Did Bill Koch supply the extra $60,000 to destroy the entire offshore wind power industry
By Walter Brooks
Is Oyster Harbors' Coal and Oil Billionaire Bill Koch hiding a $60,000 lobbying expenditure to get Don Youngâ??s Amendment in the Coast Guard Bill?
It certainly appears that way, looking at some newly released Lobbying Disclosure forms which link the head of the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound to this stealth move.
Itâ??s a convoluted tale to tell, apparently purposefully so.
Kochâ??s coal and oil products company, Oxbow Corporation, uses the lobbying firm of U.S. Strategies to serve its interests up on Capitol Hill.
Last year, not surprisingly, U.S. Strategies filed reports about receiving lobbying money from Oxbow to lobby on such things as coal extraction and oil drilling.
U.S. Strategies actually specializes in lobbying for healthcare companies, Oxbow appears to be their only energy client.
Koch to Kessler to kill the wind
Hereâ??s where it gets interesting.
Earlier this year, a flurry of Lobbying Disclosure forms were filed that listed U.S. Strategies as the lobbying client of another lobbying company, Kessler & Associates Business Services. Click the top document on the right to read the start of this effort to hide the $60,000 which would cast a large shadow over the "Sound keeper's" reputation to protect Nantucket Sound.
It is page 2 (click to enlarge) which specifically points to the funds going to support the Young amendment in â??HR 889 Coast Guard Billâ? and â??S 1280 Coast Guard Billâ?. You may access the six page lobbying form tying Koch's lobbying firms to a $60,000 expenditure to stop the Cape Wind project by clicking on these six pages: page 1 page 2 page 3 page 4 page 5 page 6.
According to these forms, U.S. Strategies paid Kessler $60,000 to lobby on â??Wind Project Authorityâ? issues including â??Maritime Issues, â??Energy Issuesâ?, â??Tax Treatment Issuesâ?, and, yes you might have guessed it, â??HR 889 Coast Guard Billâ? and â??S 1280 Coast Guard Billâ?.
Follow the money
One of the Kessler Lobbyists listed is Bill Lee Evans, a former Member of Congress who served with Don Young.
OK, but U.S. Strategies is a lobbying and consulting firm, what makes them the client? Who gave them the $60,000?
Apparently the million bucks the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound has spent on Washington lobbying since 2002 (see top document) wasnâ??t enough, another $60,000 had to get kicked in by someone who was intent on covering up their tracks.
It even makes you wonder whether Koch is a stalking-horse for the non-profit he heads. Maybe the $60,000 needed would have put the group over the 10% allowed for lobbying which could have cost them their non-profit status. It's called "illegal bundling" and another Cape mogul, Reebok's ex-CEO Paul Fireman, got snagged by this a few years ago.
The Smoking Gun in Koch's hand
Last October, Bill Koch became Co-Chair of the Allianceâ??s Board of Directors. As famously reported at that time, Koch said when he first heard about Cape Wind, â??I was telling one of my guys when this first came up, â??I wish Iâ??d thought of this!â?? But as a businessman, I said I wouldnâ??t have put in my backyard â?? I would have put it in someone elseâ??s backyard!â?
Koch, shown on the left in his Osterville living room among his multi-million dollar art collection, also made the infamous comparison of wind turbines to strippers, â??Itâ??s so seductive, but if you go over there you can get in a lot of trouble, and get a lot of diseasesâ?.
On the right above are the documents unearthed to show the chain of evidence. Each one may be clicked on to enlarge enough to read the fine print.
The Alliance has some environmental trappings, but its founder, Doug Yearley, is chairperson emeritus of mining giant Phelps Dodge Corporation and a board member of Marathon Oil (a winner of the Toxic Action Centerâ??s â??Dirty Dozen Awardâ?). To be fair, heâ??s also a member of the World Wildlife Fundâ??s National Council.
The Alliance raised $1.8 million in 2003 through donations from such high-profile Cape residents as Paul Fireman of Reebok, but it spent even more, $2.4 million, on what the Boston Herald called â??a small army of hired lawyers, lobbyists and publicists.â? Too bad there aren't any Woodward and Bernsteins working for the local media to stop this abuse of power.
Maybe the worst result of all this self-serving MIMBY-ism will be the coming recession caused by the enormous increases in energy costs, see this story.
Here are the individual pages (as jpeg files)of the six page lobbying form tying Koch's lobbying firms to a $60,000 expenditure to stop the Cape Wind project: page 1 page 2 page 3 page 4 page 5 page 6.