The Koch Bros ‘Multi-million Dollar assault on Electric Vehicles’ begins on Fortune Magazine today

Screenshot 2016-03-07 12.37.00

Fortune is running a Koch Industry advertisement-as-commentary piece today ‘authored’ by Jim Mahoney, the employee signaled out in a Huffington Post article last month as leading a $10M campaign against EVs.

The piece doesn’t directly reference Tesla by name, but it does feature pictures of the Model S both in Fortune’s article and subsequent social media push by the publication (see above).

We advised that these hit pieces were coming but didn’t know they’d be coming so soon.

It looks like electric vehicles are still in the “fighting phase” as we learn today that billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch are planning to back a new group of lobbyists with a focus on “boosting petroleum-based transportation fuels and attacking government subsidies for electric vehicles”, according to refining industry sources talking to the Huffington Post….

According to the Huffington Post, the Kochs are teaming up with James Mahoney, a member of their company’s board, and lobbyist Charlie Drevna, who until recently was the head of the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers. Their mission will be to “make the public aware of all the benefits of petroleum-based transportation fuels”.

Mahoney is a petroleum industry veteran who uses a few tired gems like:

The truth is, however, that Koch Industries does not oppose electric vehicles, nor is it trying to prevent new energy businesses or technologies from succeeding.


Koch opposes all market-distorting policies, including subsidies and mandates—even if they may benefit the company.

The serious bottom line here is that Fortune is getting Koch money to further their climate changing agenda.  Nowhere in the post, does the author address the real carbon concern of fossil fuels and the inherent risks to humanity that the Koch Brothers are advocating for. Especially misleading is the refrain that the Federal tax subsidy is only for the wealthy.

Look out for more Koch-vertising in a for sale periodical near you.

We’ve reached out to Fortune, asking how much the ‘advertisement as article cost’ and if it would be running in the paper version of the publication.

Update: No word but we’ve been pointed to the Fortune article where they play dumb, below:

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FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

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  1. md - 7 years ago

    Never understood the mindset of these minions… how can they put a price on shilling against our own species and their extended family? Do they not know every ton of chemicals put in the air increases the chance of genetic diseases in their next generation and the chance of cancer for generations to come? How is that possible?

    • MorinMoss - 7 years ago

      I’m willing to bet the Koch fortune they know the science & consequences better than most and for much longer.
      But greed conquers all and I guess they believe they have nothing to fear – they’re too rich to suffer and too old to be around for the worst outcomes and whatever descendants they have will also have enough money & influence to do as they please.

  2. Michael Will - 7 years ago

    Great hookup to start the oil subsidy discussion

  3. Electric Feel - 7 years ago


  4. Nick - 7 years ago

    “And this is why I don’t bother spending money on advertising” what I imagine Elon saying. Heck they were even nice enough to use a pic of the Model S!

  5. zachoblog - 7 years ago

    I am defiantly for electric cars and Tesla’s success! But it is defiantly also true that the wealthiest 20% are the ones getting the majority of tax breaks right now. If you make >79,500 you are in the wealthiest 20%. Not many people that make less than that are buying new electric vehicles. I prepare taxes for a living and although I only prepare roughly 1000 returns each year…I’ve yet to see someone claim tax credits for the purchase of a new electric vehicle that makes less than 79,500. I hope this changes with the Model III…but for now, at least in my world, I find that to be true.

  6. Brandon Martin - 7 years ago

    Really? I own a Nissan Leaf and am nowhere near the top 20%.

  7. Nathanael - 7 years ago

    The really hilarious thing is that if the Koch Brothers manage to get the federal electric car tax credit revoked sometime in 2017or 2018, it ends up benefiting Tesla at the expense of all the other car companies — since the credit is going to expire for Tesla before it expires for anyone else.

  8. You can all lament about how the Koch’s view is “short-sighted” and that “we need to save the earth from more carbon-dioxide”, but you have to understand that it is all about the jobs in the petroleum industry they are trying to save.

    After all it has been proven time and again that living without a job is impossible. But NO ONE has experimentally proven that living without a planet is!

    *sprinkled with your favorite flavor of humor: sarcasm*

  9. - 7 years ago

    A bit too late I’d say… They can do whatever they want, but can not stop the electric car revolution.

  10. Aaron - 7 years ago

    “Why are taxpayers forced to subsidize oil to the tune of $5 trillion every year, filling the pockets of the wealthiest 1% of our country?”

    • Derek Kerton - 7 years ago

      I’m pretty sure those Saudi princes are also 1%ers.

      Hey, what do you suppose they do with their extra spending money? Does any of that end up harming/costing us?

  11. Ed Hart - 7 years ago

    Let’s be very positive about this. Tesla will almost surely launch a counter argument to show how the oil industry gets enormous support from the US Government, in many many forms. As an example, someone has pointed out that about 1/3 of the mammoth US military budget should be thought of as assuring the availability of foreign oil, both to the US and other nations. Think of what we spend in the Middle East, for example.

    Let’s have the discussion about incentives, because without them, it will be difficult to kickstart alternative energy programs of all types. As to incentives going to the wealthy, it is the wealthy who are putting their money where their collective mouth is, trying to make a difference. Their added reward, in the case of Tesla, is to have a distinctive automobile.

  12. fromNY2LA (@onestopnyc) - 7 years ago

    Oh as opposed to oil subsidies right?

    As of July 2014, Oil Change International estimates the total value of U.S. subsidies to the fossil fuel industry at $37.5 billion annually, including international finance. This does not include military, health, climate, or local pollution costs. These subsidies have increased dramatically as U.S. oil and gas production has increased.

    • lesta09 - 7 years ago

      To add, all EV subsidies proposed over the next 5 years only amount to 6% of US oil subsidies in Nov. 2015 alone.

  13. iacovosflorides - 7 years ago

    The car manufacturers refused to make decent electric vehicles for a long time, lobbied by the oil industry. What changed is the news that even bigger companies such as Google and Apple are ready to introduce their own electric vehicles. This scared the car industries enough to start releasing electric models one after the other – they know their days are numbered if technology companies get the head start in the electric vehicle war.
    It’s over for oil industry no matter how much they lobby and advertise.

  14. Nøderak! - 7 years ago

    ICE-holes! scum off the arse!

  15. Oemsie - 7 years ago

    These guys are absolutely disgusting. Literally building their fortune on the destruction of their own species.

  16. Bob - 7 years ago

    Just following in their dad’s footsteps who built his wealth building power plants for Hitler and Stalin. (sounds like a joke, but not kidding)

  17. Ed Hart - 7 years ago

    When there is a public airing of who-gets-what-subsidies, I am sure Musk will make sure that the world knows the full cost of oil subsidies. On top of the many easily identified subsidies, historians will insist on adding in the cost of the Iraq wars and all other Mid-East initiatives designed to “keep the oil flowing” to the rest of the world. Some estimate that well over half of the defense budget can be argued as safeguarding oil.


Avatar for Seth Weintraub Seth Weintraub

Publisher and Editorial Director of the 9to5/Electrek sites. Tesla Model 3, X and Chevy Bolt owner…5 ebikes and counting