Koch Industries, Inc.
Related Profiles & Research
- Koch Industries, Inc. Lobbying Activities
- Koch Family Foundations
- David Koch
- Charles Koch
- Koch Vs. Clean
Koch Industries, Inc. is the largest privately owned company in the United States. According to Forbes, in 2007 Koch Industries generated $98 billion in revenue and had 80,000 employees. As of 2020, it had 120,000 employees and sales of $115 billion. , 
“[I]n 1925, the 25-year old Koch formed the Winkler-Koch Engineering Company, with Lewis Winkler. After studying at Rice and MIT, the Texan-born Koch joined Winkler and another man in launching the company in Wichita.
“Before that, Winkler had worked as the chief engineer at Universal Oil Products, a firm that held patents on the fuel processing methods developed by Jesse Dubbs. Before joining up with Koch, Winkler had helped Dubbs’ son, Carbon, install one of the first thermal “cracking” stills that used the pressure and heat process that Koch’s firm would later deploy with slight modification, according to the expert testimony of the chairman of MIT’s chemical engineering department, as noted in Dan Schulman’s “Sons of Wichita.” Ultimately, though, after a bribery scandal involving an appellate judge the verdict against the Koch firm would be overturned and Universal Oil Products’ successor firms would pay the company damages.
“But back in 1929 – before the sudden stock market crash and nearly three years before the patent case went to trial – Koch’s firm signed contracts to build cracking stills in the U.S.S.R.
“The communist regime didn’t recognize intellectual property rights, but it did pay well.”
Jane Mayer, as detailed in her landmark book Dark Money, detailed how Soviet Leader Josef Stalin was not the only foreign strongman Koch profited handsomely from, while most Americans struggled after the stock market crashed and then President Roosevelt sought to wake the economy from the Great Depression. She documented how in the 1930s Koch had built a major airplace fuel refinery for Adolf Hitler as he threated neighboring states with war. That became the biggest refinery fueling the Luftwaffe as it bombed civilians in cities like Guernica, before the Allies in WWII destroyed it.
Eventually in 1940, Fred Koch founded the Wood River Oil and Refining Company. After Fred Koch’s death in 1967, his son Charles Koch took control of the company. In 1967, Charles renamed the company Koch Industries, Inc. His brother, the late David H. Koch, joined the company in 1971 and became a vice-president in 1978. , , , 
The company had a tactic of buying up other oil competitors. Between the years 1959 and 2004, Koch Industries purchased the Great Northern Oil Company, three oil refineries from Sun Oil, the United Gas Pipeline, and oil refineries in North Pole, Alaska. By 2007, Koch Industries was refining more than 800,000 barrels of oil per day. , 
Koch Industries has diversified its business holdings to include more than oil and gas. Koch currently owns companies in fertilizers, commodity and financial trading, forest and consumer products, fibers and polymers, and ranching. In 2004, Koch purchased Invista, the world’s largest fibers company, which it later merged with KoSa. In 2005, Koch acquired paper products giant Georgia-Pacific for $21 billion. , ∂
The company’s leaders have long been closely involved in rightwing groups. In 1958, Fred C. Koch helped to create the John Birch Society — a far-right group that relentlessly attacked the Civil Rights movement.  As Graves documented, Charles Koch also helped lead and fund the John Birch Society at the height of its attacks on the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., and Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren, but he stepped away from the group in 1968 citing its support for th Vietnam War.
Following in their father’s footsteps, Charles and David Koch created and funded some of the most rightwing organizations in the United States. Charles Koch spearheaded the Cato Institute and Citizens for a Sound Economy, which became the Koch-controlled Americans for Prosperity and the Koch-aligned FreedomWorks groups. Before his retirement in 2018 due to declining health, David Koch was also a member of the board of directors for the Cato Institute and a trustee for the Reason Foundation. David Koch passed away on August 23, 2019. , , 
Stance on Climate Change
Grist magazine reports that Charles Koch, Chairman and CEO of Koch Industries, “has been see-sawing over climate change for years.” In April 2016, Koch Industries’ Environmental, Health and Safety Director Sheryl Corrigan commented on the Koch’s climate beliefs: 
“Charles has said the climate is changing. So, the climate is changing,” Corrigan said. “I think he’s also said, and we believe, that humans have a part in that. I think what the real question is […] what are we going to do about it?” 
Earlier in 2015, Charles Koch said that “it’s been warming some” to The Washington Post.  In an interview with Forbes, Koch had said “it’s not certain” that humans are to blame for climate change. 
