American University released a two-year study uncovering the infamous Koch brother’s little black checkbook. The study validates the far-reaching influence that America’s richest, most powerful men have on the public, via non-profit institutes, foundations, and higher education. The study, conducted by the American University Investigative Reporting workshop, shows the broad, widening reach of Charles and David Koch, and the $134 million dollars that has been used to influence politics and policy through the Right Wing Echo Chamber.
The research team, consisting of two dozen students, along with professional journalists, reviewed five years of Koch tax records, tracking down a plethora of contributions from the brothers themselves, Koch industries, as well as the network of Koch-funded foundations and charities. The team went as far as looking into the various foundations’ lobbying efforts and mission statements to uncover the true motives of the global conglomerate.
Entitled “The Koch Club,” the research goes into great detail about the brother’s secret money agenda. With 60,000 employees and annual revenue of $115 billion, the Koch industry has the money, power, and influence to fund anyone willing to comply with and advocate their own political ideology. According to the research, the Koch brothers are most philanthropic to those organizations that support libertarian and conservative views, along with the major think tanks in D.C.
Broken down, 89 nonprofits and one annual conference received $41.2 million, 221 U.S. colleges and universities received $30.5 million, and the arts, humanities, medicine and youth organizations received $46.3 million of the Koch’s money, as well as their influence.
The study gave a clear picture of the Koch’s motives to brainwash up-and-coming generations through higher education. For example, one egregious donation was $1.5 million offered to Florida State University to hire two assistant professors and fund fellowships and undergraduate curriculum on free enterprise. The research team found that, in exchange of the donation, the donor was able to, “assign specific readings, select speakers brought to campus and instruct them with regard to the focus of their lectures, shape the curriculum with new courses and specify the number of students in the courses, name the program’s director, and initiate a student club.”
The brothers even went as far as financing $6 million dollar Anti-Obamacare ad campaign, designed to turn the American public against health reform, by spreading misinformation and lies about the Affordable Care Act.
As if their control does not extend far enough, the brothers are now turning their attention to the media, looking to take over the Tribune Media Company, which houses several different newspapers, including, the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and the Orlando sentinel. If the Koch industry completes the transaction, the notorious brothers would ultimately have the power to control what information the American public sees.
While we’d like to think that the Koch brother’s prolific philanthropy is out of the goodness of their hearts, rather than for their own self-preservation, American University has found the money trail that leads to the Koch’s true motives.
Sara Papantonio is a writer and researcher for Ring of Fire.