The Washington Post

Koch statement to The Washington Post concerning brothers’ ties to donor network

Robert Tappan, a spokesman for Koch Industries and Charles and David Koch, provided a statement to The Washington Post when asked about the Kochs’ support for a network of politically active nonprofit groups. Here is his response, in its entirety:

“Koch’s involvement in political and public policy activities is at the core of fundamental liberties protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. This type of activity is undertaken by individual donors and organizations on all ends of the political spectrum — on the left, the middle, and the right. In many situations, the law does not compel disclosure of donors to various causes and organizations. As you are aware, the Center for American Progress (CAP), founded by John Podesta, has not disclosed over 90 percent of its donors, including individual donors, even in the face of concerns about a potential conflict-of-interest, given Mr. Podesta’s new role as White House Special Advisor.

“As demonstrated by the IRS’ concerted and systematic targeting of conservatives and free-market 501(c)(3) and (c)(4) organizations that began in 2010, the Administration and its allies have targeted organizations with which they disagree politically. They have done this to stifle free speech, and harass and intimidate these individuals and groups, under the guise of ‘transparency.’ Forcing private citizens and lawful organizations to disclose what they support and to whom they contribute actually has a ‘chilling’ effect on free speech — a grave concern that was noted in the Federalist papers and has been recognized since then by the Supreme Court.

“As has been documented, Koch has been targeted repeatedly in the past by the Administration and its allies because of our real (or, in some cases, perceived) beliefs and activities concerning public policy and political issues. For example, an August 2010 issue concerning Koch’s tax status raised by Austan Goolsbee, then the President’s Chief Economic Advisor, led to a TIGTA [Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration] investigation of whether Mr. Goolsbee violated federal income tax privacy laws. Koch has been denied access to the results of that investigation by the IRS and TIGTA. In addition, since 2010 there have been multiple death threats and threats of violence against Koch and its principals.”

Matea Gold is a national political reporter for The Washington Post, covering money and influence.

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