While Koch Industries, Inc. itself has no official stance on global warming, many of the organizations Koch supports have definitive stances on global warming. Think tanks such as the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Cato Institute, FREE, and Citizens for a Sound Economy espouse limited government and free markets as well as fostering doubt around the dangers of various chemicals, environmental pollutants, and global warming. For example, in 1999 the Citizens for a Sound Economy lobbied against the Clear Air Act. 
An Intermountain Rural Electric Association (IREA) memo from 2006 provides the most authoritative information of Koch’s position on climate change. The 2006 IREA letter was created in order to drum up support within the coalition against “global warming alarmists.” 
Within the letter, the IREA states “there are other groups that are interested in the issue of global warming and the concerns about its costs.” The letter goes on to say that Koch was working with American Electric Power (AEP) and the Southern Company to produce a film to counteract An Inconvenient Truth. Even more, the IREA explains that Koch had decided to finance a coalition on the issue. The coalition was to be administered by the National Association of Manufacturers. 
Finally, the IREA explicitly links Koch to the global warming denialist circle when it declares, “we have met with Koch, CEI and Dr. [Patrick] Michaels, and they meet among themselves periodically to discuss their [global warming] activities.” 
According to Greenpeace, the Koch Brothers have sent at least $100,343,292 to 84 groups denying climate change science since 1997. Their report notes that in more recent years, Koch funding has been funnelled through secretive funding groups like Donors Trust and Donors Capital Find. 
Greenpeace has compiled a number of reports on Koch Industries funding including the following. View Greenpeace’s video below:
- Koch Industries: Still Fueling Climate Denial 2011 Update
- Koch Industries: Secretly Funding the Climate Denial Machine (PDF)
The Koch brothers funnel most of their funding through three “charitable” foundations: The Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation, the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, and the David H. Koch Charitable Foundation.
Charles Koch’s archived profile on the Koch Industries website says that for over 40 years Charles has been supporting academic and public policy research that has a special focus on “developing voluntary, market-based solutions to social problems.” Between 1999 and 2001, Koch Charitable Foundations gave away over $20 million in funding. 
Koch Charitable Foundations provide major financial support to the Heritage Foundation, the Reason Foundation, the Hudson Institute, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and the Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment (FREE). Each of these organizations has also received funds from ExxonMobil. 
Koch and Tobacco
Koch is also connected to Big Tobacco. Throughout the 1990s, Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE) lobbied extensively for the tobacco industry. A search through the Legacy Tobacco Documents Library for “Citizens for a Sound Economy” produces over 1,400 documents. Included in these files are documents which show Phillip Morris and Lorillard paying CSE for lobbying services. 
In 1994 Phillip Morris provided CSE with $250,000 of funding. In 1996, Phillip Morris’ funding to CSE jumped to $500,000. Phillip Morris’ other financial contributions to CSE could not be located. In 2000 Lorillard Tobacco Company gave CSE a $100,000 general grant. Included in this grant was a set of guidelines to follow when lobbying on behalf of Lorillard. In his funding letter to CSE, Lorillard’s Ronald S. Milstein explained: “we look forward to working with Citizens for A Sound Economy toward fulfilling our mutual goals and ambitions.”
Koch Industries Lobbying
According to data from OpenSecrets, Koch Industries has spent more than $115,372,700 on combined lobbying activities between 1998 and 2017 with approximately 96% of that total ($110,520,000) going to the Oil and Gas Industry. Summary below: 
|Year||Oil & Gas||Mining||General Contractors||Forestry & Forest Products||Chemical & Related Manufacturing||Grand Total|
Koch Political Spending
The total amount Charles and David Koch have spent to influence elections through their corporation, their foundations, or individual checks is not known. During the 2014 election cycle, Koch Industries contributed more than $10,288,600 with $2,182,635 going to various candidates. The OpenSecrets Project breaks it down as follows: 
Contributions to candidates: $2,182,635
Contributions to Leadership PACs: $792,750
Contributions to parties: $683,350
Contributions to 527 committees: $52,500
Contributions to outside spending groups: $7,060,000
Top recipients include (screenshot taken from OpenSecrets):
Koch Industries, Inc. Board of Directors
|Charles G. Koch||Y||Y||Y||Chairman and Chief Executive Officer|
|Joseph W. Moeller||Y||Y||Vice Chairman|
|David Robertson||Y||Y||Y||President, Chief Operating Officer and Director|
|Steve Feilmeier||Y||Y||Y||Chief Financial Officer, Executive Vice President and Director|
|David H. Koch||Y||Y||Y||Former Executive Vice President. Director emeritus|
|Jeff Gentry||Y||Past Executive Vice President and Director|
|Richard Fink||Y||Past Executive Vice President and Director|
|James Mahoney||Y||Y||Executive Vice President of Operations Excellence and Compliance and Director|
|Jim Hannan||Y||Executive Vice President and CEO of Enterprises|
|Brad Razook||Y||Executive Vice President and CEO of Resources|
Koch Industries is primarily a family owned business. Until 1983, the shareholders included Charles, David, William, and Frederick Koch. In 1983, Koch Industries purchased the shares of William and Frederick Koch, and those held by the Simmons Family (47.8%), for $1.1 billion. 
