and it is unclear how many of those substantial millions came from the Koch’s network of so-called “tax-exempt charitable organizations.” The Koch’s are notorious for funneling “dark money” through various organizations, many of them tax-exempt charities, and it is likely the fact that they have been successful in not getting caught that drove their hubris and informed them to use a ‘charity’ with Charles G Koch’s name attached. They obviously did not take into account that an international organization like Greenpeace would ever take the initiative to investigate their internal correspondence and interactions with their highly-paid climate denier Soon.
Now that their illegal malfeasance has been exposed in documentation, the Internal Revenue Service can go forward and give the Koch’s a real reason to hate them even more; stripping them of their tax-exempt status. For its part, Greenpeace deserves the highest praise possible for not only fighting to protect Earth’s environment, but for having the courage to go after America and the environment’s greatest enemy; Charles and David Koch.