Recently, an opinion piece by the doughty and redoubtable John McClaughry made the rounds. It appeared in some newspaper op-ed pages, and in the Commentary column of VTDigger.
And it involved a significant, undisclosed, conflict of interest.
McClaughry’s missive was a big sloppy wet kiss on the feet of Charles Koch, one of the infamous Koch brothers. McClaughry regurgitated a few nuggets of wisdom from Koch’s recent book, Good Profit. The book is a self-serving explication of why the Koch brothers are fine, principled businessmen with a strong focus on customer service and an aversion to big gummint.
Except when they can profit from it, of course. Curiously, one Kochbit highlighted by McClaughry concerns Koch Industries’ production of ethanol, which is almost entirely a creation of government subsidy. McClaughry writes with evident approval:
… out of principle, Koch opposes the present government mandate to blend ethanol into gasoline as a political scheme that produces “bad profit.”
Which has not prevented Koch Industries from continuing to enrich itself with this alleged “bad profit.” But somehow McClaughry overlooks the evident hypocrisy and praises Koch for a principle he never acts upon.
But I digress. The point isn’t that McClaughry has blessed the world with a few hundred words of free-market rhetoric, but that his own conflict of interest was not disclosed by VTDigger.