Big Men on Campus: The Koch Brothers' University Donations Are a Veiled Political Weapon
How massive Koch donations to universities miraculously lead to legislation the billionaire brothers' support.
Through his family foundations, billionaire industrialist and conservative political mega-donor Charles Koch gave $108 million to 366 colleges and universities from 2005-14, and he’s donated millions more since then.
Much of that money established free-market academic centers on campuses; dozens of Koch-funded centers exist, and in Arizona, where Koch’s political money helped elect GOP Gov. Doug Ducey and conservative state legislators, three centers at public schools will now receiveannual state funding.
The Koch money also installs professors who will publish libertarian-minded economics papers and teach students about the benefits of abolishing taxes and ending regulation, and it funds graduate students in these programs, grooming them to become the next great Koch scholars.
Universities, often stripped of general funding by Koch-backed lawmakers, enter into private grant agreements, some that give the Charles Koch Foundation (CKF) a say in hiring decisions and curriculum, introducing major ethical concerns: A politically polarized billionaire industrialist is using his family fortune to take over university departments and control what they’re teaching and publishing.
For someone who so dearly loves the free market, what does he think about academic freedom?
The strategy originated in the late 1970s, when Koch and his right-hand man, Richard Fink, devised the “Structure of Social Change,” a plan to turn America into a libertarian land free from taxes and regulation. The plot begins with the funding of free-market academic programs, where professors produce anti-tax and anti-regulation policy papers that, in step two, Koch-funded think tanks like the Cato Institute use to create easily digestible policy proposals. Next, “citizen activists” (in reality, Koch-funded political groups masquerading as “social welfare” nonprofits such as Americans for Prosperity) rally support for the Big Men on Campus: The Koch Brothers' University Donations Are a Veiled Political Weapon | Alternet: