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Political activities of the Koch family

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Political activities of the Koch family

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The political activities of the Koch family are the political activities of the family of Wikipedia:Fred C. Koch, a co-founder of Wikipedia:Koch Industries, an oil, gas, and chemical conglomerate which is the U.S.A.'s second largest privately held company[1] with annual revenues of $110 billion. Many of the activities are carried out via the Wikipedia:Koch Family Foundations, the most prominent of which are the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation and the David H. Koch Charitable Foundation, created by two of Wikipedia:Fred C. Koch's sons, Wikipedia:Charles G. Koch and Wikipedia:David H. Koch. Notable activities include Charles Koch co-founding the Wikipedia:Cato Institute in 1977, and David Koch being the Libertarian (WP) vice-presidential candidate in 1980 and helping found the Wikipedia:Citizens for a Sound Economy in 1984, and its spin-off Wikipedia:Americans for Prosperity in 2004.[2] In total, the Koch brothers have given more than 196 million dollars to dozens of free-market and advocacy organizations[1][3], in addition to over $600 million to arts, science, and educational organizations.[4] Tax records indicate that in 2008 the three main Koch family foundations gave money to thirty-four political and policy organizations, three of which they founded, and several of which they direct.[1]


Charles and David's father, Wikipedia:Fred C. Koch, was an original member of the Wikipedia:John Birch Society.[1] He gave a speech in 1963 warning of “a takeover” of America in which Communists would “infiltrate the highest offices of government in the U.S. until the president is a Communist, unknown to the rest of us”.[3]

David H. Koch was a Libertarian vice-presidential candidate in 1980, polling 1%, on a platform that advocated the abolishment of Social Security, the FBI, the CIA, and public schools.[3] Since that political defeat, the Kochs have adopted a much less visible strategy toward advancing their libertarian and pro-corporate agenda. Jane Mayer says that they are so secretive that "they are not just undercover, but underground".[5] In 1986, David Koch helped found the Wikipedia:Citizens for a Sound Economy, and has given over $21 million to the Cato Institute (WP).[6] Prior to the 2010 election, in a rare public speech, David Koch praised the Tea Party for demonstrating the “powerful visceral hostility in the body politic against the massive increase in government power, the massive efforts to socialize this country.”[1]

Charles G. Koch[edit]

Wikipedia:Charles G. Koch funds and supports Wikipedia:libertarian and Wikipedia:free-market organizations such as the Wikipedia:Cato Institute,[2] which he co-founded with Wikipedia:Edward H. Crane and Wikipedia:Murray Rothbard in 1977,[7] and is a board member at the Wikipedia:Mercatus Center, a market-oriented research Wikipedia:think tank at Wikipedia:George Mason University. Koch supported his brother's candidacy for vice president on the Libertarian Party ticket in 1980.[8] After the bid, Koch told a reporter that conventional politics "tends to be a nasty, corrupting business ... I’m interested in advancing libertarian ideas".[8] In addition to funding think tanks, Charles and David also support libertarian academics[9] and (since 1992) Koch funds the Charles G. Koch Summer Fellow Program through the Wikipedia:Institute for Humane Studies which recruits and mentors young libertarians.[10] Koch is also chair of the Institute's board of directors.[11] Koch also organizes twice yearly meetings[12] of Republican donors.[2]

In the August 2010 New Yorker, Wikipedia:Jane Mayer writes that "As their fortunes grew, Charles and David Koch became the primary underwriters of hard-line libertarian politics in America."[8] The Koch brothers fund a multitude of groups opposed to Wikipedia:Obama administration policies, including Wikipedia:Americans for Prosperity, which has played a key role in organising the Wikipedia:Tea Party.[2][13]


Wikipedia:Americans for Prosperity is an advocacy group that was founded in 2004 by the Koch brothers,[1] and is funded and controlled by them;[14] [1] it is the political arm of the Americans for Prosperity Foundation, of which David Koch is chairman of the Board of Trustees[14][15]. Americans for Prosperity created Patients United Now, which advocated against health care reform.

