An umbrella term for a huge number of organizations and publications founded, funded, or controlled by Charles and David Koch over roughly 40 years. It includes most of the libertarian organizations and publications you've heard of:
Conservative organizations include:
- ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council)
- Tea Party
- Heritage Foundation
- Federalist Society
- Generation Opportunity
- Freedom Partners
- Center for Shared Services
- Aegis Strategic
The Kochtopus does not include Objectivist organizations, or Mises/Rothbard organizations.
The primary function of the Kochtopus is regulatory capture. One of the major methods of the Kochtopus is concealing sources of funding for campaigns and public relations. The Kochtopus spent over $400,000,000 in the 2012 elections, mostly in dark money.
Their only direct opposition seems to be UnKoch My Campus.
- Launch the Kochtopus [More...]
- "We created The Kochtopus as an interactive map of the money, structure, and scale of the Kochs’ influence network, and how Koch Cash is damaging democracy. Follow the chains of influence to learn more on how the Koch Brothers have corrupted our democratic process."
- 1996 “Structure of Social Change” by Koch Industries Executive VP Richard Fink [More...]
- The document that describes the 3-phase plan the Kochs have followed successfully for the past 30+ years. (a) Create intellectual raw materials with scholars. (2) Apply these ideas to the real world with think tanks. (3) Create activist groups and fund politicians to use the think tank proposals to convince the electorate and enact laws. Billions have been spent on this wingnut welfare, with great success. Just look at the Federalist Society majority on the Supreme Court.
- Advancing White Supremacy Through Academic Strategy [More...]
- The report’s chapters describe the interwoven infrastructure of neo-confederate scholars, funded by the Charles Koch Foundation, who are training and recruiting the next generation of anti-civil rights Austrian economists. We explore the dangerous ideologies involved in this network, past and present, including recent influence on the violent Alt-Right and Neo-Nazis. These ideas are also inflicted upon prisoners.
- ALEC (7 links)
- The American Legislative Exchange Council, founded, led, and funded in part by the Koch brothers, is leading the class war by corporatists and plutocrats to disenfranchise ordinary people. ALEC opposes unions, voting rights, regulation, environmental law and other democratic countervailing power. ALEC relies on corrupt direct access to legislators, handing them already-written bills.
- Americans for Prosperity (3 links)
- A Koch astroturf organization that has spent hundreds of millions of dollars promoting Koch propaganda.
- An Unholy Alliance Against Public Transit [More...]
- "Uber and the Kochs aren't often mentioned in the same sentence. But the rideshare company has joined the far-right billionaire-funded operation on a libertarian crusade to destroy public transit."
- Anatomy Of A Libertard: Will Wilkinson And The Koch-Funded Nomenklatura [More...]
- Koch libertarian ideologue production is compared to the Soviet Union’s Communist Party member production. "[...] guess what thinker changed Will Wilkinson’s life? Actually, don’t try guessing: Ayn Rand, that’s the answer every time, just as Lenin was the answer every time in the Soviet Union."
- Billionaires Carbon Bomb: The Koch Brothers and the Keystone XL Pipeline [More...]
- How the Keystone XL Pipeline, global warming denialism, the Tea Party and the Citizen’s United ruling all are in the economic interests of (and have been influenced by) the second richest family in the US. Emphasis on the harms the Koch brothers are committing.
- Boycott Koch [More...]
- A large activist page opposed to the multifarious political activities of the Koch brothers. Has a connected blog.
- Charlatans, Cranks and Kansas [More...]
- Paul Krugman takes the Kochtopus' ALEC to task for promoting long-discredited Supply-Side Economics policies. "And most of ALEC’s efforts are directed, not surprisingly, at privatization, deregulation, and tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy."
- Charles Koch Network Pushed $1 Billion Cut To CDC, Now Attacks Shelter-In-Place Policies For Harming Business [More...]
- "Americans for Prosperity the pro-corporate pressure group founded and funded by billionaire industrialist Charles Koch, wants employees to return to work despite desperate pleas from public health officials that people should stay home as much as possible to help contain the spread of the coronavirus."
- Conservative Intellectuals: Follow the Money [More...]
