David H. Koch

David H. Koch
Born May 3, 1940 (1940-05-03) (age 71)
Wichita, Kansas[1]
Residence Manhattan, New York
Citizenship United States
Education Chemical engineer
Alma mater Massachusetts Institute of Technology (SB, SM)
Occupation Executive vice president Koch Industries
Known for Philanthropy to cultural and medical institutions;
Political advocacy in support of libertarian and conservative causes[2][3]
Net worth increaseUS$22.5 billion (2011)[4]
Political party Libertarian (before 1984), Republican
Opponent(s) Ran on Libertarian ticket for Vice President in 1980 election against CarterMondale, and ReaganBush
Board member of Aspen Institute, Cato Institute, Reason Foundation
Spouse Julia M. Flesher Koch[5][6]
Children three
Parents Fred C. Koch, father
Relatives siblings Frederick R. Koch, Charles G. Koch and William I. Koch
Awards Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters - Cambridge College;
Corporate Citizens Award - Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars[1]

David Hamilton Koch (play /ˈkk/; born May 3, 1940) is an American businessman, philanthropist, political activist, and chemical engineer. He is a co-owner (with older brother Charles) and an executive vice president of Koch Industries, a conglomerate that is the second-largest privately held company in the U.S.[7] Koch is the second-richest resident of New York City as of 2010.[3][4]

He is a major patron of the arts and a funder of conservative and libertarian political causes, including some organizations that fund some organizations within the American Tea Party movement.[3][8] Among other charities, he has contributed to Lincoln Center, Sloan Kettering, a fertility clinic at New York-Presbyterian Hospital and the American Museum of Natural History's David H. Koch Dinosaur Wing.[9] The New York State Theater at Lincoln Center, home of the New York City Opera and New York City Ballet was renamed the David H. Koch Theater in 2008 following a gift of 100 million dollars for the renovation of the theater. Condé Nast Portfolio described him as "one of the most generous but low-key philanthropists in America."[10]


Early life and education

Koch was born in Wichita, Kansas, to Mary (née Robinson) and Fred C. Koch, a chemical engineer. He is one of four siblings. He attended the Deerfield Academy prep school in Massachusetts, graduating in 1959. He went on to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), earning both a bachelor's (1962) and a master's degree (1963) in chemical engineering. He is a member of the Beta Theta Pi Fraternity.

Koch played basketball at MIT, averaging 21 points per game at MIT over three years, a school record. He also held the single-game scoring record of 41 points from 1962 until 2009 when it was eclipsed by Jimmy Bartolotta.

In 1970, David joined Koch Industries. Nine years later, he would become the president of Koch Engineering.[11]

Political career

Koch was the Libertarian Party's vice-presidential candidate in the 1980 presidential election, sharing the party ticket with presidential candidate Ed Clark. The Clark–Koch ticket promising to abolish Social Security, the Federal Reserve Board, welfare, minimum-wage laws, corporate taxes, all price supports and subsidies for agriculture and business, and U.S. Federal agencies including the SEC, EPA, ICC, FTC, OSHA, FBI, CIA, and DOE.[2][12] The ticket proposed legalization of prostitution, recreational drugs, and suicide.[2] The ticket received 921,128 votes, 1.06% of the total nationwide vote,[13] the Libertarian Party national ticket's best showing to date.[14] The Koch brothers were proud of what they had accomplished. “Compared to what [the Libertarians had] gotten before,” Charles said, “and where we were as a movement or as a political/ideological point of view, that was pretty remarkable, to get 1 percent of the vote.”[15]

After the bid, according to journalist Brian Doherty's Radicals for Capitalism, Koch viewed politicians as "actors playing out a script."[16][2]

Koch credits the campaign of Roger MacBride as his inspiration for getting involved in politics, telling a reporter from New York magazine:

Here was a great guy, advocating all the things I believed in. He wanted less government and taxes, and was talking about repealing all these victimless crime laws that accumulated on the books. I have friends who smoke pot. I know many homosexuals. It's ridiculous to treat them as criminals—and here was someone running for president, saying just that.[12]

According to Koch, he gave his own Vice Presidential campaign $100,000 a month after being chosen as Ed Clark's running mate. "We'd like to abolish the Federal Elections Commission and all the limits on campaign spending anyway," Koch told New York magazine's Rinker Buck in 1980. When asked why he ran, Koch replied: "Lord knows I didn't need a job, but I believe in what the Libertarians are saying. I suppose if they hadn't come along, I could have been a big Republican from Wichita. But hell—everybody from Kansas is a Republican."[12]

