About Koch Industries

Koch Industries is the second largest private corporation in the country, with $115 billion in annual revenue. Koch is a top lobbying spender, a massive funding source to climate-denial front-groups, and major force fighting against clean energy policies. The company is a notable polluter.

Koch Bros Fat Cat Protest

Activists inflate a giant Fat Cat outside the Washington Convention Center, where the Koch Brothers' political group Americans For Prosperity held its annual summit.

© Greenpeace / Robert Meyers

“My joke is that we’re the biggest company you’ve never heard of.” – David Koch

Brothers Charles Koch and David Koch own and control Koch Industries. The Koch brothers coordinate the spending of their personal fortunes with other business executives to bankroll political operations implemented by a wide web of organizations, most of which are affiliated through the State Policy Network.

Greenpeace Koch Brothers Climate Criminals banner

Koch Industries Facts

  • Koch Industries is owned and controlled by brothers Charles G. Koch and David H. Koch. According to 2014 Forbes rankings, the Koch brothers are tied for sixth richest person in the world at $41.3 billion each–more than Michael Bloomberg, George Soros and Jim and Alice Walton of Wal-Mart fortune. Bloomberg estimates of each brothers’ wealth currently exceed $52 billion.
  • Koch Industries has many subsidiaries, operating in oil and gas exploration, pipelines and refining, in chemical and fertilizer production, in trading both physical fossil fuel products as well as commodity futures and derivatives, cattle and game ranching, forestry and timber products, electronics, industrial glass and various consumer products. Koch Companies Public Sectoroversees Koch’s lobbying, political activities and aggressive public relations.
  • Koch Industries’ environmental record includes a $30 million federal fine for Koch’s role in 300 oil spills that resulted in more than three million gallons of crude oil into waterways, a $1.7 million federal penalty in 2009 for environmental violations at facilities in seven states, and ongoing pollution from Koch operations around the country.
  • Koch Industries entered into a $25 million settlement with the US government in May 2001, after estranged brother Bill Koch revealed that Koch stole over 5 million barrels of oil from federal land and native peoples’ reservations. The value of oil that Bill Koch accused Koch Industries of stealing was worth $133 million – over $255 million in 2014 dollars.
  • In 2013, political groups controlled by the Kochs were fined $1.5 million by the state of California for illegally funneling money to support ballot initiative campaigns without proper disclosure. This scandal revealed a vast network created and run by Koch Industries executives and lawyers that is used to influence political issues and elections.

Major Oil & Gas Political Influence

Koch’s Funding to Deny Climate Change Solutions

  • Since 1997, Koch foundations have provided over $70 million in funding to climate denial groups; ExxonMobil provided about $27 million to climate denial organizations over the same period. Through “Dark Money ATMs” like DonorsTrust, it is likely that the Kochs have obscured millions of additional dollars to the same organizations.
  • Americans for Prosperity Foundation (AFP), founded and chaired by David H. Koch, received over $5.7 million from Koch foundations since 2005. AFP is known for its “Hot Air Tour” and“Regulation Reality Tour” campaigns that spreads misinformation about climate science and policy.
  • Koch Industries and the front groups it finances have attacked state-level climate and clean energy laws. Numerous Koch-funded organizations and people have pushed to repeal clean energy incentives in states like Kansas, Ohio and North Carolina, among over a dozenother states. Koch subsidiaries supported the California ballot Proposition 23 in 2010. Koch and its surrogate organizations continue efforts to pull northeastern states out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.
  • Multiple Koch-funded organizations have repeatedly rebroadcasted the November 2009 story dubbed “ClimateGate,” referring to stolen personal emails of climate experts. These organizations claim the emails prove a “conspiracy” of scientists and casts doubt on the scientific consensus regarding climate change.
  • In 2007, several prominent climate denial scientists published a non-peer reviewed article, funded by a Koch foundation, that concluded polar bears were not threatened by global warming. Multiple Koch-funded groups reiterated the article’s conclusions through their websites and other media outlets.

Coordinated Outside Political Spending

Since 2003, Charles Koch has convened twice-annual meetings for select business executives, politicians, lobbyists, judges and journalists to strategize and fund political campaigns for large business interests. Attendees of these “KochWorld” meetings pledge their own money to fund a network of political organizations working to limit the power of public employee unions, resist healthcare expansion, push pension reforms, privatize schools, and oppose environmental laws. The Kochs raised $400 million dollars to influence the 2012 elections, funneling hundreds of millions of dollars through a complex network of nonprofit organizations and limited liability corporationscontrolled by Koch operatives.
Track funding to climate denial front groups from Koch foundations:

See also PolluterWatch profiles of Koch IndustriesCharles Koch and David Koch.

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