Koch Brothers

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Koch Brothers refers to Charles G. Koch and his brother David H. Koch, the billionaire co-owners of Koch Industries. They run the Koch Family Foundations, one of the largest single sources of funding for conservative organizations in the United States, and the money behind Citizens for a Sound Economy, which in July 2004, CSE was merged into FreedomWorks. They also back the group Americans for Prosperity. David's twin brother, William I. Koch, is the owner of Oxbow Energy. Frederick R. Koch, the eldest brother, took a different trajectory, earning an MFA in playwriting from the Yale School of Drama in 1961 and becoming an art and real estate collector and philanthropist,[1] and was "disowned and partially disinherited" by their father.[2]

The 2011 Center for American Progress Report "The Koch Brothers: What You Need to Know About the Financiers of the Radical Right" noted that the Koch brothers' combined wealth is the fourth highest in the nation, with operations in 45 states.

Koch Connection

The Koch Brothers are the conservative billionaire co-owners of Koch Industries. As two of the richest people in the world, they are key funders of the right-wing infrastructure, including the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the State Policy Network (SPN). In SourceWatch, key articles on the Kochs include: Koch Brothers, Koch Industries, Americans for Prosperity, American Encore, and Freedom Partners.

The Koch Brothers' Fortune

Charles and David Koch tied for fourth most wealthy person in the U.S. again in 2013, worth $36 billion each, according to the 2013 Forbes 400. Their combined wealth of $72 billion matches that of the top American billionaire, Microsoft founder Bill Gates.[3] Buoyed by aggressive speculative trading on volatile energy markets, the Koch brothers accumulated $15 billion in wealth [from] March 2010 [to September 2011], a 43 percent increase" in that time period alone, as seen in the following chart:[4]

Koch brothers fortune.png

An Atlanta Journal-Constitution op-ed commented on their fortune and politics as follows:

I’m troubled by the gaping contrast between their political rhetoric and their own experience. Through the right-wing groups that they control and fund, and through their own statements, they describe an American economy that is so overrun with rules and regulations, so handicapped by high taxes and so deeply hostile to the interests of the wealthy that it has become difficult if not impossible to do business. . . .
Yet as the chart above demonstrates, despite the crippling restrictions allegedly placed on capitalism, the two brothers have somehow managed to more than quintuple their combined wealth, from roughly $7.5 billion to $50 billion, over the last seven years. In the last three years alone, most of it during the presidency of the much-despised Kenyan Marxist usurper destroyer of America, they have increased their wealth by a remarkable $20 billion. That three-year increase alone is more than 200,000 times the median household wealth in this country.[5]

Koch Brothers' Fortune vs. Koch Industries' Employment

On Thursday, September 22, 2011, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow commented on the publication of the 2011 Forbes 400 and the growth of the Koch brothers' fortune, noting that, rather than being "job creators," as their fortune has risen since 2007, the number of people employed by Koch Industries has fallen. She showed the following chart:

Koch Net Worth vs Unemployment.jpeg

The "Rachel Maddow Show" associate Will Fernia summarized the source of this information as follows:

The net worth of the Koch "job creators" comes from the individual profiles of the Forbes 400 list, with the worth of each brother added together. We took just the October number for each year.
The employee number comes for different souces depending on the year but basically the source is Koch Industries itself. In their current company description they say, "With a presence in nearly 60 countries and about 67,000 employees..." So that's where the 67,000 number comes from for 2011 on the chart. But the 2007 number comes from this 2007 Forbes profile of Koch Industries in which they are ascribed 80,000 employees.[6]

Articles and Resources

See the related articles below for more information on the Kochs.

Related SourceWatch Articles

Related PRWatch Articles

External Articles


  1. Frederick R. Koch, Wikipedia, accessed April 29, 2011
  2. Andrew Goldman The Billionaire's Party, New York Magazine, July 25, 2010
  3. Forbes 400, Forbes, annual survey of 400 wealthiest Americans, September 16, 2013.
  4. Center for American Progress Action Fund, Forbes: Koch Brothers Now Worth $50 Billion, organizational blogpost, September 21, 2011
  5. Jay Bookman, Best rebuttal to Koch brothers is their own bottom line, Atlanta Journal-Constitution blog, September 22, 2011
  6. Will Fernia, The Koch brothers graph, The Maddow Blog, MSNBC" show blog, September 23, 2011
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