Last week, on October 12, we spoke with journalists David Evans and Asjylyn Loder about their article “The Secret Sins of Koch Industries.” It appears in the November issue of Bloomberg Markets Magazine.
You can listen to the original interview here:
Original interview with Bloomberg reporters.mp3
The owners of Koch Industries, billionaires Charles and David Koch, are well-known for their conservative and libertarian political causes. The Bloomberg investigation detailed how foreign subsidiaries of Koch Industries sold millions of dollars in petrochemical equipment to Iran by using loopholes in a U.S. trade ban. The article also detailed Koch Industries’ use of improper payments to win business in Africa, India and the Middle East.
The article received much national and international attention. After our interview aired last Wednesday, officials at Koch Industries contacted us to challenge assertions made by Bloomberg’s Evans and Loder.
Philip Ellender is COO and President for Government and Public Affairs at Koch Companies. The following is his official statement to WBEZ:
Bloomberg Markets magazine published an article about Koch Industries this month that was dishonest. Sources in the story said things that weren’t true or contradicted prior statements. The piece was factually inaccurate and Bloomberg omitted almost all the material that we at Koch provided them.
As other media outlets began to examine Bloomberg’s story, it was quickly discredited. It has now been debunked by many, including the Washington Post, the Atlantic, National Review, Washington Examiner and Weekly Standard.
Even the reporters’ own colleagues at Bloomberg BusinessWeek felt compelled to set the record straight – whether sales of refinery equipment to Iran by one of Koch’s foreign subsidiaries were legal. At the time of the sales referred to in the article, Koch had protocols in place that were consistent with U.S. law. In fact, many years ago Koch adopted a policy prohibiting sales into Iran through its foreign subsidiaries, which is stricter than existing U.S. law. That policy remains in effect. In their interview with WBEZ, the reporters who wrote the article backed away from their claims that Koch’s sales were “illicit” and “flouted” the law. They also admitted they had no evidence Koch had violated the law.
Koch addressed every issue Bloomberg presented to us. Bloomberg ignored the evidence, but the truth is found at KochFacts.com.
If falsehoods weren’t enough, the Bloomberg reporters also portrayed Koch as “secretive.” Koch is a private company, like Bloomberg. Would the reporters portray the owner of their private media empire as “secretive”?
When host Jerome McDonnell asked the reporters why they thought the piece deserved attention, they were finally candid. It was Koch’s political views, reporter Asyjlyn Loder explained, “which has made reporting on them kind of popular, I guess.” So the truth comes out and the reporters admit this is about personal politics.
As Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post said, ““Plainly, some members of the media and the Koch brothers’ political opponents are gunning for them [with] reporting … so selective and obviously driven with a conclusion already in mind.”
Read Koch’s rebuttal and independent critiques of Bloomberg’s deceptive journalism at KochFacts.com.
We asked Bloomberg for comment, and they said they stand by their reporting. For further analysis, Bloomberg BusinessWeek recently published a piece asserting that although Koch Industries did not break the law in its dealings with Iran, the company relied on a loophole in the Iran Sanctions Act to conduct business in the country.