He broke with the Libertarian Party in 1984 when it supported eliminating all taxes[3] and Koch has since been a Republican.[3]

Current political views

David Koch supports policies that promote individual liberty and free market principles. He supports gay marriage and stem-cell research.[3] He is against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and was against the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.[3] Koch is skeptical about anthropogenic Global Warming, and thinks a warmer planet would be good because "[t]he Earth will be able to support enormously more people because a far greater land area will be available to produce food".[3]

He opposed the Iraq war, saying that the war has "cost a lot of money, and it's taken so many American lives". "I question whether that was the right thing to do. In hindsight that looks like it was not a good policy." he told an interviewer.[15]

David Koch dislikes President Obama's policies. "He's the most radical president we've ever had as a nation... and has done more damage to the free enterprise system and long-term prosperity than any president we've ever had."[15] Koch believes that Obama's father's economic socialism explains what Koch views as Obama's belief in "antibusiness, anti-free enterprise influences."[15] Koch believes Obama himself is a "hardcore socialist" who is "marvelous at pretending to be something other than that." [17]

Political advocacy

In 1984, Koch founded, served as Chairman of the board of directors of, and donated to the free-market Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE). Richard H. Fink served as its first president.[15] In 2004, CSE separated into the Americans for Prosperity Foundation and FreedomWorks. Koch continues as Chairman of the Board and gives money to the Americans for Prosperity Foundation and to a related advocacy organization, Americans for Prosperity. A Koch spokesperson issued a press release stating that the Kochs' have "no ties to and have never given money to FreedomWorks".[18]

Koch also sits on the board and donates to the libertarian Cato Institute and Reason Foundation.[2][3][19]

In the late summer and early fall of 2010, Koch's contributions to political campaigns, free-market think tanks and other advocacy organizations came under increased scrutiny. Koch supports Republican candidates and California Proposition 23 (2010). In July 2010, New York magazine profiled him, calling him the "tea party’s wallet".[3] Koch says that: "I’ve never been to a tea party event. No one representing the tea party has ever even approached me."[3] However, some organisations tracking money in politics say that Americans for Prosperity is in the Tea Party movement.[20]

In August 2010, Jane Mayer of The New Yorker wrote a controversial[15][21] article on the political spending of David and Charles Koch: "As their fortunes grew, Charles and David Koch became the primary underwriters of hard-line libertarian politics in America."[2][22] Mayer's article has received criticism for using "psycho-biographic innuendo, unnamed sources, and half-truths."[23]

Kimberly O. Dennis, of the Searle Freedom Trust, a libertarian foundation, suggests that the Kochs are acting against their economic interest in promoting "getting government out of the business of running the economy. If they were truly interested in protecting their profits, they wouldn’t be spending so much to shrink government; they’d be looking for a bigger slice of the pie for themselves. Their funding is devoted to promoting free-market capitalism, not crony capitalism."[24]

TIME magazine included both Charles and David Koch among the 100 most influential people of 2011. According to the magazine, the list includes "activists, reformers and researchers, heads of state and captains of industry." The article notes the brothers' commitment to free-market capitalist principles, the growth and development of their business, their passion for philanthropy, and their support for conservative organizations and political candidates.[25]


Since 2000, David H. Koch Charitable Foundation have pledged or contributed more than $750 million to further cancer research, enhance medical centers, support educational institutions, sustain arts and cultural institutions, and conduct public policy studies.[26] Since 2006, the Chronicle of Philanthropy has listed Koch as one of the world's top 50 philanthropists.[27]

Medical research

In 1992, David Koch was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He underwent radiation, surgery, and hormone therapy, but the cancer returned every time. Koch believes his experience with cancer has encouraged him to fund medical research. He says, "once you get that disease and I've had it for 20 years almost, you become a crusader to try to cure the disease not only for yourself but for other people."[15]

Koch sits on the Board of Directors of the Prostate Cancer Foundation and has contributed $41 million to the Foundation, including $5 million to a collaborative project in the field of nanotechnology.[28] Koch is the eponym of the David H. Koch Chair of the Prostate Cancer Foundation, a position currently held by Dr. Jonathan Simons.

