Despite their reputations as libertarian true believers, the Koch brothers are nothing if not practical businessmen, who have no trouble taking advantage of government subsidies when it bolsters their bottom line. (Koch Industries, for instance, was for years heavily invested in the $6 billion, federally subsidized ethanol industry.) That bottom line runs up and down the state of California, where Koch Industries has hundreds of millions of dollars invested through its subsidiary Georgia-Pacific—a gypsum, pulp paper product and packaging company that operates 11 facilities in California with more than 1,100 employees and $190 million in annual payroll and benefit expenses.
Other Koch subsidiaries, such as Flint Hills Resources—a petrochemical company–stand to make a killing should California reverse its strict carbon emission standards. Koch Industries has an array of powerful lobbyists working for its interests in Sacramento and a nearly decade-long history of major donations to California politicians in support of the Kochs’ business agenda. The brothers’ latest crusade, to pass Prop. 32 and reduce the political voice of unions in California, stands to vastly increase their personal fortunes—at the expense of the rest of us.
For years prior to becoming the piggybank of the conservative movement, Koch Industries quietly channeled money to various California lawmakers through its Georgia-Pacific subsidiary.