Charles G. Koch, born in 1935, is the CEO and Chairman of Koch Industries.
His father, Fred Koch, was a staunch libertarian and a founder of the John Birch Society. Like his father, Charles is also an ardent supporter of libertarian and conservative organizations. He is a co-founder of the Cato Institute, the Chairman of the Institute for Humane Studies, board member of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, and has sponsored multiple conferences for entrepreneurs to encourage them to fund free-market groups. Charles has even applied his libertarian ideology to the structure of Koch Industries, using his own trademarked "Market Based Management" to run the entire company. "Just as central planning is a failure in running government, so it is at the level of the firm," says Charles.
The U.S. Senate investigated Charles Koch for his alleged role in funding so-called "issue ads" that violated campaign law by helping conservative Republican congressional candidates in 1996. Koch Industries has been the largest oil and gas industry contributor to electoral campaigns since the 2006 election cycle. During the 2008 elections, Koch Industries contributed over $1.8 million, 88% to Republican candidates.
Charles and his brother David were involved in a decades-long family dispute with their brothers, Bill and Fred, regarding a buy-out of company shares. Bill and Fred claimed that Charles and David shortchanged them by $340 million. The vicious lawsuits began in the early 1980s and continued for nearly two decades.
See also PolluterWatch profiles of Koch Industries, Charles Koch and David Koch.