The Koch Family’s Attempt to Mold Electoral Politics
The Kochs financed an intellectual landscape to legitimize their political ideology, but deploying it in electoral politics has created unintended consequences they are unable to course-correct for.
With an estimated net worth of $124 billion1 from Koch Industries, one of the largest privately-owned companies in the U.S. with major interests in energy, chemicals, minerals, and much more, the Koch family has brought its industrial fortune to bear on education, philanthropy, and politics for generations. Through a network of nonprofits founded or supported by the family, the Kochs have created institutional platforms for their long-standing libertarian values, using these to cultivate alliances within the Republican Party and shape partisan discourse to influence legislation. Koch-affiliated organizations were largely responsible for launching the Tea Party movement of the late 2000s, which brought ideological libertarianism into the mainstream and made it a feature of Republican policy. The sum of the Kochs’ operations have been dubbed the “Kochtopus” by critical media outlets, in reference to the perceived multi-pronged influence of the Koch network on U.S. electoral politics.