Acton Institute Powerblog

Those Horrible Koch Brothers And The Good They Do

Share this article:
Join the Discussion:

Given the press the Koch brothers (David and Charles) get, one would expect to see a photo of them sporting devil’s horns with blood dripping from their fangs. Here are just a few examples:

They have a pattern of lawbreaking, political manipulation, and obfuscation. I’ve been in Washington since Watergate, and I’ve never seen anything like it. [The New Yorker]

Today, the Kochs are being watched as a prime example of the corporate takeover of government. [Greenpeace]

[W]hen Barack Obama became president, the Kochs, like a lot of right-wingers, flipped out. They threw their weight behind a stealth campaign to turn back the president’s “socialist” agenda… [Rolling Stone]

Clearly, these men are evil, right?

Not so fast. Deroy Murdock, at National Review Online, wants to dig a bit deeper. What are the Kochs really doing with their money?

  • The Kochs “support university programs and think tanks that try ‘to understand the nature of human freedom and how that freedom leads to prosperity…'”
  • They’ve given major grants to medical research, including cancer treatment and joint replacement.
  • Elizabeth Koch, Charles’ wife, oversees funding to the arts. This includes sponsoring young musicians and dancers.
  • David Koch supports the PBS series, Nova, and has made generous donations to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History for a Hall of Human Origins.
  • Wildlife Habitat Council president Robert Johnson states that the Koch brothers are leaders in environmental issues, as they have done everything from planting saplings on protected land to helping to preserve prairie land in Kansans to making sure many of their buildings are certified by the Wildlife Habitat Council in ‘promoting biodiversity, wildlife habitat enhancement, land restoration and conservation education…'”

You may not like the Koch brothers. You may not like how much money they have. You may not like their political, social or business views and practices. But are they evil? Do they really do bad things? Do your homework.

Read “Kochs Add Life” at National Review Online.

Elise Hilton Communications Specialist at Acton Institute. M.A. in World Religions.


  • Liberally Thinking

    This would be funny if it were not so f’ing sad. I HAVE done my homework. I have done the work on those universities and think tanks and their so-called environmental work. These men are bottom feeding democracy hating troglodytes who are eviscerating our democracy from the inside out.

    • See where it says “Join the discussion” in the comment box? That means bring something substantial to the table, in order to continue an on-going dialogue. Name-calling doesn’t count.

      • Marc Vander Maas

        Elise, don’t interrupt the two minutes hate. WE HAVE ALWAYS BEEN AT WAR WITH EASTASIA… i mean, THE KOCH BROTHERS. They are the primal traitors, the earliest defilers of the Party’s democracy’s purity. All subsequent crimes against the Party democracy, all treacheries, acts of sabotage, heresies, deviations, spring directly out of his their teaching…

    • Lawerence

      Democracy is your code word for Socialism ; As is Geoge Soros Democratic / Socialistic Causes !!

      • PUNATIC

        and yours is “I’m a little teapot”….for the teaparty

    • Lawerence

      I love it when the key word for socialism is “democracy or social justice”

    • Lawerence

      Liberals love to use the term “Democracy” For Socialism !! ( social justice / fair share / level the playing field / etc) !! Were those Universities Ivy League / Cal Berkley / etc??

  • Brian Cummings

    penance for evils done.. you can’t make up for flooding acres, or hundreds of acres of forest, and rivers with oil. there’s no penance for what they’ve done.

    • Marc Vander Maas

      So you’re saying that the Koch brothers have intentionally flooded “acres, or hundreds of acres of forest, and rivers” with oil? Please clarify.

      • PUNATIC


        • Marc Vander Maas

          Provide evidence.

  • DinIndy

    Are we comparing planting trees to pipelines that destroy ecosystems? None of these touchy feely easily done “donations” (tax write offs) compare to the damage the Kochs do. They spend millions on blocking energy reforms, environmental protections and laws against shady money deals, but they donate to kids dancing so they’re okay? Come on, let’s not pretend that these cosmetics don’t hide a darker agenda.