Wikipedia:Citizens for a Sound Economy was co-founded by David Koch in the 1980s,[14] and, according to the Wikipedia:Center for Public Integrity, the Koch Brothers funded it with $7.9 million between 1986 and 1993.[1]. In 1990, they created the spinoff group, Citizens for the Environment.[1]

Charles and David Koch also have been involved and have provided funding to a number of other think tanks and advocacy organizations: They provided initial funding for the Wikipedia:Cato Institute,[14] they are key donors to the Wikipedia:Federalist Society,[14] and also support the Wikipedia:Mercatus Center, the Wikipedia:Institute for Humane Studies, the Wikipedia:Institute for Justice, the Wikipedia:Alexis de Tocqueville Institution, the Wikipedia:Institute for Energy Research, the Wikipedia:Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment, Wikipedia:Heritage Foundation, the Wikipedia:Manhattan Institute, the Wikipedia:George C. Marshall Institute, the Wikipedia:Reason Foundation and the Wikipedia:American Enterprise Institute.[16][17]

In 1977 Charles Koch co-founded the libertarian Cato Institute with Wikipedia:Ed Crane, a leader of the Libertarian Party in the 1970s. David Koch was the party's vice-presidential candidate in the 1980 presidential election, sharing the party ticket with presidential candidate Wikipedia:Ed Clark.[1][18] From 1977 to around 1994, the Cato Institute received around $21m in Koch funding,[19] including $500,000 at its foundation.[20] Charles Koch "provided the bulk of support for the Cato Institute through its first three years".[21] As of 2011 David Koch sits on the board of directors of the institute.[22]

David Koch also sits on the board of the Wikipedia:Reason Foundation and Wikipedia:Aspen Institute.[15]

Lobbying for Oil, Gas, and Chemical Industries[edit]

Koch Industries is known for its sponsorship of Wikipedia:free market foundations and causes.[23]

During the 2010 election cycle, Americans for Prosperity claims to have spent $40 million dollars.[14] Koch groups were the largest oil and gas industry donors to Congressmen and women on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which is responsible for legislation affecting the industry. Koch-backed groups donated $279,500 to 22 Republicans and $32,000 to five Democrats, including $20,000 to committee chairman Wikipedia:Fred Upton.[14] Of the six Republican members who were elected to Congress for the first time, Americans for Prosperity supported five of their campaigns.[14] Of twelve Republicans newly appointed to the Committee, nine signed a pledge distributed by Americans for Prosperity to oppose greenhouse gas regulation.[14]

From 2005 to 2008, Koch industries spent $5.7 million on political campaigns and $37 million on direct lobbying to support fossil fuel industries. Wikipedia:Greenpeace says that between 1997 and 2008 Koch Industries donated nearly $48m to groups which doubt or oppose the current consensus on climate change,[24] including nearly $10m to the Wikipedia:Mercatus Center, $3.3m to the Wikipedia:Heritage Foundation and over $5m to the Wikipedia:Cato Institute (all 1997-2008), as well as $5m to Wikipedia:Americans for Prosperity (2005-2008).[25] According to Wikipedia:Greenpeace, Koch Industries is the major source of funds of what Greenpeace calls "climate denial".[26] Koch Industries and its subsidiaries spent more than $20 million on lobbying in 2008 and $12.3 million in 2009, according to the Wikipedia:Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan research group.[27][28]

The Claude R. Lambe Foundation has donated to the Wikipedia:American Energy Alliance, an offshoot of the Wikipedia:Institute for Energy Research.[29]


The Koch Family Foundations began in 1953 with the establishment of the Fred C. and Mary R. Koch Foundation. In 1980 Wikipedia:Charles G. Koch established the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundationwith the stated purpose of advancing social progress and well-being through the development, application and dissemination of "the Science of Liberty," and in 1981 he inherited control of the Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation when he was left in charge of Claude Lambe's estate.[13]Wikipedia:David H. Koch established the David H. Koch Charitable Foundation. Charles' and David's foundations have together provided hundreds of millions of dollars to a variety of organizations, including arts organizations, educational organizations,[4] and Wikipedia:libertarian or Wikipedia:conservative think tanks.


One 1997 study by the Wikipedia:National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy[30] identified 12 American foundations that have had a key influence on US public policy since the 1960s, particularly via their support for the Wikipedia:Heritage Foundation, Wikipedia:American Enterprise Institute and Wikipedia:Cato Institute.[31] Three of these 12 are Wikipedia:Koch Family Foundations (Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation, David H. Koch Charitable Foundation).[31] [32] Charles Koch co-founded the Cato Institute, whilst David Koch sits on its board.[1]

Koch activities have been compared with other politically active philanthropists like Wikipedia:George Soros and Wikipedia:Peter Lewis and organizations like Wikipedia:Democracy Alliance.[33] The Coors family behind the Wikipedia:Coors Brewing Company has similarly contributed to conservative causes, including contributing to the 1973 establishment of the Wikipedia:Heritage Foundation.