Environment, Pollution, and Lawsuits
Koch Industries was sued by the government in 1995 and 1997 as a result of a reported 300 oil spills from pipelines that they owned and operated. It is estimated that during this time, three million gallons of oil were dumped into lakes and streams in six different states. The Environmental Protection Agency’s lawsuits ranged from $71 million to $214 million. In 2000, the EPA settled the case for $35 million in fines. Also, during the 1990s Koch was fined $8 million for discharging oil into streams in Minnesota. 
In late 2000, as the Clinton administration was preparing to leave, Koch was served with a 97-count indictment for covering up the discharge of more than fifteen times the legal limit of benzene, a known carcinogen, from a refinery in Corpus Christi, Texas. 
The company faced penalties of more than $350 million and four employees were criminally charged and faced up to 35 years in prison. Three months after the Bush administration took office the case was settled out of court. Koch Industries agreed to pay $20 million and plead guilty to one count of concealment of information; in return, the Justice Department dropped all criminal charges against Koch and its employees. In the 2000 elections Koch had contributed $800,000 to Republican candidates, including presidential nominee George W. Bush. 
In 2006, Koch Industries scored a C- in the Pacific Sustainability Index (PSI) created by the Roberts Environmental Center at Claremont McKenna College. The PSI analyzes companies according to their environmental and socioeconomic transparency and performance. , 
In the environmental categories, Koch received an overall grade of D- which was calculated from scores received in three categories: Environmental Intent (D+), Environmental Reporting (D-), and Environmental Performance (F). According to the Roberts Environmental Center, the letter grades are normalized to the highest scoring company in the same sector, meaning that Koch scored in the lower range of its sector. Koch Industries’ complete PSI scores are listed on the Roberts Environmental Center website. 
June 24–25, 2020
API and Koch Industries were highlighted in a lawsuit from the Minnesota Attorney General’s office that also called out Exxon Mobil Corporation, ExxonMobil Oil Corporation, Koch Industries, Inc., and the Koch-owned Flint Hills Resources LP and Flint Hills Resources Pine Bend for allegedly misleading consumers about climate change. 
“When corporations and trade associations break the law and hurt Minnesotans, it’s my job and my duty to hold them accountable. The fraud, deceptive advertising, and other violations of Minnesota state law and common law that the lawsuit shows they perpetrated have harmed Minnesotans’ health and our state’s environment, infrastructure, and economy,” said Attorney General Keith Ellison, as reported in the AG office press release. 
“Previously unknown internal documents were recently discovered that confirm that Defendants well understood the devastating effects that their products would cause to the climate, including Minnesota, dating back to the 1970s and 1980s. But Defendants did not ever disclose to the public—or to Minnesotans—their actual knowledge that would confirm the very science they sought to undermine. Instead, Defendants, both directly and through proxies, engaged in a public-relations campaign that was not only false, but also highly effective. This campaign was intended to, and did, target and influence the public, and consumers, including in Minnesota,” the lawsuit reads. 
Discussing API‘s role:
“API has been a member of at least five organizations that have promoted disinformation about fossil-fuel products to consumers, including the Global Climate Coalition, Partnership for a Better Energy Future, Coalition for American Jobs, Alliance for Energy and Economic Growth, and Alliance for Climate Strategies. These front groups were formed to provide climate disinformation and advocacy from a seemingly objective source, when, in fact, they were financed and controlled by ExxonMobil and other sellers of fossil-fuel products. Defendants benefited from the spread of this disinformation.” 
On Koch, the lawsuit suggests that the company is liable for the various actions of its numerous subsidiaries involved in the manufacturing, refining, and distribution of petroleum products. It also notes: 
“Koch also supports numerous foundations including the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, the David H. Koch Charitable Foundation, the Koch Institute, and the Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation. Koch expects the foundations that it supports to fund groups that further its financial interests. Koch constructively controls how the foundations that it supports direct their philanthropic activities.” 
