Get a load of this.
Last night an unsolicited email from a spokesperson for corporate behemoth Koch Industries landed in our in box. Noting our coverage of the tea party movement, the spokesperson said Koch wanted “to reiterate some important facts” in advance of what it presumed would be additional coverage keyed to Tax Day. The email then proceeded to claim that Koch has no involvement with tea partiers and has provided them no funding.
That struck us as odd for a couple of different reasons. First, we hadn’t mentioned Koch in any of our recent reporting. Second, Koch is a big funder of Americans for Prosperity, an astroturf group that’s holding tea party rallies in nine states today alone.
So we contacted Koch to see if this statement was in reference to a particular story we had done. Apparently not. “We’ve had a number of people who have indicated Koch is funding and orchestrating tea parties,” the spokesperson told us. The purpose of the email was that Koch is “just trying to be proactive with the facts,” she said. I assume they sent the email to other news outlets, too.
Um, so what about Americans For Prosperity, which was founded by David Koch, an executive vice president at the company?
The spokesperson confirmed to us this morning that Koch does indeed fund the group, but in a moment of reality-denial startling even for a flack, stood by the company’s email statement in which it, to reiterate, denies providing funding “specifically to support the tea parties.” As one of our reporters noted to me, that “specifically” is doing a lot of work in that sentence.
We’re putting a call in to Americans For Prosperity to see what more we can learn there. More when we have it.
Late Update: Americans For Prosperity declined to comment and directed us back to Koch Industries.
You can read our entire report here.
David Kurtz is Managing Editor and Washington Bureau Chief of Talking Points Memo where he oversees the news operations of TPM and its sister sites.