News, Analysis and Opinion for the Informed Boulder Resident
Saturday June 19th 2021

Support the Blue Line

Subscribe to the Blue Line

That's what she said

city council transportation energy municipalization xcel housing urban planning april fools bicycles climate action density election 2011 affordable housing boulder county open space election renewables agriculture CU local food climate change election 2013 development youth jefferson parkway pedestrian election 2015 preservation Rocky Flats election 2017 recreation BVSD mountain bikes immigration boards and commissions plan boulder farming fracking GMOs transit urban design decarbonization planning board fires colorado politics wildlife land use smart regs downtown architecture new era colorado transit village parking homeless journalism plutonium natural gas ghgs commuting radioactive waste rental coal height limits taxes april fools 2015 walkability historic preservation energy efficiency historic district Neighborhoods diversity zoning population growth growth students North Boulder flood arts gardens education University Hill water supply bus election 2010 solar election 2018 nutrition RTD sprawl water quality election 2012 groundwater bike lane electric utility safety library april fools 2016 renewable energy affairs of the heart organic flood plain wetlands planning reserve zero waste mayor blue line electric vehicle ballot right-sizing street design transportation master plan obama hazardous waste county commissioners politics hogan-pancost longmont colorado legislature climate smart loan diagonal plaza campaign finance flood mitigation bears Mapleton solar panels PV recycling comprehensive plan golden conservation easement epa boulder junction pesticide congestion food drought road diet oil bus rapid transit commercial development inequality election 2016 flooding planning daily camera public health community cycles BVCP ecocycle Newlands automobile PUC climate change deniers children david miller ken wilson sam weaver community league of women voters wind power public spaces boulder creek crime mlk civil rights west tsa marijuana technology arizona Orchard Grove EV green points al bartlett Whittier city attorney

How the Koch Brothers Are Trying to Influence Your Elected Officials


Heartland publications sent to council members (Regina Cowles)

Just about every week of every year the Boulder city staff produces a Weekly Information Packet (WIP) for each council member.  Often containing up to 1,000 pages of reading, the WIP includes the agenda for the upcoming council meeting or study session, supporting documents, additional information and staff recommendations.  Many non-profits in Boulder take advantage of the WIP to include printed invitations to fundraising and other community events. Often the WIP contains newsletters from Boulder membership groups like the Municipal League and the National League of Cities.  And, anyone who writes a personal letter to council members in care of the city offices will have it included in the bike-courier-delivered WIP.

Enter the Koch Brothers and their many front groups.  By now most are familiar with the secretive ways of the Koch Brothers but it has been just under a year since they were brought to the public’s attention in an article in the New Yorker by Jane Mayer entitled Covert Operations: The billionaire brothers who are waging a war against Obama.  The blockbuster article propelled the Koch brothers into the spotlight and documented how the brothers, David and Charles, have quietly bestowed staggering amounts of money (some say up to $100 million dollars) on libertarian and Tea Party causes.

With money inherited from their father Fred’s oil refinery business, the brothers own Brawny paper towels, Dixie cups, Georgia-Pacific lumber, Stainmaster carpet, and Lycra, among many other products.  The Koch brothers also invest in the Heartland Institute, “a Chicago-based, industry-funded conservative think-tank, [that] has had a long history of climate denial that continues today.”

Each week, the Boulder City Council receives a packet that includes slick newspapers published by The Heartland Institute, the tagline of which is: “Discovering, developing, and promoting free-market solutions to social and economic problems.” The newspapers include such titles as, 

  • Environment & Climate News
  • Health Care News
  • Budget & Tax News
  • School Reform News

These slick publications bash science, deny climate change, and promote extreme Tea Party budget and tax reform ideas in an attempt to persuade local officials.  A city councilmember I know has, on several occasions, tried to stop the receipt of these publications but they keep coming in each packet and into the recycle bin they go.

Just by a simple Google search I came across a blog by Larry Miller, a school board member in Milwaukee, describing his experience with these very same publications:

They are completely opposed to renewable energy sources publishing studies that say they “kill jobs.” They deny global warming even claiming that “rising CO2 benefits plant life.” One of their tactical goals is to eliminate the EPA and base environmental controls at the state level. This would allow Governors to decimate environmental protections. An example is Wisconsin’s Governor Scott Walker proposal to cut state funding for recycling.

Are your elected officials receiving these publications?  Ask them and post your findings in the comments at the end of this article.

Best interests of the people be damned!  With the access to power that their unlimited money brings, the Koch brothers are willing to ignore open, robust debate, a tenet of democracy, in order to make back-room deals.  So as news emerges of the Koch Brothers schmoozing with Republican, Libertarian and Tea Party notables in Colorado this coming weekend remember that their influence is not limited to the upscale Beaver Creek resort but, in fact, attempts to pollute local policy.  Citizens from across Colorado will be assembling in Avon, Colorado on Sunday from 11 AM to 1 PM to protest.   Check Facebook for more details.

To show just how far the Koch Brothers are willing to go to deny climate science, you may also want to check this out, also from Greenpeace,  Factsheet: Koch Industries: Secretly Funding the Climate Denial Machine

To view Heartland’s website and publications go to:



Rate this article: 1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (3 votes, average: 3.67 out of 5)

What do you think? Leave a comment!

You must be logged in to post a comment.