White House-Koch feud intensifies

White House-Koch feud intensifies
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The White House on Wednesday escalated its feud with the Koch brothers over President Obama’s climate policies, saying Washington gridlock has been a boon for the billionaire conservative donors’ oil and gas companies.

Press secretary Josh Earnest doubled down on the president’s criticism of the David and Charles Koch, saying they have spent millions of dollars “punishing” political candidates who don’t side when them on energy policy. 

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During a speech on Tuesday in Las Vegas, Obama called out the Koch brothers by name for conducting a “massive lobbying” effort “pushing new laws to roll back renewable energy standards or prevent new clean energy businesses from succeeding.” 

“That’s not the American way,” Obama added. 

Charles Koch responded in an interview with Politico on Tuesday, calling those comments “beneath the president, the dignity of the president.”

“I’m not sure whether to describe those comments as remarkably rich, or utterly predictable,” Earnest told reporters on Wednesday. “The fact is, the president of the United States noted that the oil and gas industry benefits significantly from tax subsidies and other policy preferences that make that industry even more lucrative than it otherwise would be.”

The spokesman said the president’s energy policies threaten the status quo, so it's not surprising to hear criticism from “the special interests, including millionaires and billionaires" who "start to squeal.”

Earnest disputed Koch’s claim that his company opposes fossil fuel subsidies in addition to clean energy subsidies, and that he hopes green power companies succeed. 

“Koch Industries has spent at least tens of thousands of dollars, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars, lobbying Congress … in support of those kinds of policies, to say nothing of the millions of dollars that they have spent punishing those candidates that didn't side with them,” he said.