As Koch Orchestrates Political Strategy Session, Student Demands Debate

  • Posted on: 21 October 2010
  • By: Connor Gibson

Student leader, Joel Francis, challenges Charles Koch to debate Prop 23 and CA's economic future

A challenge released today from Cal State LA senior Joel Francis directly confronts Charles Koch, CEO of Koch Industries, to a debate on Proposition 23 and the future of California's economy.

Francis calls it like it is, noting that Prop 23 is backed by dirty industry, namely Koch Industries subsidiary Flint Hills and Texas refiners Valero and Tesoro.

The student also told Mr. Koch that he could choose the terms of debate, and warned that he would not allow Charles to ignore his request:

"Please know that silence isn't an option.  I'm not going to let you hide behind your billions of dollars in Wichita, Kansas.  If I don't hear back from you by Tuesday, I will be at the front door of your office to issue this challenge again, in person.  As the CEO of one of the largest privately-owned companies in the country, I know you couldn't possibly be afraid of just one college student."

Joel Francis is calling Charles Koch out

This video comes out at a time where the Koch brothers are receiving increased scrutiny for their role in funding and orchestrating the climate denial movement and other efforts to block societal progress.  Most recently, the New York Times and ThinkProgress drew national attention to a memo sent by Charles Koch to major "titans of industry," inviting wealthy and politically influential elites to a January meeting in Palm Springs, California.  Supplemental material in the memo warns that "the proceedings of this meeting are confidential," asking guests not to leave materials laying around and noting that the media will not be allowed in (check out the full memo, signed by Charles Koch).

This meeting is the next step in a series of biannual strategy sessions that the billionaires have been running for years.  The meetings that the Koch's orchestrated in the past have included some notable public figures, including Fred Malek (Karl Rove's top attack-ad fundraiser and former Nixon campaigner), Americans for Prosperity president Tim Phillips, and Supreme Court justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, and Glenn Beck, who just days later thanked Charles Koch on his show for "information" that he used to attack climate change science.

As more and more of the Kochtopus is revealed to the public eye, it is going to be increasingly difficult for David Koch to continue to act as the benevolent billionaire and for Charles to hide behind the curtain, pulling strings of influence from his Wichita headquarters.  Maybe it's time for Charles to start opening up to the world - he can begin by accepting Joel Francis' debate challenge.

 

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