MILWAUKEE — Americans for Prosperity is playing the blame game about the causes of the sputtering economy, while ignoring one of the largest negative forces hurting Wisconsin – record gas prices. In a release today, the tax-exempt organization that’s founded and financed by big oil and fueled by the gas profits of the nation’s largest privately-held company, is trying to divert attention from the $4-a-gallon gas prices some Wisconsinites say big oil gouges consumers for at the same time oil companies continue to reap billions quarterly in profits.
“If Big Oil’s mouthpiece wants to do something about families struggling to make ends meet, have your masters cut gas prices,” said OWN Executive Director Scot Ross. “Big Oil has gouged Wisconsin consumers by jacking prices up more than 100% since 2002.”
The average cost of a gallon of gas was $1.41 in 2001. Today, gas prices in Madison and Milwaukee were reported at over $4 a gallon.
Just how tied is Americans for Prosperity to Big Oil? Consider:
* Americans for Prosperity was created in 2003 by the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation and David and Charles Koch. The Foundation is financed by the fortunes of Koch Industries, which is the largest privately-held company in America. The oil and gas conglomerate has sales of $90 billion annually. * During this year’s budget impasse, Americans for Prosperity descended upon the Capitol to support Speaker Mike Huebsch (R-West Salem) and his holding up of the state budget in order to protect Big Oil from an innovative anti-gouging tax. That long stretch of inaction threatened communities with higher property taxes, reduced police and fire safety, and cuts to health care for women, children and seniors. * Koch Industries paid $30 million for violating the Clean Water Act in 2000, the “largest fine ever imposed on a company for violating the law.” * Koch Industries paid $35 million in a six-state settlement after it was responsible for spilling millions of gallons of oil into wetlands and waterways.
“Gas prices are crushing Wisconsin consumers and Big Oil is desperate to shift the blame from the record profits they’re taking in at our expense,” said Ross. “Do they think the people of Wisconsin are stupid?”