- Libertarians are conservatives in terms of property, distinguished only by dislike of government. Their ideas, funded by plutocrats, are wrong because "because being wrong in the right way has always been a financially secure activity."
- Covert Operations: The billionaire brothers who are waging a war against Obama. [More...]
- Jane Mayer's The New Yorker article on Charles and David Koch. They have financed libertarian propaganda with more than 100 million dollars over more than 30 years. They founded and control the major libertarian think tanks Cato, Reason, Mercatus, and others.
- Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right (book, online) (2 links)
- When libertarian ideas proved decidedly unpopular with voters, the Koch brothers and their allies chose another path. If they pooled their vast resources, they could fund an interlocking array of organizations that could work in tandem to influence and ultimately control academic institutions, think tanks, the courts, statehouses, Congress, and, they hoped, the presidency.
- David Boaz (6 links)
- One of the senior tools of the Kochtopus, who disseminates vulgar libertarianism for the Cato Institute.
- Democalypse 2014 - South by South Mess: Ad of Brothers [More...]
- The Daily Show with John Stewart satirizes a Koch Industries greenwashing advertisement. Accurate and hysterically funny.
- Ed Crane And The CATO Institute vs. The Kochtopus! [More...]
- Brad DeLong pieces together the amazing story of the Koch lawsuit for control of Cato. As noted in Libertarianism in One Lesson; The Second Lesson : "We should look to examples of private organizations such as the Libertarian Party USA as role models..."
- Hive-minds and Kleptocrats [More...]
- Paul Krugman cites some of the history of explaining corporations as inhuman. He points out that they are still often used as tools by kleptocratic humans such as the Koch brothers.
- How Koch Industries Is Scamming America: Investigation Highlights a Global Web of Tax Avoidance [More...]
- "A liberal super PAC has uncovered as many as 610 Koch subsidiaries in 17 known global tax havens." That's the tip of the iceberg.
- How the Koch Brothers Are Killing Public Transit Projects Around the Country [More...]
- "In cities and counties across the country... the Koch brothers are fueling a fight against public transit, an offshoot of their longstanding national crusade for lower taxes and smaller government."
- Inside the $400-million political network backed by the Kochs [More...]
- A diagram of the organization and enormous flows of money in one section of the Kochtopus.
- Is The Koch Network Winning Its War On Occupational Licensing? [More...]
- How the Kochs used occupational licensing as an issue to rebrand their their enormous network of public relations and think tank organizations, resulting in thousands of bills going to legislatures. Based, per usual, on bad arguments that don't hold up to research.
- Koch Brothers Exposed: 2014 Edition [More...]
- "We've reissued Koch Brothers Exposed: 2014 Edition to shine a light on the Koch Brothers. We’re now delving even deeper into where their money is going, who their money is hurting, and how much they are making during this whole process leading up to the 2014 Elections." (An hour-long film.)
- Koch brothers' higher-ed investments advance political goals [More...]
- “The [Koch] network is fully integrated, so it’s not just work at the universities with the students, but it’s also building state-based capabilities and election capabilities and integrating this talent pipeline... So you can see how this is useful to each other over time... No one else has this infrastructure. We’re very excited about doing it.”
- Koch Exposed [More...]
- The Center for Media and Democracy, publisher of ALEC Exposed, brings you this unique wiki resource on the billionaire industrialists and the power and influence of the Koch cadre and Koch cash.
- Koch foundation proposal to college: Teach our curriculum, get millions [More...]
- The Kochs gave money to Florida State University’s economics department on the conditions that they align the curriculum with libertarianism, partly control faculty hires, and keep the libertarian department chair.
- Koch High: How The Koch Brothers Are Buying Their Way Into The Minds Of Public School Students [More...]
- "But with Youth Entrepreneurs, the Koch pipeline for creating a new generation of liberty advancers now starts early: A student can take the YE course in high school, participate in the YE Academy to earn scholarship money and then use that money to pay for a degree from a Koch-funded university."
- Koch Industries: Secretly Funding the Climate Denial Machine [More...]
- "Koch Family Foundations have spent $145,555,197 directly financing 90 groups that have attacked climate change science and policy solutions, from 1997-2018." An index and a short video detailing the enormous funding of climate denialism by the Koch brothers through a huge network of front groups..
- Koch network laying groundwork to fundamentally transform America’s education system [More...]
