Koch family

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Not to be confused with Koch dynasty.

The Koch family (/ˈkk/ KOKE) of industrialists and businesspeople is most notable for its control of Koch Industries, the second largest privately owned company in the United States (with 2013 revenues of $115 billion).[1] The family business was started by Fred C. Koch, who developed a new cracking method for the refinement of heavy oil into gasoline.[2][3] Fred's four sons litigated against each other over their interests in the business during the 1980s and 1990s.[4]

Charles G. Koch and David H. Koch — the two brothers still with Koch Industries — are affiliated with the Koch family foundations.[5]

Family members[edit]

  • Fred C. Koch (1900–1967), American chemical engineer and entrepreneur who founded the oil refinery firm that later became Koch Industries and was one of the founding members of the John Birch Society[6][7][8][9]
  • Mary Robinson Koch (October 17, 1907 – December 21, 1990),[10] wife of Fred C. and eponym of the company's namesake tanker vessel Mary R. Koch
  • Four sons of Fred C. and Mary Robinson Koch:[10]

Non-profit organizations[edit]

The Koch family foundations are a related group of non-profit organizations that began with the establishment of the Fred and Mary Koch Foundation in 1953, and now includes the Charles Koch Foundation, the David H. Koch Charitable Foundation and the Koch Cultural Trust. The organizations collectively have a stated goal of "advancing liberty and freedom" through the support of various causes which "further social progress and sustainable prosperity."[11] In addition to the direct action of the non-profits, the groups have also contributed financially to other philanthropic organizations in the fields of research, public well-being, arts, and education, including contributions to scholarship programs, university support, and loan assistance through organizations like the United Negro College Fund.[12]

Political activities[edit]

Members of the Koch family have given to conservative and libertarian policy and advocacy groups in the United States,[13] including think tanks like the Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute, and more recently Americans for Prosperity.[14]

Americans for Prosperity, founded by David Koch, is one of the main nonprofit groups assisting the Tea Party movement, according to Kenneth Vogel of Politico. In 2010 Melissa Cohlmia, a Koch spokeswoman, distanced the Kochs from the tea parties and FreedomWorks saying that "no funding has been provided by Koch companies, the Koch foundations, Charles Koch or David Koch specifically to support the tea parties."[15]

According to the Koch Family Foundations and Philanthropy website, "the foundations and the individual giving of Koch family members" have financially supported organizations "fostering entrepreneurship, education, human services, at-risk youth, arts and culture, and medical research."[16]

The Koch brothers have played an active role in opposing climate change legislation. According to the environmentalist group Greenpeace, organizations that the Koch brothers help fund such as Americans for Prosperity, the Heritage Foundation, the Cato institute, and the Manhattan Institute have been active in questioning global warming.[17] Through Americans for Prosperity, the Koch brothers influenced more than 400 members of Congress to sign a pledge to vote against climate change legislation that does not include equivalent tax cuts.[18][19][20][21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Forbes America's Largest Private Companies". Forbes.com. Retrieved 2014-05-23. 
  2. ^ Koch, Charles C. (2007). The Science of Success: How Market-Based Management Built the World's Largest Private Company. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. p. 6. ISBN 978-0-470-13988-2. 
  3. ^ "Koch Industries, Inc.". Company Profile Report. Hoover's, Inc. 2010. Retrieved 2010-05-10. [W]hen he tried to market his invention, the major oil companies sued him for patent infringement. Koch eventually won the lawsuits (after 15 years in court), but the controversy made it tough to attract many US customers. 
  4. ^ "Epic struggle among Koch brothers ends". Houston Chronicle. May 26, 2001. p. 2. 
  5. ^ Schulman, Daniel (2014-05-20). "Koch vs. Koch: The Brutal Battle That Tore Apart America's Most Powerful Family". Mother Jones. Retrieved 2014-06-21. 
  6. ^ Davis, Jonathan T. (1997). Forbes Richest People: The Forbes Annual Profile of the World's Wealthiest Men and Women. Wiley. p. 138. ISBN 978-0-471-17751-7. Founding member (1958) John Birch Society — reportedly after seeing Russian friends liquidated 
  7. ^ Hoover's 500: Profiles of America's Largest Business Enterprises. Hoover's Business Press. 1996. p. 286. ISBN 978-1-57311-009-9. In 1929 Koch took his process to the Soviet Union, but he grew disenchanted with Stalinism and returned home to become a founding member of the anticommunist John Birch Society. 
  8. ^ Wayne, Leslie (7 December 1986). "Brothers at Odds.". The New York Times (NY). p. Sec. 6; Part 2, p 100 col. 1. ISSN 0362-4331. He returned a fervent anti-Communist who would later become a founding member of the John Birch Society. 
  9. ^ Diamond, Sara (1995). Roads to Dominion: Right-Wing Movements and Political Power in the United States. NY: Guilford Press. p. 324 n. 86. ISBN 0-89862-862-8. 
  10. ^ a b "Fred and Mary Koch Foundation". Fmkfoundation.org. Retrieved 2014-05-23. 
  11. ^ Koch Family Foundations. "Koch Family Foundations and Philanthropy". Retrieved 1 June 2013. 
  12. ^ "Koch brothers donate $25 million to United Negro College Fund". 2014-06-06. Retrieved 2014-09-08. 
  13. ^ Zernike, Kate (October 19, 2010). "Secretive Republican Donors Are Planning Ahead". New York Times. 
  14. ^ Charles Koch, in interview with Stephen Moore of the Wall Street Journal. May 6, 2006.
  15. ^ Vogel, Kenneth P. (August 9, 2010), "Tea party's growing money problem", Politico, retrieved 2011-06-14 
  16. ^ "Koch Family Foundations and Philanthropy - Foundations". Kochfamilyfoundations.org. Retrieved 2014-05-23. 
  17. ^ Vidal, John."US oil company donated millions to climate sceptic groups, says Greenpeace", The Guardian, March 30, 2010.
  18. ^ Rayfield, Jullian (July 1, 2013). "Koch brothers helped derail climate change with lawmaker pledge". Salon. Retrieved December 14, 2013. A new two-year study by the Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University demonstrates how the Koch brothers have helped to derail climate change legislation. 
  19. ^ Mayer, Jane (July 1, 2013). "Koch Pledge Tied to Congressional Climate Inaction". The New Yorker. Retrieved September 21, 2013. 
  20. ^ Langrock, Paul (September 12, 2013). "Global Warming's Denier Elite". Rolling Stone. Retrieved September 21, 2013. 
  21. ^ "Don't Use Climate Change to Hide Tax Hikes!". Americans for Prosperity. Retrieved September 21, 2013.