The Koch family (// KOKE) is an American family engaged in business and philanthropy, most noted for their political activities and control of Koch Industries, the second-largest privately owned company in the United States (with 2013 revenues of $115 billion). The family business was started by Fred C. Koch, who developed a new cracking method for the refinement of heavy crude oil into gasoline. Fred's four sons litigated against each other over their interests in the business during the 1980s and 1990s.
Charles G. Koch and David H. Koch, today commonly referred to as the Koch brothers — and the only two of Fred Koch's four sons still with Koch Industries — are affiliated with the Koch family foundations. They have also founded and funded a number of conservative and libertarian political organizations.
- Fred C. Koch (September 23, 1900 –November 17, 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
- Mary Robinson Koch (October 17, 1907 – December 21, 1990), 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:
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." 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.
Charles and David Koch have been active in American politics since at least 1980, when David Koch was the Libertarian Party's vice-presidential nominee. Their political contributions began to attract widespread attention from media outlets in 2008, when, through their family foundations, the brothers contributed to 34 political and policy organizations, three of which they founded, and several of which they directed. They have since organized a network of libertarian and conservative donors, candidates, think tanks, and other groups. They, and their political allies, have been described as a rival to the "establishment" wing within the Republican Party, and have expressed frustration with establishment candidates running in the 2016 Presidential election. As an example of their influence, Jane Mayer noted House Speaker John Boehner's appeal to David Koch in 2011 when Boehner needed votes to prevent a government shutdown.
The Koch brothers have indicated that they intend to raise almost $880 million in support of candidates in the 2016 elections, and have given more than $100 million to conservative and libertarian policy and advocacy groups in the United States, including the Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute, and more recently Americans for Prosperity.
"Americans for Prosperity", founded by David Koch, has been reported by Kenneth Vogel of Politico to be one of the main nonprofit groups assisting the Tea Party movement; but in 2010, Koch spokeswoman Melissa Cohlmia 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." 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."
Former Republican congressman Joe Scarborough, co-host of MSNBC's Morning Joe, has pointed out that, although their critics are usually unaware of the fact, the Koch brothers have supported more than just what are generally considered conservative causes. They opposed George W. Bush on many issues, are pro-choice, support same sex marriage, and had worked closely with the Obama White House for the Obama administration's criminal justice reform initiatives that aligned with their own.
According to the environmentalist group Greenpeace, the Koch brothers have played an active role in opposing climate change legislation. 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. Americans for Prosperity and the Koch brothers influenced more than 400 members of Congress to sign a pledge to vote against climate change legislation that does not include offsetting tax cuts.
Criminal justice reform
While the Koch family has been making substantial donations to criminal justice reform organizations for nearly a decade, most recently the Kochs headed a bipartisan resolution to make more serious leaps to reform. Included in these are aims at eliminating overcriminalization and overincarceration, which generally harms low-income and minority communities, as well as reducing recidivism rates, diminishing barriers faced by the rehabilitated seeking employment, and law enforcement's asset forfeiture to deprive the incarcerated of property.
- Charles Koch Arena
- David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research
- David H. Koch Theater
- The Science of Success, a book by Charles Koch in which he attributes the success of the family business to Market-Based Management
- "Forbes America's Largest Private Companies". Forbes.com. Retrieved 2014-05-23.
- 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.
- "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.
- "Epic struggle among Koch brothers ends". Houston Chronicle. May 26, 2001. p. 2.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- "Fred and Mary Koch Foundation". Fmkfoundation.org. Retrieved 2014-05-23.
- Koch Family Foundations. "Koch Family Foundations and Philanthropy". Retrieved 1 June 2013.
- "Koch brothers donate $25 million to United Negro College Fund". 2014-06-06. Retrieved 2014-09-08.
- Mayer, Jane (2010-08-30). "Covert Operations: The billionaire brothers who are waging a war against Obama". The New Yorker (Condé Nast Publications).
- Vogel, Kenneth (Dec 30, 2015). "How the Koch network rivals the GOP". Politico.
- Mider, Zachary (Feb 1, 2016). "Koch Network Frustrated by Trump". Bloomberg.
- CONFESSORE, NICHOLAS (Jan 11, 2016). "Father of Koch Brothers Helped Build Nazi Oil Refinery, Book Says". New York Times.
- Mayer, Jane (2010-08-30). "Covert Operations: The billionaire brothers who are waging a war against Obama.". The New Yorker (Condé Nast Publications).
- Zernike, Kate (October 19, 2010). "Secretive Republican Donors Are Planning Ahead". New York Times.
- Charles Koch, in interview with Stephen Moore of the Wall Street Journal. May 6, 2006.
- Vogel, Kenneth P. (August 9, 2010), "Tea party's growing money problem", Politico, retrieved 2011-06-14
- "Koch Family Foundations and Philanthropy - Foundations". Kochfamilyfoundations.org. Retrieved 2014-05-23.
- "Charles Koch sits down with Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski to discuss opposing George W. Bush, what motivates him politically, the 2016 GOP field and money in politics", Morning Joe, October 4, 2015. Retrieved 2015-11-05
- Nelson, Colleen Mccain; Fields, Gary (Jul 16, 2015). "Obama, Koch Brothers in Unlikely Alliance to Overhaul Criminal Justice". Wall Street Journal.
- Vidal, John."US oil company donated millions to climate sceptic groups, says Greenpeace", The Guardian, March 30, 2010.
- 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.
- Mayer, Jane (July 1, 2013). "Koch Pledge Tied to Congressional Climate Inaction". The New Yorker. Retrieved September 21, 2013.
- Langrock, Paul (September 12, 2013). "Global Warming's Denier Elite". Rolling Stone. Retrieved September 21, 2013.
- "Don't Use Climate Change to Hide Tax Hikes!". Americans for Prosperity. Retrieved September 21, 2013.
- Ball, Molly (Mar 3, 2015). "Do the Koch Brothers Really Care About Criminal-Justice Reform?". The Atlantic.
- Mak, Tim (Jan 13, 2015). "Koch Bros to Bankroll Prison Reform". The Daily Beast.
- "Koch brothers join Obama in advocating US prison reform". Russian Today. Jul 17, 2015.
- Horwitz, Sari (Aug 15, 2015). "Unlikely Allies". Washington Post.
- Gass Henry (Oct 20, 2015). "Congress's big, bipartisan success that might be just beginning". Christian Science Monitor.
- Hudetz, Mary (Oct 15, 2015). "Forfeiture reform aligns likes of billionaire Charles Koch, ACLU". The Topeka Capital Journal.