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 Mayer, Jane (2010-08-30). "Covert Operations: The billionaire brothers who are waging a war against Obama.". Wikipedia:The New Yorker (Wikipedia:Condé Nast Publications). </li>
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Kate, ({{{year}}}). "Secretive Republican Donors Are Planning Ahead," Wikipedia:New York Times, {{{volume}}}, .
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 The billionaires bankrolling the Tea Party., Rich, Frank, New York Times, August 28, 2010.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Lewis, Matt. Koch Brothers Donate to Charity as well as 'Right Wing Causes.
  5. Mayer, Jane The Brothers Koch: Rich, Political And Playing To Win. Fresh Air.
  6. [1]
  7. 25 Years at Cato. URL accessed on 2009-07-10.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Jane Mayer. "Covert Operations: The billionaire brothers who are waging a war against Obama". Wikipedia:The New Yorker. Retrieved 2010-09-07. </li>
  9. Brian Doherty (2008). Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement, Wikipedia:PublicAffairs. "One longtime Koch lieutenant characterized the overall strategy of Koch's libertarian funding over the years with both a theatrical metaphor and an Austrian capital theory one: Politicians, ultimately, are just actors playing out a script. The idea is, one gets better and quicker results aiming not at the actors but at the scriptwriters, to help supply the themes and words for the scripts—to try to influence the areas where policy ideas percolate from: academia and think tanks. Ideas, then, are the capital goods that go into building policy as a finished product—and there are insufficient libertarian capital goods at the top of the structure of production to build the policies libertarians demand."
  10. Charles G. Koch Summer Fellow Program. Wikipedia:Institute for Humane Studies at George Mason University. URL accessed on 2010-09-10.
  12. Stephen Moore (May 6, 2006). "The Weekend Interview with Charles Koch: Private Enterprise". Wikipedia:The Wall Street Journal: p. A.8. </li>
  13. 13.0 13.1 Pam Martens, Wikipedia:CounterPunch, 19 October 2010, The Koch Empire and Americans for Prosperity
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 14.5 14.6 14.7 14.8 Hamburger, Tom; Kathleen Hennessey, Neela Banerjee (2011-02-06). "Koch brothers now at heart of GOP power". Wikipedia:Los Angeles Times (Wikipedia:Tribune Company).,0,4692342,full.story. Retrieved 2011-02-06. </li>
  15. 15.0 15.1 Koch Industries, Inc. - Leadership. Wikipedia:Koch Industries. URL accessed on 2011-02-06.
  16. The Tea Party movement: deluded and inspired by billionaires, George Monbiot, The Guardian, 25 Oct. 2010.
  17. Center For Responsive Politics,
  18. How Those Libertarians Pay the Bills Wikipedia:New York Magazine 3 November 1980. pg. 21-2.
  19. Leslie Wayne, Wikipedia:New York Times, 20 November 1994, Pulling the Wraps Off Koch Industries
  20. J DiPeso (2006), "Think tanks and the environment", Environmental Quality Management 16(2), pp107-112
  21. Andrew Rich (2004), Think tanks, public policy, and the politics of expertise, Wikipedia:Cambridge University Press, p56
  22. Wikipedia:Cato Institute, Board of Directors, accessed 1 Feb 2011
  23. Advancing Market-Based Public Policy. Koch Industries. URL accessed on 18 February 2010.
  24. Vidal, John (30 March 2010). "US oil company donated millions to climate sceptic groups, says Greenpeace". The Guardian (London). </li>
  25. Wikipedia:Greenpeace, Koch Industries: Secretly Funding the Climate Denial Machine
  26. Secretly Funding the Climate Denial Machine. Global Warming. Wikipedia:Greenpeace. URL accessed on 2010-04-01.
  27. Center For Responsive Politics,
  28. Center For Responsive Politics,
  29. Wikipedia:NPR, New Group Tied To Oil Industry Runs Ads Promoting Drilling, Attacking Democrat
  30. Sally Covington, Moving A Public Policy Agenda: The Strategic Philanthropy of Conservative Foundations, Washington, DC: Wikipedia:National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, 1997.
  31. 31.0 31.1 Behan, Richard W. (2004), "Degenerate Democracy: The Neoliberal and Corporate Capture of America's Agenda", Public Land & Resources Law Review, Vol. 24, pp. 9-24. p19
  32. The others are the Wikipedia:Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, Wikipedia:John M. Olin Foundation, Wikipedia:Carthage Foundation (controlled by Wikipedia:Richard Mellon Scaife), Wikipedia:Earhart Foundation, Wikipedia:Philip M. McKenna Foundation, Wikipedia:JM Foundation, Wikipedia:Henry Salvatori Foundation, Wikipedia:Sarah Scaife Foundation, Wikipedia:Smith Richardson Foundation. (Behan 2004:19)
  33. Vogel, Ken (January 27, 2011). "Koch conference under scrutiny". Politico. </li> </ol>