The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Letter to the editor: Koch brothers have learned to cut corners

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  • To the editor:
    An article in the Aug. 23-24 Leavenworth Times gave a cursory family story about the Koch brothers. I would like to add the other side of the Koch coin.
    Their grandfather, Harry, was an 1888 Dutch immigrant printer’s assistant who worked his way up to own the Tribune-Chief newspaper in Quanah, Texas. Their father, Fred, was a brilliant chemical engineer who revolutionized oil fracturing in gasoline production.
    Both examples are a product of hard work and accomplishment of the "American dream" this country offers. In 1967, the brothers inherited hundreds of millions each and the family company.
    What happens when hard work, accomplishment and sweat is missing? When everything is given, bought or manipulated in their favor? A feeling of entitlement, spoiled sarcasm and dissatisfaction are instilled.
    After all, what can they point to as theirs? Homes on every continent; ever increasing profits; books; political party bought and paid; power of the checkbook that buys fear and respect and the superiority complex of following only acceptable laws are their legacy.
    Integrity is not in the mix. They break environmental laws with impunity, reportedly influenced judges and elections, and Charles and David were sued by their brother, William, in 1999 for alleged oil embezzling. Their oil business was middle-man to oil producing well owners. They would make a subtle shift in oil tank readings, downward by one inch, the “cheating measurements,” or “the Koch Method.”
    William sued them under the whistle-blower, False Claims Act. In 2001, they agreed to a $25 million fine for dismissal, but this was a drop-in-the bucket to the estimated $230 million stolen in tax-free oil. I can see why they want smaller government that cannot implement and enforce laws that protect the health and wealth of the country’s citizens. I think their philanthropy is "guilt money” and their political money “anti-American money.”
    What better ways are there than to buy out of grand larceny and buy into the political process? Yes, I would say they have “the American dream.”
    Ronald Banks
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