- "Making a long-term play, the billionaire industrialist Charles Koch and his like-minded friends on the right are increasingly focused on melding the minds of the next generation by making massive, targeted investments in both K-12 and higher education."
- Koch think tanks [More...]
- SourceWatch maintains a list of Koch think tanks with links to further information on each.
- Koch Universities (SourceWatch) [More...]
- "At the 2014 annual meeting of the Koch-led group of mega-donors and politicians in Dana Point, California, known as "Freedom Partners", vice president of the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation Kevin Gentry explicitly stated the link between donations to universities and promoting a political agenda."
- Koch World 2014 [More...]
- The Kochtopus raised more than $400 million for the 2012 elections, and has even more ambitious plans for 2014. Several new organizations were created to make the spending more effective.
- Koch-backed political coalition, designed to shield donors, raised $400 million in 2012 [More...]
- "The political network spearheaded by conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch has expanded into a far-reaching operation of unrivaled complexity, built around a maze of groups that cloaks its donors, according to an analysis of new tax returns and other documents."
- Kochland: The Secret History of Koch Industries and Corporate Power in America (book, online) (1 link)
- An extensive documentation of the crime, political corruption, and extensive harms the Kochs have visited on the United States and the world.
- Kochtopus - Mapping the Influence of Koch Cash [More...]
- A diagram showing the wide and diverse reach of Koch money influence. Very incomplete: many organizations are left out and a huge amount of money is not reported here.
- Libertarians: Only now, at the end, do you understand... [More...]
- "Here are a bunch of smart people who truly, honestly believe in their worldview [...] discovering for the first time that they are in fact merely a proxy army for people who don't take them or their worldview seriously at all."
- Nice Publicity: WSJ Profiles Free-Market Economist, Fails to Note His Koch Brothers Tie [More...]
- Alain Sherter points out that the WSJ's article on Peter Boettke fails to mention Mercatus and the Koch brothers.
- Niskanen Center (4 links)
- A "liberaltarian" organization that is attempting to make nicey-nice with liberals to secure key libertarian goals without being too obviously obnoxious. Still tied into the Kochtopus through its board and funding. Cannot be believed or trusted.
- Of George Mason University: An Exiled Reader Offers More Reasons to Hate the Koch Brothers [More...]
- "George Mason University is nothing but a farm team for the Koch bros. Starting at George Mason, the Kochs groom their little recruits as foot-soldiers ready to enter the plutocratic circle-jerk that is the U.S. government and its corporate oligarchs."
- Poison Tea: How Big Oil and Big Tobacco Invented the Tea Party and Captured the GOP (book)
- “Poison Tea shines a spotlight on the shadowy Koch brother network and reveals hidden connections between the tobacco industry, the reclusive billionaire brothers, and the Tea Party movement. It’s a major story that for too long has been underreported and poorly understood.”
- Politicians And Billionaires: Pledging Allegiance To Each Other In Secret [More...]
- "The revelations today about Mitch McConnell, Tom Cotton, Joni Ernst, and Cory Gardner flying to a luxury resort in California and pledging loyalty to the Koch agenda are breath-taking, especially the detailed information about the Koch brother front groups' electoral strategies. It confirms all of your most cynical fears about the behind-the-scenes deal making between politicians and their financiers."
- Reason Magazine (10 links)
- A Koch-funded propaganda mill that produces prolefeed for true believers. The most ironically named magazine in existence; it would be better titled "Confirmation Bias".
- Republic of Science or Empire of Ideology? [More...]
- Koch is making a sustained, multi-hundred-million dollar effort to push the academic economics profession toward a libertarian ideology. This is a "Republic of Science" to the same degree that North Korea is a "Democratic People's Republic of Korea".
- Right-wing billionaires purchasing own professors [More...]
- "The Kochs invest in higher education by donating money with ideological strings attached."
- Sons of Wichita: How the Koch Brothers Became America's Most Powerful and Private Dynasty (book, online)
- The first biography of the 4 Koch brothers and their rise to billionaire plutocracy. Explains the interlocking system of domination of the political apparatus by Charles and David.
- Study Confirms Tea Party Was Created by Big Tobacco and Billionaires [More...]
