According to Business Insider, the Koch family should be credited with the rise of the Tea Party.
Over the years, the family has made many donations to libertarian and republican causes. In her book Dark Money, Jane Mayer claimed that the family fueled the rise of the radical right. For example, in 2018, Koch Industries donated $1,325,115 to Republican candidates for Congress.
How did the family gain influence and wealth?
The family derives its wealth from Koch Industries, considered the largest private company in Kansas. It started as a small engineering company in the heartland of the United States and grew into Kansas’ largest privately owned company.
The story behind the brand
Long ago, in 1927, Fred C. Koch developed a more efficient thermal cracking process to turn crude oil into gasoline. In 1940, he founded Koch Industries and became a very wealthy man.
Last year, Koch Industries’ sales exceeded $115 billion and it employed 122,000 people. The company operates in many sectors, including renewable fuels, polymers and fibers, minerals, fertilizers, animal husbandry, refining and chemicals, and consumer products.
In 1932 Fred Koch married Mary Clementine Robinson in Kansas City, Missouri. They had four sons: Frederick, Charles, David and William.
The children grew up in a modest environment. In an interview with Warren Cassel Jr, Charles Koch, the eldest son, said, “My dad wanted me to work like I was the poorest person in the world.”
At age 6, Charles worked on his father’s farm and developed a passion for math and logic. This passion led him to receive a Bachelor of Science in Engineering in 1957, a Master of Science in Nuclear Engineering in 1958, and a second Masters in Chemical Engineering in 1960.
After Fred Koch fell ill, he called and told Charles, “If you don’t come back to work for me, I’ll sell the company. Charles therefore joined the company in 1961 and, with the help of his brother David, they expanded the company into the second largest privately owned company in North America.
It’s Charles’ company now.
Charles worked under his father’s supervision until his death in 1967. After his father’s death, Charles and his three brothers inherited the business but struggled to agree on many things.
In 1983, Forbes reported that “Charles and David bought their other two brothers’ shares in Koch Industries, for almost $800 million”. After settling in with their brothers, Charles and David continued to grow the business.
What started as a small engineering company in the heartland of the United States has grown into one of the largest private companies in the world. This growth has fueled the company’s desire to support many causes.
Help others reach their potential
Charles has been an influential philanthropist for over 50 years. It focuses on education, poverty eradication and public policy research.
He has founded numerous nonprofits, including Stand Together and the Charles Koch Foundation, which partner with social entrepreneurs to break down barriers that prevent people from reaching their potential.
The family has enormous political influence.
Koch also has enormous political influence. According to Business Insider, “The Koch family has built an influential network of donors aligned with their libertarian ideals of the free market, lower taxes, and downsizing the federal government.”
The insider also credits the family with “financially helping the rise of the Tea Party movement, which wrested control of the House from midterm Republicans in 2010 at the end of President Barack Obama’s first term.”
If you had the Koch family money, what causes would you support?