The Kochs call out Reid for ‘misinformation’ over government shutdown

Alex Pappas Political Reporter
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An organization run by Charles and David Koch is lashing out at Senate majority leader Harry Reid and other Democratic lawmakers who say the billionaire conservatives are somehow responsible for the federal government shutdown.

“A great deal of what you read and hear about Koch Industries is erroneous or misleading,” wrote Philip Ellender, the president of government and public affairs at Koch, in a letter to senators on Wednesday.

On Twitter Tuesday, Reid, the Nevada Democrat, wrote: “By shutting down the government, Republicans are satisfying the Koch Brothers while millions of people are suffering.”

Reid on Tuesday also took to the Senate floor and said the Kochs “have been raising and spending hundreds of millions of dollars to get us where we are right now.”

In its letter, the Koch official wrote that while the organization is publicly against Obamacare, it never supported the position of Republicans like Ted Cruz, who argued in support of a continuing resolution only if it defunded Obamacare.

“Koch believes that Obamacare will increase deficits, lead to an overall lowering of the standard of health care in America, and raise taxes,” Ellender wrote. “However, Koch has not taken a position on the legislative tactic of tying the continuing resolution to defunding Obamacare nor have we lobbied on legislative provisions defunding Obamacare.”

The letter comes after both the New York Times and the liberal lawmakers have tied the Kochs to the Republican effort to defund Obamacare through the continuing resolution.

Citing groups funded by the Kochs, the New York Times reported that, “The billionaire Koch brothers, Charles and David, have been deeply involved with financing the overall effort.”

The liberal Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders wrote on Tuesday: “Taking advantage of the Citizens United ruling, the billionaires Charles and David Koch and other wealthy individuals have provided financial backing for the movement that forced a now week-old government shutdown, according to The New York Times.”

Michigan Rep. Dan Kildee recently said of Republicans and the shutdown: “They would be more apt to compromise if they were not absolutely petrified of the Koch brothers spending millions of dollars to unseat them.”

New York Democratic Rep. Louise Slaughter accused David Koch of being among a band of characters that “wanted to repeal the Affordable Care Act” and “engineered this whole thing.”

Ellender of Koch countered that despite this “misinformation,” Koch has not been lobbying for that legislative technique, but instead has “focused on educating the public about reducing our nation’s debt and controlling runaway government spending.”

“We are hopeful this sets the record straight and that in the future Senator Reid and other politicians will stop misrepresenting and distorting Koch’s positions.”

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