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David Koch, inheritor of an oil refinery business and opponent of social security died today

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David Koch had been battling prostate cancer for two decades and died one of the ten wealthiest men in the world today. He was heavily engaged in philanthropy after a near death experience during an airline collision. David’s philanthropy was more directed to arts, education, and medical research than his brother Charles. David also spent millions on conservative, libertarian, and Republican Party related candidates and think tanks.

Widely regarded as a global heavy hitter

Prominent American political libertarians such as Nick Gillespie credit David and his brother for the global libertarian movements that took off in the 70s. David and his brother Charles were financiers and members of over a dozen large and influential libertarian think tanks and organizations. David sat on the board of the think tanks: The Cato Institute, The Reason Foundation, and the Aspen Institute. They also started the libertarian think tank Americans for Prosperity.

Political enemy to leftists for decades

David and his brother have been widely criticized by the American left for their successful efforts to stop regulations on greenhouse gas emissions. In the past, David has vocally supported ending social security, labor laws, and the minimum wage. Particularly during a run for Vice President of the United States under the Libertarian Party. This radically right-libertarian streak of his became publicly visible in his opposition to President Obama’s candidacy and the Affordable Health Care Act in the 2010s. Together, with his politics, fame, and political advocacy, David became a figure of blame and scorn for those who support government social programs and welfare.

Koch Industries

Koch Industries was always a priority for David. Koch Industries was founded by his father Fred, who shared David’s political sensibilities. Fred reacted negatively to witnessing poverty and human rights abuses in the former Soviet Union and developed a strong dislike of authoritarian governments. He left his business to his sons, including David, who expanded the business and kept it from being publicly traded. After being inherited by his sons, Koch Industries had been fined criminally and civilly over violations of environmental law.

David’s brother Charles bids farewell

Today, Charles released a heartfelt farewell letter to his brother David. Here is the full statement:

“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.  Twenty-seven years ago, David was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer and given a grim prognosis of a few years to live.  David liked to say that a combination of brilliant doctors, state-of-the-art medications and his own stubbornness kept the cancer at bay.  We can all be grateful that it did, because he was able to touch so many more lives as a result.
“In those bountiful years, he married the lovely Julia Flesher, had three exceptional children, while remaining dedicated to the long-term success of Koch Industries. David also made institution changing philanthropic commitments to hospitals, cancer research, education and the arts. The significance of David’s generosity is best captured in the words of Adam Smith, who wrote, ‘to indulge our benevolent affections, constitutes the perfection of human nature.’
“While this is a very sad day for us all, I want you to know that David was proud of the extraordinary work you all have done to make Koch Industries the successful company that it is today. He will be greatly missed, but never forgotten.”

— STATEMENT FROM Koch Industries and Charles Koch

David Koch 1940-2019

David is survived by his wife and three children.

Featured Image info:
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Modified from original photo. Original photo author: Gage Skidmore, modified from his work here: https://tinyurl.com/yyqutxfx
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David Koch speaking at the Defending the American Dream Summit in Columbus, Ohio.

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