How the Koch Brothers Are Bucking a Senate Probe Into Climate Change

Source: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Source: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

For lawmakers in Washington D.C., wrangling up the infamous Koch Brothers to participate in a U.S. Senate probe into climate research funding is proving more difficult than holding onto a live eel — that is, their refusal to cooperate is leading to major headaches.

The Senate investigation is looking into whether or not big businesses have been funding research that reaches outcomes meant to conjure up skepticism of climate change, and naturally, the Koch brothers came up on their list, as Al-Jazeera America reports. Because the Kochs own many businesses that are involved in the chemical and energy industries, the investigation requested that they actively cooperate.

But they are apparently not on board, as the Kochs’s general counsel and senior vice president Mark Holden informed Senators Barbara Boxer, Sheldon Whitehouse, and Edward Markey in a letter dated March 5. Holden explains that Koch Industries — which is a private company — would not be complying with the investigation’s requests, citing First Amendment protections.

“The activity and efforts about which you inquire, and Koch’s involvement, if any, in them, are at the core of the fundamental liberties protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution,” Holden wrote. “In reviewing your letter, I did not see any explanation or justification for an official Senate Committee inquiry into activities protected by the First Amendment.”

Finally, for good measure, Holden added that “under the circumstances, we decline to participate in this endeavor and object to your apparent efforts to infringe upon and potentially stifle fundamental First Amendment activities.”