Friday, August 22, 2008

Michigan: Birch Society Spin-Off Group's Past Raises some Questions

Livingston Daily (Mich.)
AUGUST 3, 2008

In the recent newspaper stories about the Brighton Township supervisor candidates, I noticed that Tom Murphy was a co-founder of Livingston County's local Americans for Prosperity. Never having heard of this group, I did a little searching around on the Internet, and what I found should concern everyone.

Americans for Prosperity was founded by David Koch, the owner of Koch Industries, the largest privately held company in the United States. Koch Industries includes oil and gas production, chemicals, pipelines, asphalt, commodities trading, lumber and paper. Koch Industries has been one of the largest polluters in the country.

During the 1990s, Koch Industries was responsible for more than 300 oil spills, leading to a landmark penalty from the Environmental Protection Agency of $35 million, and in 2000 was charged with illegally releasing 91 metric tons of benzene from its refinery in Texas. In the latter case, had Koch Industries been convicted, it would have faced fines of up to $352 million but got away with a slap on the wrist from the Bush administration, and you and I got stuck with the bill to clean up the company's mess. Not very patriotic of it.

Americans for Prosperity is largely funded by the Koch brothers. Americans for Prosperity's top items are convincing people that climate change is a hoax and deregulating government. Coincidence?

That is all bad enough, but here is one more shocker. Fred Koch, father of David and Charles, was a co-founder of the John Birch Society.

If Mr. Murphy is elected to lead our township, will these extremist views be on his agenda?

Sue Kelly

Brighton Township