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Via The Hill:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Tuesday accused the Koch brothers of unlawful business practices in an effort to portray the conservative billionaires as election-year bogeymen.

Reid charged that Charles and David Koch, who are tied for fourth place on the Forbes list of 400 richest people in the United States, violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, citing a 2011 report by Bloomberg Markets magazine.

“These are the same brothers whose company, according to a Bloomberg investigation, paid bribes and kickbacks to win contracts in Africa, India and the Middle East,” Reid said on the Senate floor. “These are the same brothers who, according to the same report, used foreign subsidiaries to sell millions of dollars of equipment to Iran, a state sponsor of terrorism.”

Representatives of the Kochs’s business empire fired back quickly in what has become an escalating battle between the top Democrat in Congress and the press-shy business titans.

A lawyer for Koch Industries said the allegations in the Bloomberg article have been subsequently debunked and did not result in any legal penalty.

“Nothing has ever come of any of the allegations that Mr. Reid referred to,” said Mark Holden, general counsel of Koch Industries.

Patrick Pexton, the ombudsman for The Washington Post in 2011, at the time questioned the paper for republishing the Bloomberg report.

“I think the story lacked context, was tendentious and was unfair in not reporting some of the exculpatory and contextual information Koch provided to Bloomberg,” Pexton wrote in October 2011.

It was the third attack Reid leveled at the Koch brothers on the Senate floor in the past week, and Democratic strategists say the intent is to make the Kochs the new faces of the GOP.