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Billionaire Conservative Donor David Koch, Who Funded Climate Change Denial and Anti-Labor Efforts, Dies

HeadlineAug 26, 2019

Billionaire conservative donor David Koch died Friday at the age of 79 from prostate cancer. David Koch, who was worth some $42 billion, and his brother Charles Koch inherited their fortune from their father and his oil and gas ventures. In addition to oil refineries and pipelines, Koch Industries also owns many major U.S. companies. The pair poured massive amounts of money into funding climate change denial through conservative think tanks and politicians. The Koch brothers founded the political advocacy group Americans for Prosperity in 2004, which is credited with turning the tea party into a full-fledged political movement. The Kochs also backed “right-to-work” efforts, which aim to weaken labor rights and quash union membership. The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer was on Democracy Now! in 2016 to talk about her book “Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right.”

Jane Mayer: “The Kochs have built kind of an assembly line to manufacture political change. And it includes think tanks, which produce papers. It includes advocacy groups, that advocate for policies. And it includes giving money to candidates. And you put those three together, and they’ve pushed against doing anything about climate change on all those three fronts at once. So you get papers that look like they’re real scientific opinions doubting that climate change is real, you get advocacy groups saying we can’t afford to do anything about it, and you get candidates who have to sign a pledge that — their largest political group is Americans for Prosperity. They have a pledge that says that if you want to get money from their donors, you have to sign a pledge saying that, if elected, you will do nothing about climate change that requires spending any money on the problem.”

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