Progressives urge Koch Brothers to #GiveItBack
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Responding to the League of Conservation Voters’ ad campaign insinuating they support subsidies for oil and gas companies, billionaire oilmen Charles and David Koch issued a statement declaring their opposition to federal subsidies of any kind. Since the Kochs are recipients of some of the most egregious Big Oil giveaways, Friends of the Earth and other progressive groups are asking the Kochs to give back the money.
“It isn’t often that Friends of the Earth agrees with the Koch brothers,” said Friends of the Earth’s Climate and energy campaigner Lukas Ross. “We definitely don’t agree with them on the role of government or the threat of climate change but it is great to hear that they so vigorously oppose oil and gas subsidies.”
In 2013, the oil and gas industry received at least $10.5 billion in federal subsidies. “This is a huge allocation of resources to profitable companies at a time of supposed fiscal constraint,” said Ross. Although President Obama has repeatedly called for closing many of the worst loopholes, the oil lobby and its allies in Congress continue to block progress.
In the past, Koch Industries directly lobbied for the survival of many of these government giveaways. The Kochs have funded political groups like Americans for Prosperity, which do the same. “Oil interest contributions are a big barrier to ending these giveaways and if they stopped funding these groups it would send a powerful signal,” said Ross.
“Having Charles and David Koch work to end these wasteful subsidies would also be incredibly impactful. We think the most powerful thing they could do is to lead by example and return all the oil and gas subsidies they received,” added Ross. “If they gave back the money, perhaps fewer people would be inclined to accuse them of favoring crony capitalism and corporate welfare.”