- "A new academic study confirms that front groups with longstanding ties to the tobacco industry and the billionaire Koch brothers planned the formation of the Tea Party movement more than a decade before it exploded onto the U.S. political scene."
- Tax Filings Hint at Extent of Koch Brothers’ Reach [More...]
- Charles and David Koch controlled hundreds of millions of dollars of tax-deductable corporate political donations through their Freedom Partners group for the 2012 elections. "That rivals or exceeds the annual budgets of the largest advocacy groups in the nation, like the National Rifle Association and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce." Plutocracy on the rise!
- The 'Libertarian' Maker-Hero Charles Koch Formed His Own Group To Protect Oil Industry's Government Handouts [More...]
- The Institute for Energy Research/American Energy Alliance, founded and funded by Charles Koch, has fought to protect special tax breaks that benefit fossil fuel producers.
- The Battle for the Cato Institute [More...]
- Plutocrat Charles Koch battles autocrat (and sycophant to other plutocrats) Ed Crane for who gets to use the Cato Institute as their catspaw.
- The Billionaire Behind Efforts to Kill the U.S. Postal Service [More...]
- "Since the 1970s, a concerted effort to popularize the fringe idea of privatizing the Postal Service has been advanced for nearly five decades with the support of one man: the billionaire and libertarian ideologue, Charles Koch, chairman and chief executive officer of Koch Industries. This brief traces Koch’s connections, influence, and ideological push to weaken and ultimately privatize one of America’s most essential public services—and, along with it, the jobs of hundreds of thousands of public servants."
- The Brothers Koch: Family Drama and Disdain for Democracy [More...]
- For the Kochs, buying our democracy, and maybe killing it is pure self-interest. A favorable review of Sons of Wichita: How the Koch Brothers Became America’s Most Powerful and Private Dynasty.
- The Free-Market Al-Qaeda: Neoliberal Think Tanks and the Harm They Do [More...]
- How a a small group of “free-market” ideologues consciously set out 40 years ago to marketize everything public. Includes a list of 12 right-wing philanthropic foundations that set out in the 1960’s to overturn a century’s accumulation of progressive public policy.
- The Koch 130: How the billionaire brothers have spread their web of influence across every sector of American society. [More...]
- "This project, an effort to track the breadth of the Kochs' philanthropic influence, builds on several years of reporting, news stories, as well as data from tax filings and the organizations' websites."
- The Koch Brothers' Best Investment [More...]
- How a $40 million political outlay yields a $420 million tax cut for each Koch brother alone. Not to mention the numerous others who contributed smaller amounts.
- The Koch Network: A Cartological Guide [More...]
- A diagram of the secret flow of money among the Koch brothers’ labyrinthine network of political groups
- The Koch-Whore Archipelago: How The Billionaire Kochs Screwed My Scoop While Screwing America [More...]
- Mark Ames describes how Koch supporters in the media attempted to discredit his reporting on Koch creation of the Tea Party.
- The Kochtopus vs. Those Individuals Now Seized Of The CATO Institute; Or, No Libertarians In Foxholes Department [More...]
- Brad DeLong continues to piece together the amazing story of the Koch lawsuit for control of Cato. A schadenfreude party for liberals! "From my perspective, of course, the delicious irony is that the arguments against the Kochtopus--powerful and convincing arguments--are not libertarian but rather Burkean, communitarian, and social democratic ones, and thus arguments that no true libertarian could ever possibly make..."
- The Left's Big Sellout: How The ACLU and Human Rights Groups Quietly Exterminated Labor Rights [More...]
- "I went to the websites of three of the biggest names in liberal activist politics: Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the ACLU. Checking their websites, I was surprised to find that not one of those three organizations lists labor as a major topic or issue that it covers." Hayek and Koch influences are blamed.
- The Making of the Kochtopus: How the billionaire brothers built a political network that rivals the GOP itself. [More...]
- "The brothers' representatives often go out of their way to minimize their role in the politics outfits they fund. They also insist that there is an arm's length relationship between Koch Industries and the brothers' political endeavors. But past and present Koch employees occupy key roles in the political organizations, and, before Freedom Partners assumed this responsibility, it was Koch Industries that organized the famous biannual donor conferences where tens of millions are raised to influence politics."
