Oops, My Bad: Charles Koch Says He Regrets Dividing the Country, but Not Enough to Stop Funneling Shit Tons of Money to Republicans

Oops, My Bad: Charles Koch Says He Regrets Dividing the Country, but Not Enough to Stop Funneling Shit Tons of Money to Republicans
Picture this: You’ve spent most of your adult life running senior citizens over with your car. But you’re getting up in your years and you’ve decided you’d like people to say nice things about you after you die. Not enough that you want to, like, stop running old people over with your car, dragging their bodies by your bumper, or even to say you feel bad about breaking all the bones in their body, among other horrible things you’ve done in your life. But enough to write a book being like, “I have some regrets: One time I was rude to a waiter and then stiffed him on the tip—hoo-boy, that felt good to get off my chest,” and to sit down with a reporter to relay the same idea. Anyway, apropos of nothing, Charles Koch has something he’d like to say.

Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, the billionaire who, along with his late brother, David Koch, has arguably done more to harm society than nearly anyone in modern history, said he now regrets dividing the country by plowing billions of dollars to Republicans in order to further his anti-regulation, anti-health care, anti-social services, anti-taxes, anti-doing-anything-whatsoever-to-stop-climate-change agenda. “Boy, did we screw up!” he essentially writes in his new book Believe in People: Bottom-Up Solutions for a Top-Down World. “What a mess!” Which might be acceptable if he was apologizing for, like, sending out invitations to a congressional mixer with the wrong date on them, and not for burying the planet in a shallow grave, among other things. Or if he wasn’t still actively writing giant checks to a party and candidates who won’t acknowledge that Joe Biden won the election, which some people might find kind of divisive-y!

Still, his political spending remains almost entirely partisan. Koch Industries’ PAC and employees donated $2.8 million in the 2020 campaign cycle to Republican candidates and $221,000 to Democratic candidates, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

In fact, according the Daily Beast, on Wednesday, Americans for Prosperity Action, a super PAC affiliated with Koch, spent $440,000 on digital ads and canvassing in support of Senator David Perdue’s Georgia runoff bid against Democrat Jon Ossoff. Perdue, like numerous Republicans, has not acknowledged that Biden won the presidential election and, along with Senator Kelly Loeffler—who’s bragged about an endorsement from a QAnon conspiracy theory-floatingracist— demanded that Georgia’s Secretary of State resign over his supposed failure to deliver “honest and transparent elections.” And while Koch has distanced himself from the president—though not his tax cuts—Perdue loveshimself some Donald J. Trump, having voted with the president a whopping 95% of the time and defending him during at least seven major controversies, per Axios. According to the chairman of Koch’s Stand Together organization, through its affiliates the group plans to spend “heavily” in Georgia in the run up to January 5 and “actually supported more candidates for public office in 2020 than ever before—wading into more than 200 races.”

And while Koch, who is 85, may want people to remember him as a guy who focused his attention on “building bridges across partisan divides to find answers to sprawling social problems,” hilariously suggesting in his book that he hopes to be seen as a unifier, what should really be remembered about “Chuckie,” as he literally asked reporter Douglas Belkin to call him, is that:

  • In 1991, when George H. W. Bush announced his support of a treaty that would limit carbon emissions, and the Republican Party, per The New Yorker, “largely accepted the scientific consensus on climate change,” he and his brother hosted a conference called “Global Environmental Crisis: Science or Politics?,” featuring “many of the same characters who have spread doubt about the reality of climate change and continue to challenge the advisability of acting against it,” one of whom said at the time that there was “very little evidence at all” that climate change would be “catastrophic.” Obviously, Chuckie and David had sprung to action understanding that any attempt to limit carbon emissions could threaten the profits of Koch Industries, which they spent the next 30-plus years protecting by getting half the country to think climate change was and is a hoax, and giving money to politicians to block any and all efforts to do anything about it.

  • In 2000, his company paid the largest civil fine ever imposed on a company to resolve claims related to more than 300 oil spills from its pipelines, and then continued to release toxic air pollution into the world, churning out, in the words of Harry Reid, “more climate-changing greenhouse gases than oil giants Chevron, Shell and Valero,“ a statement that PolitiFact rated as “mostly true,” saying that it needed more context but that “Koch Industries does produce more greenhouse gas emissions than [those] oil companies.”

  • Koch Industries allegedly stole oil from Indian reservations.

  • After Barack Obama was elected, he donated a significant amount of money to the Tea Party, which he now would like to make clear he didn‘t “create” but with whom he and his brother simply “shared…about unsustainable government spending, and we supported some tea-party groups on that issue.” Note: Koch was very much in support of Trump and the GOP’S $1 trillion 2017 tax bill, and to show he appreciation, donated $500,000 to then House speaker Paul Ryan after the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was passed.

  • His company was ordered to pay a record $296 million wrongful death award, and ultimately settled for an undisclosed amount, because of a leaky Koch pipeline that burned two teenagers alive after they went to report the leak and triggered an explosion when they turned on their truck. A trial expert witness told a jury “he’d never seen a company disregard safety to this extent in his more than 25-year career.”

  • His Americans for Prosperity group, the main political arm of the Koch family, which pushed a $1 billion cut to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, called in March for businesses to remain open as the coronavirus ravaged the country.

What a mess indeed.

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