The Koch brothers — Charles and David Koch — are the co-owners of Koch Industries, the largest privately-owned energy company in the United States, and the second-largest privately-held company in the country.
Charles and David Koch have made billions off of oil and gas — in 2016, Forbes has each brother ranked as the 9th richest person in the world.
Through their various foundations and institutes, the Koch brothers have spent more even than ExxonMobil funding organizations and projects that question mainstream science behind man-made climate change. According to Greenpeace, since 1997, the Koch brothers have paid over $88 million to 80 groups that deny climate change or work to derail the policy solutions called for by climate science.
Now, according to a Huffington Post investigation by Peter Stone, Charles and David Koch are “plotting a multimillion dollar assault on electric vehicles” and in support of fossil fuels. This campaign arrived in August as Fueling U.S. Forward.
The Koch brothers have a long history of advocating for a market free of government intervention and for defending consumption of fossil fuels, particularly oil and gas.
And, according to Stone, the campaign will “fit the playbook that advocacy outfits backed by the Koch network have deployed in recent years to fight solar and wind power, battles that are fueled by ideology mixed with bottom line concerns.”
The $10 million-per-year effort will aim to “boost petroleum-based transportation fuels and attack government subsidies for electric vehicles.” This is already clear through the website, FuelingUSForward.com, and in a talk by the campaign’s President and CEO Charles Drevna at the Red State Gathering in Denver, Colorado.
The Koch Brothers’ Philanthropy of Self-Interest
According to the primary Koch Family Foundations website, “Koch family foundations and philanthropy are grounded in the belief that free societies are the greatest generators of social progress, sustainable prosperity and well-being.”
Other lesser-known Koch foundations include the Koch Cultural Trust (formerly the Kansas Cultural Trust), The Fred and Mary Koch Foundation, and the Charles Koch Institute.
Charles Koch leads the foundation that shares his name, while Charles and his family also sit on the board of the Claude R. Lambe Foundation, which is led by Richard Fink. Charles also leads the Knowledge and Progress Fund, of which Fink is President.
DeSmog‘s 2012 special report, “Fake science, fakexperts, funny finances, free of tax” (PDF), compiled by computer scientist John R. Mashey provides insight into Koch’s funding of the climate change skeptic network at the time. In addition to his own foundation, David H. Koch also serves on the boards of the Cato Instute, the Reason Foundation, and the Americans for Prosperity Foundation.
The Center for Media and Democracy’s SourceWatch reports how the Koch Foundations also have ties to DonorsTrust, a “donor-advised fund” which obscures the identity of individual donors. Mother Jones called DonorsTrust “the dark-money ATM of the conservative movement.” According to SourceWatch, the Koch brothers are “are key funders of the right-wing infrastructure, including the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the State Policy Network (SPN).”
A report by the Center for Public Integrity lists a number of DonorsTrust funders that also have ties to the Koch brothers including the Knowledge and Progress Fund, one of the group’s largest known contributors, which donated nearly $9 million from 2005 to 2012. Other contributors known to have donated at least $1 million to DonorsTrust include the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation, Donald & Paula Smith Family Foundation, Searle Freedom Trust, Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, and the John M. Olin Foundation.
For more on the Koch brothers and their long history of polluting the public discourse on climate science and clean energy, check out the Koch Family Foundations DeSmog profile.