Daily Archives: April 16, 2011

Think Progress: Walker And Prosser Crushed Regulations On Koch Industries’ Phosphorus Pollution In Wisconsin

April 13, 2011- Shortly after helping to elect Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI), Koch Industries opened a new lobbying office in Madison near the state capitol. However, little has been disclosed about the Koch lobbying agenda in Madison. The New York Times reported that Koch political operatives privately pressured Walker to crush public employee unions. But Walker’s major payback to Koch relates to environmental deregulation.

ThinkProgress has learned that the Walker administration, along with state Supreme Court judge David Prosser, has quietly worked to allow Koch’s many Georgia Pacific paper plants to pollute Wisconsin by pouring thousands of pounds of phosphorus into the water.

Koch’s Georgia Pacific plants are well known for releasing large amounts of phosphorus into Wisconsin’s waterways. A report by the state government showed that Georgia Pacific is responsible for about 9% of total phosphorus pollution in the Lower Fox River near Green Bay.

Think Progress: Progressive Lawmakers Warn A “Significant Portion” Of Gas Prices Is Due To Speculation, Call For Crack Down

April 16, 2011- Rising oil prices have pushed gas prices above $4 per gallon in many places, inflating prices on everything from food to airfare, imperiling the fragile economic recovery. Experts have been a bit befuddled by the steep rise in gas prices this early in the year, as global oil supplies have remained steady despite unrest in the Middle East.

Among other factors, experts are increasingly concerned about the prevalence of speculators in the global oil market which may be artificially inflating prices. Speculation on energy futures, including oil, is at an all-time high, jumping 64 percent since 2008. Everyone from Goldman Sachs to Republican lawmakers have acknowledged the role of speculation in artificially driving up prices. Energies futures markets used to be the domain of companies like airlines and shippers, which appropriately use trades to hedge against price volatility, but the markets are increasingly dominated by speculators who are only interested in making profits.

Think Progress: The Contango Game: How Koch Industries Manipulates The Oil Market For Profit

April 13, 2011- In recent weeks, gas prices around the country have surged to levels unseen since the 2008 oil spike. However, market fundamentals are not driving the nearly $4.00/gallon gas prices. In fact, under the Obama administration, oil production is at record highs and there is adequate global supply of crude. As Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) commissioner Bart Chilton has explained, rampant oil speculation, which is at its highest level on record right now, is to blame for current prices.

Currently, the public knows very little about the oil speculation industry because a conservative majority on the CFTC has refused to implement a mandate from the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform bill to curb abuses. Meanwhile, Republicans are pushing steep cuts to the CFTC, hampering any new rules on oil speculation that may be released later this summer. Fortunately, both the Securities and Exchange Commission and the CFTC have so far survived the latest round of budget cuts.

NYT: Wisconsin: Railroad Chief Made Illegal Donations

April 12, 2011- A railroad executive accused of illegally donating to Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign said Monday that he would plead guilty but did not realize he had done anything wrong when he asked employees to donate tens of thousands of dollars and then reimbursed them. William Gardner, chief executive of the Wisconsin & Southern Railroad Company, faced a maximum of seven years in prison and $20,000 in fines, but prosecutors agreed to recommend thathe serve two years on probation.

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AFL-CIO Blog: Big Bucks Help Koch Brothers’ Influence Run Deep on Capitol Hill

April 9, 2011- We’ve reported on the right-wing extremist billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch from their Palm Springs summit meeting with like-minded CEOs and politicians to their heavy support and influence on Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R).

Now a new report from the Center for Public Integrity (CPI) shows the Koch brothers have become some of the biggest spenders on Capitol Hill, where big spenders abound. Since 2008, they have spent more than $40 million, says the CPI report:

to influence federal policy, as the company’s lobbyists and officials sought to mold, gut or kill more than 100 prospective bills or regulations.

Check out these examples from CPI:

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