Bloomberg Markets Magazine offers up a salacious new profile of the Koch brothers that reveals, among other things, that the hard right conservatives made millions selling petrochemical equipment to Iran in violation of the US-Iran trade embargo while taking elaborate steps to ensure that their US-employees were not involved in those sales. That’s just the start of it.
The profile of the billionaires, who have gone from #19 on Forbes 400 list of billionaires to #4, was the work of at least 15 Bloomberg journalists in several countries and represents a comprehensive and unflattering look matched only by Jane Mayer’s New Yorker piece.
The Bloomberg piece also reveals that Koch Industries paid bribes in six countries from 2002 to 2008 to win business in Africa, India and the Middle East. When a compliance officer in France discovered the illegal bribes that officer was fired.
The piece also retraces the checkered business history of Koch Industries, including evidence of price rigging with competitors, lying to regulators and repeated violations of environmental law. Those violations resulted in at least five criminal convictions in both the US and Canada since 1999.
Bloomberg’s summary pretty much says it all:
For six decades around the world, Koch Industries blazed a path to riches – in part, by making illicit payments to win contracts, trading with a terrorist state, fixing prices, neglecting safety and ignoring environmental regulations. At the same time, Charles and David Koch have promoted a form of government that interferes less with company actions.
The Koch brothers tried to get out ahead of the story, issuing an unusual pre-buttal slamming the allegations as trolling and citing an “unnamed source” as identifying the profile as nothing short of a political hit job.
Frankly, the revelations are not as shocking as they are to be expected at this point. And most political outlets have ignored the story, despite the fact that the Koch brothers dump untold millions into hard-right causes and candidates.
These are the men dictating American policy right now and they are nothing more than common criminals. This has got to change.
Photo from fredthompson via flickr.