Koch Industries giving to N.C. candidates

The oil and gas industry giant is backing candidates and causes that back fracking in North Carolina.

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Mark Binker
RALEIGH, N.C. — The Institute for Southern Studies is calling attention to donations made by the political action committee associated with Koch Industries. The energy company has fueled giving by the two brothers who run the company to Republican causes throughout the country. 

The $20,000 it reported giving to political candidates and causes in the primary, $16,000 to political candidates in the General Election and another $25,000 it gave to the N.C. Chamber on Oct. 16 adds up to $61,000 spent on political races in North Carolina this year. That spending was detailed in reports to the State Board of Elections.

While that's chump change as far as Koch Industries is concerned, the money isn't insignificant in North Carolina's political context. As the institute writes, "The move comes as the state recently legalized fracking for natural gas, and amid growing political support for offshore drilling. Koch Industries is heavily involved in the fracking industry as well as in the refining and distribution of petroleum."

It also represents an increase in the company's giving in state. For example, in the 2008 campaign cycle, the data from the State Board of Elections website shows the PAC only gave $4,000.

The N.C. Chamber has supported fracking, as have political leaders like House Speaker Thom Tillis, Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger and Pat McCrory, the Republican candidate for governor. 

It's worth noting that the General Assembly put North Carolina on the path to fracking, over Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue's veto, this summer and that the board writing the rules for natural gas drilling is meeting today.


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