Date of Birth: 1 November 1935
Place of Residence: Wichita, Kansas
Net Worth: USD $ 50.5
Source of Wealth: Oil Refinery and House Hold Products
Social Media: Facebook
Personal Website: https://charleskoch.com/
Political Position: Libertarian
Short Biography: Charles Koch was born into a family of entrepreneurs. His father created an oil refinery business, that he and his brother, David, took over after his father’s health declined. The two brothers created an oil refinery empire, which lead to their massive amount of wealth. The brothers created Koch Industries, a company that branched out into other sectors; most successful was household products. Other than being one of the richets men on the planet, Charles Koch has also had enourmous power and influence over US politics. He has donated money to libertarian think tanks and created his own, funded libertarian candidates, lobbied for libertarian values and has had been sucessful several times in his lifetime for avancing the libertarian agenda.
In Their Own Words:
Repeatedly asking for government help undermines the foundations of society by destroying initiative and responsibility. It is also a fatal blow to efficiency and corrupts the political process.
Electioneering: Charles Koch is the head of the Koch Industries Super PAC which has been influencing elections and fundinging candidates for decades. The Super PAC has spent a total of USD$ 24, 513, 900 since 1990 on influencing presidential and congressional campaigns. Although Koch in the past had tried to solely focus on funding libertarian candidates (and even himself was once on the presidential election ballot as the Vice President choich for the libertarian pick), he now largely funds Republicans for their political views are closer to libertarianism than that of the democrats.
Lobbying & Advocacy: Koch has made his libertarian views well known in Washington. He funds several PACs and think-tanks such as Americans for Prosperity and The CATO Institute. Koch came in full force during the Obama years, as Obama was trying to put a cap on emissions. Koch was able to help in blocking this legislation so that it would never reach the Senate. On the otherhand, Obama praised Koch for his support in bipartism prison reform. In his lobbying efforts in Congress, Koch Industries in 2018 alone donated USD$ 1,325,115 to candidates and members of the House of Representatives and Senate.
Opinion Shaping: Charles Koch has power on opinion shaping through his research centers. He has given money to Kansas State University and George Mason University for scholarships to students in political research. On top of his university scholarship programs, he created the CATO Institute, which is a think-tank in Washington, D.C. The think-tank has been rated in the top 15 most influential think-tanks in the world and in the top 10 domestically within the United States. The institute takes the side of libertarian causes, of which include: privatizing schools, postal services, NASA, and also in support of abolishing the minimum wage and child labor laws.
Philanthropy: Koch has largely focused his philanthropy on scholarships and research grants that advance the libertarian agenda. His wife, Elizabeth, created the Koch Cultural Trust which is awarded to artists of Kansas. So far they have given 1.7 $USD to this program.
Controversy: The Koch Industries has been at the center of several controversies over the years. The first centered around a family feud over ownership of the company. Charles and his brother, David, owned and controlled the majority of shares for the company and their brothers filed many law suits for wrongful termination and share devaluation. Other controveries that have hit the Koch Industries include stealing oil from federal and tribal property, over 300 oil spills, and defective oil pipelines that exploded and killed two adolecents.
For more information on the Koch Empire, read our article explaining the vast and powerful machine the Charles and David Koch created.
Harvard sociologists Theda Skocpol and Alexander Hertel-Fernandez discuss Five Myths about the Koch brothers.
Listen to an interview with Theda Skocpol explaining the Koch brothers’ political organization.
Vox article on the death of David Koch
Business Insider article with timeline leading up to the Koch Industries Empire and the controversies along the way.