In 2007, he contributed $100 million to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to help fund the construction of a new 350,000-square-foot (33,000 m2) research and technology facility to serve as the home of the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research.[29]


In July 2008, Koch pledged $100 million over 10 years to renovate the New York State Theater in the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts (now called the David H. Koch Theater),[35] and has pledged $10 million to renovate the outdoor fountains at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.[36]

Koch has been a trustee of the American Ballet Theater for 25 years[37] and has contributed more than $6 million to the theater.[38]


Koch contributed $7 million to the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) show Nova,[39] and is a contributor to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., including a $20 million gift to the American Museum of Natural History, creating the David H. Koch Dinosaur Wing and a contribution of $15 million to the National Museum of Natural History to create the new David H. Koch Hall of Human Origins, which opened on the museum's 100th anniversary of its location on the National Mall on March 17, 2010.[40]

Koch also financed the construction of Deerfield Academy's $68 million Koch Center for mathematics, science and technology,[41] and was named the first and only Lifetime Trustee.[41]

Koch gave $10 million to the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory[42] where he was honored with the Double Helix Medal for Corporate Leadership for supporting research that, "improves the health of people everywhere."[43]

See also

  • Koch family
  • List of billionaires


  1. ^ a b "Koch, David Hamilton (1940)". New Netherland Project. http://www.nnp.org/nni/Publications/Dutch-American/kochd.htm. Retrieved August 31, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Mayer, Jane (August 30, 2010). "Covert Operations: The billionaire brothers who are waging a war against Obama". The New Yorker. http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/08/30/100830fa_fact_mayer. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Goldman, Andrew (July 25, 2010). "The Billionaire's Party: David Koch is New York’s second-richest man, a celebrated patron of the arts, and the tea party’s wallet". New York magazine. http://nymag.com/news/features/67285/. Retrieved August 26, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b "David Koch - Forbes". Forbes. March 9, 2011. http://www.forbes.com/profile/david-koch. 
  5. ^ Elizabeth Bumiller (January 11, 1998). "Woman Ascending A Marble Staircase". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/1998/01/11/magazine/woman-ascending-a-marble-staircase.html?pagewanted=all. Retrieved August 31, 2010. 
  6. ^ NYT staff (May 26, 1996). "Weddings: Julia M. Flesher, David H. Koch". Style (The New York Times). http://www.nytimes.com/1996/05/26/style/weddings-julia-m-flesher-david-h-koch.html. Retrieved September 2, 2010. 
  7. ^ Cargill is the largest. David Koch - Libertarian, Advocates for Self-Government
  8. ^ Zernike, Kate (October 19, 2010). "Secretive Republican Donors Are Planning Ahead". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/20/us/politics/20koch.htm. 
  9. ^ Suzan Mazur, "The Altenberg 16: An Exposé of the Evolution Industry", North Atlantic Books, 2010, 343 pages
  10. ^ Weiss, Gary, "The Price of Immortality", Condé Nast Portfolio, November 2008.
  11. ^ Continetti, Matthew. "The Paranoid Style in Liberal Politics". The Weekly Standard. http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/paranoid-style-liberal-politics_555525.html?page=1. Retrieved 20 April 2011. 
  12. ^ a b c Rinker Buck, "How Those Libertarians Pay the Bills", New York magazine, 3 November 1980
  13. ^ U.S. Presidential Election Atlas,
  14. ^ James T. Bennett, Not Invited to the Party: How the Demopublicans Have Rigged the System and Left Independents Out in the Cold, Springer, 2009, p. 167, ISBN 1-4419-0365-8.
  15. ^ a b c d e f g Continetti, Matthew (April 4, 2011). "The Paranoid Style in Liberal Politics". The Weekly Standard. http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/paranoid-style-liberal-politics_555525.html?nopager=1. 
  16. ^ Doherty, Brian (26 May 2008). Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement. Perseus Books Group. p. 410. ISBN 978-1-58648-572-6. http://books.google.com/books?id=6g_NGAAACAAJ. Retrieved 10 October 2011. 
  17. ^ Owen, Sarah (5 May 2011). "David Koch Gives President Obama Zero Credit for Bin Laden’s Death". New York. http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2011/05/billionaire_conservative_david.html. 
  18. ^ Weigel, David (April 15, 2010). "Dick Armey: Please, Koch, keep distancing yourself from me". Washington Post. http://voices.washingtonpost.com/right-now/2010/04/dick_armey_please_koch_keep_di.html. 
