David Koch, Billionaire Donor to Conservative Causes and Cancer Research, Dies
WASHINGTON — Billionaire industrialist David H. Koch, who with his older brother, Charles, transformed American politics by pouring their riches into conservative causes, has died at age 79.
Charles Koch announced the death in a statement, which gave no cause but noted that David Koch had suffered from prostate cancer in the past.
According to published reports, David Koch’s fortune at his death was about $42.2 billion, almost all of it derived from his 42 percent stake in the global family business, Koch Industries.
A well-known philanthropist, Koch led the family into politics in 1980 when he ran as the Libertarian Party’s candidate for vice president.
In the decades since, the Koch brothers’ fortune helped fuel the rise of the Tea Party movement and a resurgence of the far-right wing of the Republican Party.
In the process, they played key roles in loosening limits on campaign contributions while continually promoting conservative candidacies, advocacy groups and think tanks like Americans for Prosperity and the American Legislative Exchange Council, an organization of conservative state legislators and corporate lobbyists.
The latter organization specializes in drafting model state legislation that members may customize for introduction as proposed laws to cut taxes, combat illegal immigration, loosen environmental regulations, weaken labor unions and oppose gun laws.
In a 2012 op-ed in the New York Post, David Koch wrote that he was taught from a young age that involvement in the public discourse is a civic duty.
“Each of us has a right — indeed, a responsibility, at times — to make his or her views known to the larger community in order to better form it as a whole. While we may not always get what we want, the exchange of ideas betters the nation in the process,” he said.
Although long a thorn in the side of Democrats, the Kochs refused to endorse Donald Trump in 2016, saying the then Republican presidential nominee was not sufficiently conservative.
But by then, David Koch, who had been battling prostate cancer for 18 years, was backing away from politics.
“I like to engage where my part makes a difference,” he told The Weekly Standard in 2012. “I have a point of view. When I pass on, I want people to say he did a lot of good things, he made a real difference, he saved a lot of lives in cancer research.”
In The News
In The News
With what seems like an annual tradition, consumers flip on their TV to catch a playoff game or some other “must see TV” program only to find the station blacked out in the pay TV provider’s lineup because the provider can’t reach an agreement with the... Read More
HAMBURG, Germany — Researchers around the world hail Germany for its robust health care system: universal coverage, plentiful primary care, low drug prices and minimal out-of-pocket costs for residents. Unlike in the U.S., the prospect of a large medical bill doesn’t stand in the way of... Read More
SEOUL, South Korea — His video game habit started in middle school. His bedroom door was always locked, and when his grandmother stood on the veranda and peered through his window, he was invariably engrossed in an on-screen gunfight. He eventually began disappearing to play at... Read More
JUAREZ, Mexico — The 12-year-old identical twins entered Texas from Mexico days apart in the foothills of Mount Cristo Rey. One came with their father. The other arrived with their mother. It was June. The family’s plan was to get caught by Border Patrol agents as... Read More
WASHINGTON - Accustomed as they are to believing government can do a great deal of good for a great many, serious Democrats have grown increasingly concerned over the potential long-term ramifications of Medicare for all proposals. While it's easy -- and perhaps hopeful -- to view... Read More
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Emotions were high and security tight Monday as the Florida Senate convened a three-day special session to decide whether or not to uphold Gov. Ron DeSantis’ suspension of Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel. At an early morning press conference, the parents of the... Read More