The Big Oil billionaire Koch brothers are spending millions to pursue their agenda. They and their allies have pledged to contribute $200 million to third–party groups to help defeat President Obama this year. And now they’re providing their longtime ally, Mitt Romney, with a major platform to drum up support.
Today, Romney spoke at the Michigan Prosperity Forum, a Koch-sponsored event with an audience chock full of the Koch brothers’ personal friends and fans. And as Americans for Prosperity’s Michigan state director said, “Because this event takes place just three days before Michigan’s primary election, this is a perfect time to ensure our issues have a prominent place within the national dialogue in this year’s elections.”
Of course, Romney is the natural candidate to help make sure the Koch brothers’ preferred policies have a “prominent place” in the Republican agenda. Romney’s stated energy agenda seems to answer almost every one of the Koch brothers’ wishes.
Koch: The David and Charles Koch-funded group, Americans for Prosperity, has “lobbied aggressively” against clean energy policies and used “advertising, social media, and cross-country events aimed at electing lawmakers” who will ensure that the oil industry won’t have to worry about any new regulations. As AFP president Tim Phillips said, the group is out to make sure that if you’re a Republican and you “buy into green energy or you play footsie on this issue, you do so at your political peril.”
Romney: Romney learned that lesson quickly. He once supported green energy, but now attacks the President’s focus on clean energy, insisting that his all-of-the-above energy approach “is shaped in part by the extreme environmentalists in his party.”
Oil and gas subsidies:
Koch: Koch industries multiplied its lobbying budget by more than 23-fold between 2004 and 2008 to “mold, gut or kill more than 100 prospective bills or regulations” on the oil and gas industry. They specifically lobbied Congress “to maintain some tax breaks and credits for oil and gas producers that the Obama administration wants to end.”
Romney: Romney has no plans to end these tax subsidies. When asked, he could only muster, “I haven’t looked at it in sufficient depth.”
Koch: Koch industries buy large supplies of oil and store them offshore until oil prices rise. The brothers also engage in oil speculation, betting on the price of oil in order to make a profit. Even as the demand for oil hit a 16-year low, these two practices are directly contributing to keeping gas prices high.
Romney: As governor of Massachusetts, Romney hiked a gas tax by 400%—affecting every driver in the state. He quintupled the tax even when Bay Staters were already paying a 21-cent-per-gallon state tax on gasoline.
While Romney is following the Koch legislative plan to the letter, President Obama’s comprehensive energy plan would end the excessive subsidies for the oil and gas industry. The President’s all-of-the-above approach would boost responsible domestic development of oil and gas along with cleaner forms of energy that will help bring energy prices down.
For the Koch brothers, that won’t do. And that’s why they’re spending millions with the goal of destroying President Obama and electing someone who will protect the unfair tax breaks that give them millions of dollars.
The Democratic National Committee released this video tracking the Koch brother’s fight for Big Oil. Watch it here, and share it with your friends.