  19. ^ Sherman, Jake (August 20, 2009). "Conservatives Take a Page From Left's Online Playbook". The Wall Street Journal. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125064719500442047.html. 
  20. ^ Goldenberg, Suzanne (October 13, 2010). "Tea Party movement: Billionaire Koch brothers who helped it grow". The Guardian (London). http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/oct/13/tea-party-billionaire-koch-brothers. Retrieved March 10, 2011. "But organisations tracking money in politics say the Kochs' biggest impact in the midterm elections will be from funding and providing logistical support to such groups as Americans for Prosperity (AFP), one of the biggest Tea Party groups." 
  21. ^ Lewis, Matt. "Koch Brothers Donate to Charity as well as 'Right Wing Causes'". Politics Daily. http://www.politicsdaily.com/2010/09/02/koch-brothers-give-more-to-charity-than-to-right-wing-causes/. Retrieved 16 April 2011. 
  22. ^ Lewis, Matt (2010-09-02). "Koch Brothers Donate to Charity as well as 'Right Wing Causes'". Politics Daily. http://www.politicsdaily.com/2010/09/02/koch-brothers-give-more-to-charity-than-to-right-wing-causes/. Retrieved 2011-02-01. 
  23. ^ Nick, Gillespie. "The Official Koch Industries Reply to The New Yorker Hit Piece". reason.com. reason.com. http://reason.com/blog/2010/08/25/the-official-koch-industries-r. Retrieved 10 October 2011. 
  24. ^ Dennis, Kimberly O. (November 15, 2010). "Democrats Can’t Blame the Koch Brothers (However Much They Might Want To)". National Review Online. http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/253323/democrats-cant-blame-koch-brothers-however-much-they-might-want-kimberly-o-dennis. Retrieved 31 January 2011. 
  25. ^ Ferguson, Andrew (April 21, 2011). "The 2011 TIME 100". TIME. http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,2066367_2066369_2066324,00.html. Retrieved 22 April 2011. 
  26. ^ Lewis, Matthew (September 2, 2010). "Koch Brothers Give More to Charity than to Right Wing Causes". Politics Daily. http://www.politicsdaily.com/2010/09/02/koch-brothers-give-more-to-charity-than-to-right-wing-causes. 
  27. ^ a b "No. 45: David H. Koch". The Chronicle of Philanthropy. The Chronicle of Philanthropy. http://philanthropy.com/section/Philanthropy-50/370/. Retrieved 8 October 2011. 
  28. ^ David H. Koch – Prostate Cancer Foundation Nano-Medicine Gift Announced - Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF)
  29. ^ Karagianis, Liz (2008). “Empathy for Others”. Spectrvm
  31. ^ Beatty, Sally (October 9, 2007). "Institutional Gift, With a Catch". The Wall Street Journal. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB119189124817352914.html. 
  32. ^ Profile Of Billionaire David Koch - Executives - Portfolio.com
  33. ^ [1] $25 million to The Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City [2]
  34. ^ "No. 45: David H. Koch". The Chronicle of Philanthropy. The Chronicle of Philanthropy. http://philanthropy.com/article/No-45-David-H-Koch/126132/. Retrieved 8 October 2011. 
  35. ^ Pogrebin, Robin (July 10, 2008). "David H. Koch to Give 100 Million to Theater". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/10/arts/10linc.html. 
  36. ^ Souccar, Miriam Kreinin (June 27, 2010). "It's a Philanthropy Thing". Crains New York. http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20100627/ANNIVERSARY/100619869/1072. 
  37. ^ Donnelly, Shannon (June 2, 2010). "American Ballet Theatre Celebrates 70th Season, David Koch's Birthday". Palm Beach Daily News. http://www.palmbeachdailynews.com/society/insider/american-ballet-theatre-celebrates-70th-season-david-kochs-723608.html. 
  38. ^ Cole, Patrick (May 17, 2010). "David Koch Toasted by Caroline Kennedy, Robert DeNiro". Bloomberg. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-05-17/david-koch-toasted-by-michelle-obama-caroline-kennedy-at-n-y-ballet-gala.html. 
  39. ^ Nova | Pbs
  40. ^ "Smithsonian to Open Hall Dedicated to Story of Human Evolution". The Washington Post. March 30, 2010. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/gallery/2010/03/17/GA2010031702837.html. 
  41. ^ a b Cobbs, Lucy (February 25, 2010). "David Koch Named Lifetime Trustee". Deerfield Scroll. http://scroll.deerfield.edu/?p=3032. 
  42. ^ "Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory surpasses capital campaign goal". Wednesday, 15 July 2009. http://www.cshl.edu/Archive/cold-spring-harbor-laboratory-surpasses-capital-campaign-goal. 
  43. ^ "$3.1 Million Raised at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s 2007 Double Helix Medals Dinner". Wednesday, 21 November 2007. http://www.cshl.edu/Archive/31-million-raised-at-cold-spring-harbor-laboratorys-2007-double-helix-medals-dinner. 

External links

Party political offices
Preceded by
David Bergland
Libertarian Party Vice-Presidential candidate
1980 (lost)
Succeeded by
James A. Lewis

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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