Billionaire David Koch passed away at the age of 79, his brother Charles confirmed Friday morning.
From Business Insider:
“It is with a heavy heart that I announce the passing of my brother David. Anyone who worked with David surely experienced his giant personality and passion for life,” Charles Koch wrote in the statement, adding that his brother had been diagnosed with prostate cancer 27 years ago.
“David liked to say that a combination of brilliant doctors, state-of-the-art medications and his own stubbornness kept the cancer at bay,” Charles Koch wrote. “We can all be grateful that it did, because he was able to touch so many more lives as a result.”
“While we mourn the loss of our hero, we remember his iconic laughter, insatiable curiosity, and gentle heart. His stories of childhood adventures enlivened our family dinners; his endless knowledge rendered him our ‘walking Google.’ His sensitive heart had him shed a tear at the beauty of his daughter’s ballet, and beam with pride when his son beat him at chess. We will miss the fifth link in our family.”
…Koch was best known for his staunch support of conservative and libertarian causes. He ran as the vice presidential candidate for the Libertarian Party in the 1980 presidential election. In the decades after, the Koch brothers became some of the largest donors to conservative causes in the US, reportedly raising hundreds of millions of dollars for Republican candidates in recent elections.
The Koch brothers’ main political-advocacy group, the Americans for Prosperity Foundation, which David headed until his June 2018 retirement, was one of the main backers of the Tea Party movement, which began in opposition to President Barack Obama’s policies. But David Koch distanced himself from membership in the Tea Party itself.
Koch was a figure in Manhattan’s upper crust and a major donor to several charitable causes and cultural organizations. Koch gave millions of dollars to the American Museum of Natural History in New York and served on its board for 23 years before resigning in 2016. In 2008, Koch gave a $100 million donation to the Lincoln Center to renovate the New York State Theater, which was renamed after the billionaire.
From National Review’s Jim Geraghty:
Back in 2017, I wrote about what made the Koch brothers and their various political organizations stand out as so effective, in a country with lots of political-action committees, activist groups, and wealthy donors: “The only real difference between the Koch brothers and Tom Steyer or George Soros is that the Koch brothers are better at achieving their goals, and particularly better at getting the team around them to focus on the long-term and easily-overlooked corners of the governing process – i.e., state legislatures, local tax initiatives and the political races that aren’t ‘sexy.’ Lots of people seemed to think that the best way to influence the political process was to run 30-second ads about a presidential election in the autumn. The Koch network’s various organizations keep a close eye on all the corners of government that don’t get nearly as much attention and can be quite picky about which candidates they support, much to the irritation of some Republicans. They don’t spend a lot of resources helping candidates who strike them as merely the lesser of two evils.
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