March 3, 2011- Fighting back against public scrutiny, Koch Industries is relying on a small army of conservative bloggers, reporters, and lobbyists. Chief among them is John Hinderaker, a blogger at the “Powerline Blog.” However, in his now daily defense of the Koch brothers, Hinderaker has failed to disclose that his law firm counts Koch Industries as a major client.
Hinderaker has been on the war path defending Koch. He has tasked himself with sniping at ThinkProgress posts, spending the last few weeks defending forced-abortion lobbyist and Koch operative Tim Phillips, celebrating Koch’s self-interested propaganda against climate change science, and generally making juvenile swipes at yours truly, including posting my picture and calling me a “high school student.” In a bizarre rant defending “what a great company Koch Enterprises is,” Hinkeraker even claims ThinkProgress is being paid “millions of dollars by left-wing billionaires” to report on Koch Industries. But here’s what he didn’t say:
– Hinderaker Has A Disclosure Problem. Hinderaker is an attorney for the law firm Faegre and Benson. Despite his previous role handling “ethics and professional responsibility” for Faegre, he has failed to disclose in his Koch-friendly blogging that Koch is a major client for his firm. Faegre represented Koch Industries in cases related to Koch’s theft of oil (using the famed “Koch Method” of manipulating oil data) in Texas and North Dakota, in cases against Koch’s own employees regarding Koch’s speculative weather derivatives business and an environmental whistleblower case, and in a case against a Koch subcontractor. In an ongoing case, Hinderaker’s firm represents Koch Industries in a class action suit brought by a group of plaintiffs regarding oil Koch allegedly stole from wells in Oklahoma. In addition, Hinderaker has defended the Bradley Foundation after we profiled the group and its support for Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI). Hinderaker never disclosed that he is a fellow of the Claremont Institute, a front that has received over $3 million from the Bradley Foundation.
Asked about his failure to disclose his firm’s financial relationship with Koch, Hinderaker told ThinkProgress’ Scott Keyes today that he has no comment.
The Koch spin machine is much larger than just Hinderaker. Koch recently retained Orion Strategies, a PR firm run by Weekly Standard writers like Michael Goldfarb, Wilson Miller Communications, and PR consultant Ron Bonjean, as well as government affairs firms like Cove Strategies, Hunton & Williams, ADS Ventures, the Palmetto Group, and Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti. In addition to their communication consultants, Koch is being aided by the right-wing media investments they have made over the years.