For several decades, Charles G. and David H. Koch — owners of the Wichita-based oil, gas and coal conglomerate, Koch Industries — surreptitiously financed political and policy organizations favoring “free enterprise” and opposing government regulation. At the same time, the billionaire brothers developed an unsavory reputation with at least one philanthropy watchdog.
In 2004, the National Committee on Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP) published a comprehensive study on the funding strategies of 79 conservative foundations to support 350 public policy think tanks at the national, state and local level. Three of those foundations were ones controlled by the Kochs — the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, the David H. Koch Charitable Foundation and the Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation.
The NCRP’s take on the Kochs’ funding agenda? It concluded that their family foundations support think tanks that “do research and advocacy on issues that impact the profit margin of Koch Industries.” “In touting limited government and free markets,” the NCRP found, “these organizations doubt the dangers of various chemicals, environmental pollutants and global warming, as well as challenge research efforts documenting these hazards.”
“… It makes sense that the Kochs would fund such anti-environment organizations,” the study authors added, “given their seedy past of environmental violations and lawsuits.”