Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Billionaire Spotlight: Charles & David Koch

Worth: $22 Billion each
Source: Manufacturing
Residence: Wichita, Kansas & New York City, New York

"The nation's richest industrialists had a direct hand in the resurgence of the right during November's midterm elections. Americans for Prosperity, the conservative nonprofit that David founded, spent $45 million bankrolling right-wing candidates, many of them Tea Partiers. Weeks later the billionaire brothers convened their secretive biannual retreat of rich, influential Republican donors at a resort in Palm Springs; Forbes 400 power players Rich DeVos, Ken Langone and Diane Hendricks all reportedly attended to strategize for the 2012 elections. Waiting for them; a thousand protesters (Greenpeace flew a blimp over the rally, its banner reading "Koch Brothers: Dirty Money"). Their tremendous spending power and influence--dubbed "the Kochtopus" by some media--gained further unwanted attention in February after Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker was pranked by a blogger posing as David. When the fake Koch offered to fly the governor to California to thank him for his union-crushing efforts, Walker jumped at the chance."

- AFP outspent the Democratic Governors Association by more than 3-to-1 in the November elections
- A Koch subsidiary contributed $1 million to California's failed Prop. 23, the ballot that would have killed legislation cutting back greenhouse gas emissions
- Charles cofounded libertarian think tank Cato institute
- New York City's richest person, David sits on 25 not-for-profit boards