In his recent speech to the US Congress, Ukraine President Zelensky asked something of our Federal legislature – look into US businesses still operating in Russian territory:
All American companies must leave Russia from their market immediately because it is flooded with our blood. Ladies and gentlemen, members of Congress. If you have companies in your district who financed the Russian military machine, you should put pressure. I am asking to make sure the Russians do not receive a single penny they used to destroy people in Ukraine, the destruction of our country, the destruction of Europe.
Let’s give him, and them, a head’s up – they can look into how our old friends the Kochs are not only doing business in Russia to this day, but how they are steadfast in that business while leveraging paid political syncopates in attempts to limit Russian sanctions.
The Devil for this, is in the details. Specific notes from that reporting (links to sourcing available in the above-linked articles) after the break:
#1: Stand Together
Founded by Charles Koch to fund other groups. Dan Caldwell from the org started with arguing for American neutrality when Russia “merely” threatened Ukraine, and now claims that these current sanctions make Russia stronger.
There is a useful debate on these topics. Yet not when you’re shifting around, rooting for a reason to go easy on Russian aggression.
#2: American Institute for Economic Research
Has both funding and employees tied to Stand Together and the Charles Koch Institute. Ruger argued against American involvement in defending Ukraine on the Reason Magazine podcast in 3/2/2022, saying that “Ukraine simply doesn’t matter to America’s security or our prosperity.”
Then an 3/8/2022 article from a Cato Institute member, Doug Bandow, had the Caucacity to call the kinds of sanctions we’re imposing “grotesquely immoral.”
#3: Defense Priorities
Funded by the predecessor to Stand Together in the past. To sum up their opinions, per the reporting, they hate them some “useless” sanctions. One wag, Daniel DePetris, said in a 2/24/2022 article that sanctions are “merely an exercise in virtue signaling.”
“Virtue signaling” is the kind of dogwhisle Atwater would have loved, and underlines the truth of where he’s coming from.
#4: Koch Industries
After the above stink started to leak into mainstream media, Koch finally released a statement. In it, they simply…well, I’ll let the reporter’s opinions stand for itself:
Koch Industries is attempting to argue that continuing to operate in Russia is in the best interest of Ukraine and the Russian people. The company suggests that shuttering its massive glass manufacturing plants would benefit the Russian government. The implication is that the hundreds of companies that have left Russia are, in fact, empowering the Putin regime.
And there you have it, everyone. Koch has chosen where they will stand, in this moment drenched in innocent blood.
Wrapping the stink up
Now, again, there’s an argument to be made, by people who know more than I, about the utility of sanctions. Yet you can’t make it while hiding your funding sources — people who want those sanctions gone. (Although we know this is SOP for these folx).
So we should thank and support journalists like Popular Information for bringing these networks to light. It’ll make our Government’s work in rooting out the people and companies President Zelensky asked our lawmakers to look into, that much easier. I’m sure the same GOPers who were so eager to defame a brilliant legal mind this week, will get right on that.
As for the rest of us: if these groups are, as evidence shows, closely tied to any political movements and politicians? Well, we as citizens know some good questions to ask them, as well. To do our part to help our government, help Ukraine.