- The Mining, Fossil Fuels, and Petrochemical Industries (9 links)
- Mighty industries whose bought legislators have showered them with enormously profitable tax favors and sheltered them from environmental regulations. Much of the Koch wealth comes from these industries, which is why libertarian propaganda promotes fossil fuels and denigrates global warming, regulation, environmentalism, and renewables.
- The public choice of public choice [More...]
- 10 formerly secret agreements between Koch-funded donations to public George Mason University reveal what has long been expected: an appalling breach of academic responsibility. "The ordinary protection against conflict of interest, and against donors using the university’s reputation as an ideological/financial cutout or flag of convenience is to build institutional firewalls..."
- The Strategy To Privatize The Public Domain [More...]
- There is a coordinated and decades-long effort to privatize the public lands of the United States, controlled by a network of corporations and conservative foundations and think tanks intent on gaining control of the public domain.
- The Truth Is Paywalled But The Lies Are Free [More...]
- "... pseudo-scholarhip is easy to find [for free]. Right-wing think tanks like the Cato Institute, the Foundation for Economic Education, the Hoover Institution, the Mackinac Center, the American Enterprise Institute, and the Heritage Foundation pump out slickly-produced policy documents on every subject under the sun. They are utterly untrustworthy—the conclusion is always going to be “let the free market handle the problem,” no matter what the problem or what the facts of the case."
- Tyler Cowen: Statist, anti-Rothbardian agent of the Kochtopus [More...]
- Tyler Cowen is a strong critic of Austrian and Rothbardian views, and he is hated for that.
- Uncovering Koch Role in Faculty Hires [More...]
- "George Mason says some of its past donor agreements with Charles Koch Foundation have afforded the organization a say in faculty appointments, in violation of the norms of academic freedom."
- UnKoch My Campus (4 links)
- A student-led organization that is very active in opposing Koch interferences in education and other policy. Excellent resources about the scope of the Koch influence.
- Yes, the Kochs fund groups out of self-interest [More...]
- "Men who make their living emitting carbon pay thinkers to argue against government regulation of carbon."
- “Permissionless Innovation”: Using Technology to Dismantle the Republic [More...]
- "Whether or not it is best for business to have democratic government looking over the shoulders of business, it is absolutely, indubitably necessary for democratic governance to mean anything. That is why libertarians had to come up with a new term for what they want; “laws and regulations don’t apply to us” might tip off the plebes to what is really going on."
[A blind spot]... a simply weird refusal to acknowledge the huge role played by money and monetary incentives promoting bad ideas.
Paul Krugman, "Conservative Intellectuals: Follow the Money"
Neoliberals in the innermost shell (like the Koch brothers) use libertarians at farther removes (like the Tea Party) not always to realize their agenda directly, but to push political discourse to the hard right.
David Golumbia, "Cyberlibertarians’ Digital Deletion of the Left"
Libertarianism is supposed to be all about principles, but what it’s really about is political expedience. It’s basically a corporate front, masked as a philosophy.
Thomas Frank in Jane Mayer, "Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right" pg. 123.
To those of us outside the movement, the fact that libertarians are a proxy army has always been painfully obvious. The key piece of evidence was always the set of issues that libertarians chose to emphasize. Most Americans share the idea that civil liberties are good, war is to be avoided, and high taxes are bad. But the fact that our country's libertarian movement spent so much time fighting high taxes and so little time fighting the encroaching authoritarianism of conservative presidential administrations was a clear sign that some priorities were seriously out of place. Should we really be more afraid of turning into Sweden than turning into Singapore? The contrast between libertarians' continual jeremiads against taxes and their muted, intermittent criticism of things like warrantless wiretaps, executive detention, and torture was a huge tip-off that the movement was really just some kind of intellectual front for America's right wing.
Noah Smith, "Libertarians: Only now, at the end, do you understand..."
As with much libertarian posturing what they say and how they act are two different things. The libertarians are owned (whether they know it or not) by a group of super wealthy capitalists (Scaife, Koch, Walton, Coors, Mars, etc.). They get their ideologically motivated followers to spew things about "free" markets and maximizing profits, but all this is a cover for their true agenda -- making them even richer.
Robert Feinman, commenting in "What obligation? Maximise what?"