By Brad Friedman on 9/23/2011, 12:40pm PT  

Lee Fang at Think Progress offers devastating coverage in response to Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)'s recent claim to The Street's Mallory Factor (video here) that those who pollute streams with benzene should be thrown in jail.

"I don’t want to pollute the water. I don’t want to pollute streams," said Paul, "If you dump benzene in the stream, I want you to go to jail."

Really, Senator? Are you calling for the billionaire Koch brothers --- likely two of your biggest and wealthiest fans --- to be thrown in jail then?

As Fang details, Koch Industries was indicted by the DoJ in 2000 for knowingly dumping "at least 91 metric tons of uncontrolled benzene in its liquid waste streams" at its Corpus Christi refinery, and for conspiring to cover it up in an attempt to deceive regulators.

After George W. Bush took office in 2001, however, "his Attorney General John Ashcroft dropped 88 counts against Koch for the benzene spill and cover-up" in exchange for a guilty plea to falsifying documents and a $20 million fine (a settlement from $350 million in potential fines.)

The Kochs made out pretty well in exchange for their $32,200 contribution to the 2000 Bush campaign. The job killing Koch brothers are making out even better under Barack Obama. But more on that later. [UPDATE: Those thoughts now here.]

Suffice to say, neither the Kochs, nor anybody who works for them, went to jail for "dump[ing] benzene in the stream," as Paul is calling for, even as he calls for doing away with even more environmental regulations in his remarks to The Street.

As we've been highlighting of late, the Republicans have been on a tear against clean air and water regulation by the EPA recently, and have shown themselves willing to partner with their various front groups in the media, at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and with folks like the Koch brothers to simply make stuff up about such regulations "killing jobs", in their 2012 "mother of all wars" to retake the White House.