The Koch Empire

Perhaps a million words have been written about Charles Koch, and the industrial and political empire he has built, since Jane Mayer’s breakthrough investigation for The New Yorker in 2010.

Without ever being elected to any office, Koch Industries’ Chairman and CEO Charles Koch has wielded his unfathomable wealth to influence millions of Americans. Koch’s fortune has affected thousands of elections, from national to local in scope. He has attempted to indoctrinate five generations of young Americans into what was once more candidly called “anarcho-capitalism.” With the amassed fortunes of hundreds of other business people, Koch has led systemic efforts to shrink, if not kill, numerous government programs designed to uplift the members of society who need it most.

Charles Koch has bent America’s political system, the policies, and the courts to his will in ways that will reverberate long after his time.

That’s an impressive feat even for the tenth richest person on the planet. At 83, Koch has an estimated net worth of over $50 billion, and he’s still fighting for more–by pushing reckless tax cuts, ruthless efforts to thwart any meaningful mitigation of climate change, and an unrelenting rollback of rules that protect Americans and their families from corporate exploitation.

One purpose of the Koch Docs project is to help tell the story of how we got here and the destructive course charted by Koch’s selfish agenda–despite the slick ads and outreach that the Koch PR machine is unfurling across the U.S. to soften the image of Koch and the company that bears his family’s name.

Looking ahead. In the coming weeks and months, this site will be unveiling a series of documents, new and old, to help unmask the truth about Koch’s distortions of American public policy on climate issues, democracy, and more. We will be showing how the “limited government” mantra that accompanies most Koch-funded operations really means limited democracy and how Koch’s gospel of prosperity masks a pattern of greed.

For now, though, we will focus on sharing new troves of original Koch documents, in addition to hundreds of tax filings and scores of profiles about the Koch empire from DeSmog, a trusted media outlet with years of expertise in mapping corporate players. And we will be lifting up other helpful resources provided by the great work of journalists and public interest groups who have investigated the network of billionaires with whom Koch has collaborated in his quest to dominate elections and public policy–especially in the almost ten years since the discredited Citizens United decision that unleashed massive amounts of dark money.

This site will expand what’s already known about Charles Koch and Koch Industries and spotlight new revelations. We will document new findings about the political industry that Koch continues to morph, such as his revamped “Stand Together” group, which absorbed his Seminar Network and the Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce of billionaires. We will curate information about the roots of Koch Industries’ voter database, i360, and other tools that the Koch empire deploys to try to win.

This project will also reveal new details about key parts of the Koch policy industry, including the Cato Institute and other core Koch groups, like Americans for Prosperity, plus the array of Koch allied groups, such as the Federalist Society and the Independent Women’s Forum.

Koch Docs will also highlight new information about dozens of Koch’s professional operatives, the elected officials beholden to Koch, and the billionaires leveraging their cash with Koch to change the rules of the game in America, right down to the U.S. Constitution.

Welcome to Koch Docs! There’s definitely more to come.