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UPDATE: Koch Responds to Obama Campaign

Dear Mr. Messina:

Although I haven’t yet received it, the Washington Post reports that you have sent me a reply to our letter of last Friday.  According to the letter that was reprinted, it appears you have reverted to the same half-truths, distortions, and outright false statements that the Administration and its allies have used for the past three years against Koch Industries, Charles Koch, and David Koch.  We have repeatedly refuted these prior assertions and will continue to do so to ensure the truth is told.  I invite you to review for more details.

Your letter never addresses the fundamental issue I raised concerning the impropriety of a sitting President and his campaign publicly attacking two private citizens for exercising their free speech rights. While we encourage and welcome a principled and civil debate about the important issues our great nation faces, it is inappropriate and beneath the office of the President to denounce an American company like ours that employs 50,000 people here in the United States, malign its owners with repeated misstatements and distortions, and harass our effort to speak out just because you disagree with our consistent support for the principles of a free society.

Your demand, for instance, that Koch disclose the names of Americans for Prosperity donors is misguided given that AFP is a separate and independent organization. Your demand is also hypocritical, particularly given the President’s own reliance on anonymous donors now and in the past.  Koch complies with all laws regarding disclosure of political contributions.  However, given the hostile rhetoric that you, the Democratic party, and your allies have aimed at us and others who disagree with your point of view, it is easy to understand why people have valid reasons to retain their privacy.  To cite just one example, Koch and its owners have been the target of many threats of violence over the past two years by some who disagree with our view on public policy issues.  In light of that, I think most Americans would agree it is at odds with our national values for the President and his aides to single out and personally impugn private citizens for political gain.

As has been stated previously, for more than 50 years Charles Koch and David Koch have consistently advocated for principles of economic freedom and have strongly opposed policies that undermine free markets, regardless of whether a Democrat or Republican was President — and will continue doing so. Despite this most recent effort at intimidation, we will not be silenced or compromise our principled positions on issues, nor relinquish our rights to privacy and free speech.

Philip Ellender
President, Government & Public Affairs
Koch Companies Public Sector, LLC