CBS News’ Kate Gibson reports: while American companies and institutional investors are divesting themselves from Russian holdings as fast as they can–even former Colorado Gov. Bill Owens resigned from the board of a Russian bank after a round of bad press–one big American corporation with an oversized political footprint is making a big deal of not doing so:
As hundreds of major U.S. companies exit Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, Koch Industries is staying put.
The industrial conglomerate — the second-largest privately owned business in America, with $115 billion in annual revenue — is among those defying public pressure and continuing to operate manufacturing plants and sell products across Russia, while up until Wednesday remaining mum on that nation’s relentless assault on Ukrainian cities…
Political groups supported by Charles Koch, the right-wing billionaire who is chairman and CEO of Koch Industries, oppose broad economic sanctions against Russia, according to Popular Information, a left-leaning newsletter run by Judd Legum.
The story proceeds to document the position of a number of Koch-orbit conservative political groups who, not surprisingly, oppose sanctions on Russia! Here in Colorado, the Koch political machine is primarily represented on the ground by the state’s Americans for Prosperity affiliate. And while we haven’t seen AFP Colorado weigh in on the Russian invasion of Ukraine yet, they have taken a position in the red-hot Republican CD-8 primary, endorsing state Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer.
On the one hand, there’s a substantial amount of what we can only call pro-Russia propagandizing going on the conservative side, led by Fox News’ Tucker Carlson but also including Donald Trump’s initial comments on the invasion praising Russian President Vladimir Putin as a “genius.” Although neither side in American politics wants to provoke a war directly between the United States and Russia, overt sympathy for the aggressor in this war is only coming from one side of the aisle.
Nonetheless, ordinary Americans on both sides appear to be very much unified on sanctions against Russia and the seriousness of the threat posed by the invasion according to new polling out today. Despite all of Tucker Carlson’s monologues, Americans haven’t been pushed off their moral foundations enough to not see the invasion of Ukraine for what it is.
So while our local AFP shop works on their response to the Koch empire’s decision to keep selling their wares in Russia, Kirkmeyer should probably come up with a response to AFP’s support for her campaign.
Who knows? Maybe Kirkmeyer is a closet Putin fan too.