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We Respond to Roll Call

Ms. Kate Ackley
Lobbying Reporter and Editor
Roll Call

Dear Ms. Ackley:

I am having a hard time understanding why Koch Industries was singled out in your piece and headline in reference to an event with which we had no participation whatsoever [Romney Fundraiser Hosts Include Koch Lobbyist; July 26].

I should point out first that the headline and lede could lead the reader to the impression that Patton Boggs currently conducts lobbying services for Koch — which is not the case. Regardless, the inference that we therefore have tacit involvement in any activity of either their firm or Siff & Associates (the other firm cited), is simply false.

As one of Washington’s most preeminent lobbying firms, Patton Boggs has many hundreds of clients and contributes to candidates too innumerable to recite. As you noted only in a later update to your story, Siff & Associates also represents a varied clientele, including a union and a non-partisan professional association. But by the rationale in your piece, couldn’t any of those clients — or all of them, for that matter — be cited as having some oblique part in Governor Romney’s fundraiser?

There is a gratuitous quality to stories that draw these stretched connections to Koch Industries. When reporters further link those imagined ties — as several did last week, falsely reporting that we had contributed to the Bachmann for President campaign — the confusion feeds on itself. Partisan commentators try to spread that confusion intentionally. Readers deserve a higher standard from a respected political publication like Roll Call, one based on facts not supposition.


Philip Ellender

President and COO
Koch Companies Public Sector, LLC

CC: Susan Benkelman, Executive Editor