Koch Industries schools Senate Dems on First Amendment rights

boxerKoch Industries has given its answer to three liberal Democrats requesting 10 years worth of detailed information by April 3 about its support for scientific research. In a March 5 letter, Koch’s general council told the senators they will provide nothing.

According to the National Journal, the three senators, Ed Markey, Barbara Boxer, and Sheldon Whitehouse, sent the letter to roughly 100 companies, lobbying groups, and conservative organizations in their attempts to find ties between fossil-fuel companies and research that casts doubt on man-made global warming.

This came on the heels of news that a climate researcher, astrophysicist Wei-Hock (Willie) Soon, received money from fossil fuel companies as did his affiliate sponsor, the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

Breitbart News, after speaking with Soon, wrote, “Of course [Soon] receives private funding for his research: he has to because it’s his only way of making ends meet, especially since the Alarmist establishment launched its vendetta against him when, from 2009 onwards, he became more outspoken in his critiques of global warming theory.”

A number of other scientists are also under investigation, some of whom, like Roger Pielke, “have only challenged minor tenets of global warming orthodoxy, such as that it causes more hurricanes.” In fact, some of the scientists being investigated by Senate Democrats believe global warming is man-made and are on record as stating the need for a carbon tax. What these scientists don’t concur with is the alarmism being generated from this issue and the outright fabrications from those in key policy-making decisions.

Willie Soon “sincerely believes that the global warming of the 1900s was caused by a rise in solar output,” according to Dr. Jeffrey Foss, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the University of Victoria.

The paper that sparked outrage among environmental groups (Greenpeace supplied the FOIA emails to the NY Times after shopping them around to news’ outlets since 2009) was a study — Why Models Run Hot — he co-wrote with three other authors, which they did on their own time and have publicly stated they received no pay-for-play money from any company, group, individual, or non-profit.

“As most scientists know,” Foss wrote, “global warming has become a magic password when it comes to funding. Can’t get funding for your scientific study of the arcane chemistry that makes leaves turn red and yellow in autumn? No problem: just title your study “How Leaf Color-Change Is Affected by Greenhouse Warming” and you’re writing cheques. To double your money, tap environmentalist organizations.

“Such publicly funded science gave us global warming theory, and global warming theory has in turn opened the vaults of public science funding, in a self-reinforcing feedback loop.”

In part, the letter from the Senators said, “The activity and efforts about which you inquire, and Koch’s involvement, if any, in them, are at the core of the fundamental liberties protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.” One of the letters is here.

According to the National Journal, Mark V. Holden, the Kochs’ general counsel, “criticized the senators’ ‘apparent efforts to infringe upon and potentially stifle fundamental First Amendment activities.'”

“To the extent that your letter touches on matters that implicate the First Amendment, I am sure you recognize Koch’s right to participate in the debate of important public policy issues and its right of free association,” Holden writes to the senators.

The National Journal writes, “A spokesman for Markey defended the inquiry from the three senators, who are all members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, into whether various companies and groups have backed scientific research.

“They are seeking specific information about recipients of grants, contracts, and other payments; the amount of funding; publications or other written materials that stemmed from the research; and more.

“We know when the government funds climate science. Scientists have to acknowledge it. The agencies have to report on it. We’re asking companies to tell us what climate science they are funding,” said Markey spokesman Eben Burnham-Snyder to the National Journal.

But Paul Driessen, senior policy analyst for CFACT, writes in a recent article that, “it is clearly not only fossil fuel companies that have major financial or other interests in climate and air quality standards. …

“Renewable energy companies want to perpetuate the mandates, subsidies and climate disruption claims that keep them solvent. Insurance companies want to justify higher rates, to cover costs from allegedly rising seas and more frequent or intense storms. Government agencies seek bigger budgets, more personnel, more power and control, more money for grants to researchers and activist groups that promote their agendas and regulations, and limited oversight, transparency and accountability for their actions. Researchers and organizations funded by these entities naturally want the financing to continue.

“You would therefore expect that these members of Congress would send similar letters to researchers and institutions on the other side of this contentious climate controversy. But they did not, even though climate alarmism is embroiled in serious financial, scientific, ethical and conflict of interest disputes.”

But Holden writes in the letter he sent to the Senators that the Democrats have not provided “any explanation or justification for an official Senate Committee inquiry into activities protected by the First Amendment.”

Koch Industries, a privately held company, has subsidiaries involved in petroleum byproducts, fertilizers, paper goods, and other miscellaneous industries.