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Koch-Funded Anti-Climate Group Tells Women to Ignore Concerns About Toxic Chemicals

December 28, 2017 in Blogs

By Stacy Malkan, AlterNet

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A chemical industry front group defends the freedom of corporations to pollute.

At a recent soiree at Union Station, the D.C. power elite gathered in an anti-public health confab dressed up as a celebration of women that should concern anyone who cares about the health and rights of women and children.

The Independent Women’s Forum drew an impressive array of Republican politicians to its annual gala sponsored by, among others, the American Chemistry Council, the tobacco company Philip Morris, the cosmetics industry trade group, Google and the right-wing American Legislative Exchange Council.

Speakers included House Speaker Paul Ryan and Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway, who won the IWF Valor Award for being a “passionate advocate for limited government” who does not embrace “the idea that being a woman is a handicap.” Conway is also an IWF board member.

So what is the Independent Women’s Forum? IWF got its start 25 years ago as an effort to defend now-Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas as he faced sexual harassment charges. The group has since raised millions from the secretive foundations of the Koch brothers and other right-wing billionaires to carry out its mission of “increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty.”

In the world of the IWF—a group Joan Walsh described in The Nation as “the ‘feminists’ doing the Koch’s dirty work”—that means defending the freedom of corporations to sell toxic products and pollute the environment, while trying to frame that agenda as good for women and children.

E-cigarettes should be approved because of the unique biological needs of women, for example, and climate science education is too scary for students. (The e-cig letter is “standard Philip Morris PR,” says tobacco industry expert …read more


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