Half of voters have no idea who the Koch brothers are — so here’s a quick and dirty primer
A recent George Washington University battleground poll of 1,000 registered “likely” voters found just over half (52 percent) had never heard of sleazy oil tycoons Charles and David Koch (pronounced “Coke,” guys!). The good news is 1-in-4 voters knew enough to have an “unfavorable” view of the billionaire bros.
And Democrats in particular are wise to the Kochs’ dirty energy-loving 1 percentism, according to Politico:
Among self-identified liberal Democrats, only 43 percent had never heard of the Kochs — 9 points lower than the general public. And 45 percent had a negative opinion of the two brothers — 20 points higher than the general public.
Forty-three percent still sounds pretty high at Grist HQ, where we have a framed photo of the Kochs on our Wall of Shame next to Cruella de Vil and The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. So here’s a quick rundown of their vital stats (check out this cool infographic too).
Famous for: Inheriting their dad’s company, which owns oil, gas, and other businesses. Throwing money at the Tea Party. Being evil (see below).
Brands they own (so maybe avoid them): Dixie cups, Brawny and Sparkle paper towels, Quilted Northern and Angel Soft toilet paper (all part of Georgia-Pacific); Lycra fiber, Stainmaster carpet.
Anti-green stuff: The Kochs have repeatedly attacked clean energy, fought climate action, and thumbed their noses at environmental regulations, even getting convicted five times in North America in the past 15 years. They could make $100 billion if the Keystone pipeline happens.
And not only do they love fossil fuels, they steal them. According to Bloomberg, “In December 1999, a civil jury found that Koch Industries had taken oil it didn’t pay for from federal land by mismeasuring the amount of crude it was extracting.”
Other evil stuff: Pouring millions into conservative political candidates’ campaigns. Trying to stop healthcare reform. Rigging prices, faking reports, lying to officials, and bribing people. Being staunchly anti-regulation and wanting to kill everything from Social Security to the FBI. Plus, there’s this:
Phil Dubose, a Koch employee who testified against the company said he and his colleagues were shown by their managers how to steal and cheat — using techniques they called the Koch Method.
Admittedly not as bad as: Attila the Hun, Genghis Khan, Chucky, Frank Underwood (maybe — hard to say).
*There are actually two other Koch brothers who got beat out for interests in the family company. They mostly sail around and collect stuff.