Brian Hooks

Brian Hooks


  • B.A., Political Science, University of Michigan (1996 – 2000). [1]


Brian Hooks became president of the Charles Koch Foundation as of July 1, 2014. Prior to working at the Charles Koch Foundation, Hooks was the chief operating officer and executive director of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University where he “led strategy and oversaw all programs and operations.” [2]

Hooks is also president of the Charles Koch Institute and chairman of the Seminar Network, a group of Koch-affiliated groups. He is also chairman of Stand Together, a “venture philanthropy” 501(c)(3) organization also controlled by the Kochs. [3], [4]

As of 2018, Hooks had spent almost 20 years working in various capacities in the Koch network and had become one of Charles Koch’s top deputies, according to a Politico Magazine article outlining the future of the Koch network. [5]

In May 2019, the Koch operation announced that the Seminar Network would be reorganizing under a new name, Stand Together, with Brian Hooks continuing to lead the new organization on a daily basis. [13]

Stance on Climate Change

In his position as president of both the Charles Koch Foundation and the Charles Koch Institute, Hooks has helped distribute large portions of the more than-$127 million dollars that has gone from Koch Family Foundations to groups trying to weaken climate change science and policy since 1997. [6]

The Mercatus Center has also released studies questioning the evidence for man-made climate change, while itself receiving more than $9 million from the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation over the years. [7]

Key Quotes

May 2019

Following the Koch announcement that the Seminar Network would be reorganizing under a new name, Stand Together, Brian Hooks said: [13]

For too many years, we’ve let people define us. Going forward, we’re going to define ourselves. This is really about helping to better define who we are. It’s a reflection of who we’ve become.”

June 15, 2014

Hooks spoke at a seminar “Leverage Science and the Universities”: (Emphasis added) [8]

“Universities can have a major influence on the national conversation, but it doesn’t happen by accident. So as strategists, most of the research and teaching that’s done at universities throughout the country really does have an impact. And so as Ryan said, we’re outnumbered. Our job is to make sure that we’ve got a strategy for our work to have a disproportionate impact.”

Hooks added how the Mercatus Center could be used to publish its own reports useable by the “network”: (Emphasis added): [8]

“And so where I work, The Mercatus Center at George Mason University, just for example, we put together a collection – the largest collection, in fact, of free market faculty that exists anywhere at any university anywhere in the world. What that means is that that these guys are producing research that groups in this network can rely on to advance economic freedom every single day. In practical terms, we put out about 1,600 relevant studies […]”

He added that, through network funding, they are applying that strategy to embed free market centers inside universities across the country: [8]

‘Now, thanks in large part to the investment that this network has made, we have founded new university research centers around the country. We can take that model and expand economic freedom […] the freedom movement […]”


“The Koch family is among the most generous in the long tradition of American philanthropists who have helped ensure a thriving and dynamic civil society in our country,” Hooks said in a statement when it was announced he would be the Charles Koch Foundations’ next president. [2]

Key Deeds

April 3, 2019

Hooks spoke alongside Charles Koch at the 2019 Global Philanthropy Forum Conference. Video below: [9]

Alliance magazine‘s Patrick Alley noted the distinct lack of mention of climate change at the session. [10]

“Jane Wales’ neatly put question on the subject was enthusiastically leapt upon by Hooks, and immediately kicked into some very long grass, never to reappear,” Alley wrote. 

June 15, 2014

Hooks spoke at a seminar “Leverage Science and the Universities” where he outlined the strategy of the Mercatus Center, using funding from the “network,” to create free market groups embedded in universities across the country. The goal would be to have a “disproportionate impact” and use those groups to publish “research that groups in this network can rely on.” [8]


Social Media


Brian Hooks does not appear to regularly publish in any journals or papers.


  1. Brian Hooks,” LinkedIn. Accessed May 18, 2019. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.
  2. President of the Charles Koch Foundation,” Charles Koch Foundation. Archived May 19, 2019. URL:
  3. The Daily 202: The Koch network donor retreat turns touchy-feely,” The Washington Post, January 28, 2019. Archived May 16, 2019. URL
  4. Fredreka Schouten. “Koch brothers’ new group will take on poverty, educational quality,” USA Today, January 29, 2016. Archived May 19, 2019. URL:
  5. The Next Koch Doesn’t Like Politics,” Politico Magazine, December 14, 2018. Archived May 18, 2019. URL:
  6. Koch Industries: Secretly Funding the Climate Denial Machine,” Greenpeace. Accessed May 19, 2019.
  7. “Public Interest Comment on the Environmental Protection Agency’s Request for Comment on a Petition: Control of Emissions From New and In-use Highway Vehicles and Engines” (PDF), Mercatus Center, George Mason University. Document created May 24, 2001.
  8. “Freedom Partners Leveraging Science And Universities,” Alderson Reporting Company, June 15, 2013. Retrieved from
  9. Charles Koch and Brian Hooks: Funding Across Difference,” YouTube video uploaded by user “GPF Org,” April 3, 2019. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.
  10. Koch – the real thing?Alliance Magazine, April 3, 2019. Archived May 18, 2019. URL:
  11. Brian Hooks,” Mercatus Center. Archived May 19, 2019. URL:
  12. Brian Hooks,” Global Philanthropy Forum. Archived May 19, 2019. URL:
  13. James Hohmann. “The Daily 202: The Koch network is reorganizing under a new name and with new priorities,” The Washington Post, May 20, 2019. Archived May 25, 2019. URL:
  14. A letter from our founder Charles Koch and CEO Brian Hooks,” Stand Together, May 20, 2019. Archived May 25, 2019. URL:

Other Resources

Profile image screenshot of April 2-19 Global Philanthropy Forum presentation, via YouTube.

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