The politically powerful Koch network is looking to change its image. In the face of rising support for progressive policies, the well-funded network wants to rebrand from greedy capitalists to benevolent philanthropists.
Until the Kochs and their fellow donors stop supporting policies that increase income inequality and all forms of pollution however, any effort to create a new image will be nothing more than greenwashing.
For years, the Koch network has brought together some of the wealthiest right-wing donors to support a host of self-serving policies, such as tax cuts for the wealthy and rolling back environmental regulations.
The network is now being rebranded as a “philanthropic community,” the Washington Post reported Monday after previewing a letter from billionaire fossil fuel magnate Charles Koch to the group.
“The Seminar Network,” a web of groups funded by billionaire Charles Koch and hundreds of other conservatives and libertarians, is changing its impersonal-sounding name to the more benevolent “Stand Together Foundation.” (Yes, that sounds a lot like Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign slogan, “Stronger Together” — although in this case, the only people standing together are the donors who shell out $100,000 a year to be part of the network.)
It’s all lipstick on a self-serving plutocrat. In early 2018, the Seminar Network bragged about all it had achieved politically by backing right-wing policies and politicians. These victories include Trump’s tax cut, a massive redistribution of wealth toward the rich and powerful, as well as the rollback of crucial clean air and clean water protections, including the Paris Climate Agreement.
What’s ironic here is that just 10 months ago, the AP reported that the Kochs “have quietly launched a rebranding effort” aimed at replacing the term “Koch brothers” with “Koch network.”
All of this rebranding is reportedly occurring because Charles Koch says he is not as interested in national politics as his brother David, who stepped down from active involvement in the network for health reasons last year.
Stand Together has a redesigned website featuring the awkward slogan, “Greater Your Good,” which is reminiscent of First Lady Melania Trump’s slogan for her anti-cyber bullying campaign, “Be Best.” Just as her campaign has been widely mocked because her husband cyber-bullies people almost every day, the Koch rebranding is laughable considering their role as the biggest funders of climate science disinformation — as well as efforts to gut climate action and clean energy programs at both a national and state level.
So it’s even more absurd that the website’s front page promises in large letters, “If you’re working to solve a huge problem in our country, we want to help.”
They don’t want to help solve the most significant problem facing the country and the world. Quite the reverse, the repeated efforts by the Kochs and their network to smother climate science, kill clean air and climate regulations, and thwart the renewable energy revolution are making the problem much worse and speeding the nation and the world on a path to self-destruction.
A new name, website, and slogan can’t change that reality.