Bloomberg: Company that contributed to Florida Republicans did business with Iran
On Monday, Bloomberg released a piece on a Koch Industries subsidiary’s ties to under-the-radar sales of petrochemical equipment in Iran. Koch has recently contributed to at least four Florida Republicans’ campaign coffers.
The story, which is worth reading in full, details allegations that the company paid bribes to win contracts in six countries since 2002.
Ludmila Egorova-Farines, Koch’s compliance officer and ethics manager, initially discovered the bribes after being asked to investigate a Koch subsidiary in southern France. Though researchers eventually found evidence that the company had indeed improperly secured a contract, Egorova-Farines was removed from the inquiry and eventually fired.
A Bloomberg Markets investigation has found that Koch Industries — in addition to being involved in improper payments to win business in Africa, India and the Middle East – has sold millions of dollars of petrochemical equipment to Iran, a country the U.S. identifies as a sponsor of global terrorism.
Internal company documents show that the company made those sales through foreign subsidiaries, thwarting a U.S. trade ban. Koch Industries units have also rigged prices with competitors, lied to regulators and repeatedly run afoul of environmental regulations, resulting in five criminal convictions since 1999 in the U.S. and Canada.
From 1999 through 2003, Koch Industries was assessed more than $400 million in fines, penalties and judgments. In December 1999, a civil jury found that Koch Industries had taken oil it didn’t pay for from federal land by mismeasuring the amount of crude it was extracting. Koch paid a $25 million settlement to the U.S.
Koch Industries’ general counsel, Mark Holden, was largely dismissive of the claims, saying they had all been previously resolved.
The billionaire Koch brothers are well-known for their right-wing agenda, and are considered largely responsible for funding the American tea party movement.
They have also spent countless millions underwriting the campaigns of Republicans across the country — some of whom are well-known in Florida. According to information accessed by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee on CQ Moneyline, Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, has benefitted from $5,000 worth of funding from interests of Koch Industries. Florida Republicans Dennis Ross, Connie Mack and Tom Rooney have also each benefitted from Koch during the 2012 cycle.