It also notes that, like numerous other oil companies, “Koch also understood climate-change science, the connection to sales of its fossil fuel products, and the potential for catastrophic consequences before the science was widely understood by the general public.” 
It highlights what appeared to be a coordinated effort by companies including Koch to “combat climate change ‘alarmists’ through a campaign focused on science, information dissemination, and politics.” It highlights a 2006 memo from the Intermountain Rural Electric Association that outlined how Koch Industries was working with other large corporations including the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Southern Company, American Electric Power (AEP), and National Association of Manufacturers (NAM).
Shortly after, the D.C. Attorney General’s Office joined in a similar lawsuit against BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, and Shell. The lawsuit alleges the four largest investor-owned oil and gas companies violated the District’s Consumer Protection Procedures Act by promoting and selling fossil fuel products contributing to global warming, while knowing about the harmful consequences since at least the 1950s. 
The lawsuit highlights the industry’s use of fake grassroots groups, such as the Advancement of Sound Science Coalition, which started out as a front group for tobacco giant Philip Morris in 1993. This group had transitioned to become the Advancement of Sound Science Center in 1997 and was run out of the home of climate science denier Steve Milloy, who most recently worked in public relations for coal company Murray Energy, before being disbanded.
According to a press release from the D.C. Attorney General’s Office, “The [oil] companies not only employed the Advancement of Sound Science Coalition — a fake grassroots citizen group created by Big Tobacco as part of the industry’s misinformation campaign — they also funded and promoted some of the same scientists hired by tobacco companies. These scientists disputed the conclusions of climate researchers, despite not having any training in climate science themselves.” 
“For decades, these oil and gas companies spent millions to mislead consumers and discredit climate science in pursuit of profits,” said AG Racine. “The defendants violated the District’s consumer protection law by concealing the fact that using fossil fuels threatens the health of District residents and the environment. OAG filed this suit to end these disinformation campaigns and to hold these companies accountable for their deceptive practices. 
July 15, 2016
Koch Industries publicly criticized a resolution by Senators that, as DeSmog reported at the time, was designed to bring attention to a Senate Web of Denial Resolution calling out the destructive forces of fossil fuel industry-funded climate denial. Philip Ellender, president of government and public affairs for Koch Companies Public Sector, LLC, issued a statement claiming the Senators were trying to “take away First Amendment rights”: 
“Earlier this week, we witnessed once again a coordinated campaign led by certain Senate lawmakers to silence opinions they disagree with. The goal of this three-day stunt was to garner attention for a resolution that ‘urges fossil fuel companies and allied organizations to cooperate with active or future investigations into their climate-change related activities.’ Put another way, a handful of U.S. Senators deemed it a wise use of time to advocate for making illegal the free and open exchange of ideas and expression protected by the First Amendment.
“When it comes to the continued politicization of climate science, we firmly believe that all sides of the debate must recognize that the stifling of an open and free exchange on this issue will result in a loss of the scientific standards that were essential to creating our modern world and conveniences we have today. With that said, to date, dire predictions such as the polar ice cap melting by 2014 and 20 foot sea level rises have not occurred.”
June 21, 2016
Greenpeace reports that the Koch brothers have given over $21 million to groups that signed a full-page ad in the New York Times by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) defending ExxonMobil from recent government investigations into what it knew about climate change. CEI had also been named in the subpoena from Claude Walker, Attorney General for the U.S. Virgin Islands. 
This subpoena was an all-out assault on free speech. Forcing the CEI to hand over private information to government officials is an affront to the First Amendment rights of all Americans,” the letter states.
“Free market and taxpayer groups have been under assault by government officials including the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). This is just another example of how the government is engaging in selective targeting based on a political agenda that is meant to intimidate others from participating and engaging in any debate that may run contrast to the position of the current administration.” 
Funding numbers below: 
According to the updated Transparency Register set up by the European Commission, Koch Industries is lobbying European policymakers on the environment, energy markets and EU free trade agreement negotiations, Desmog UK reports. 
Koch Industries declared on the voluntary Register that it has spent between €200,000 and €299,999 ($223,634–$335,449 or £142,464–£213,695) on its European lobby efforts in 2014. This is similar to the amount declared for 2013 (€200,000–€250,000) and more than that declared in 2012 (€150,000–€200,000), which was the first year for which the Kochs entered data into the EU registry. 
The figure registered could, however, significantly underestimate the amount spent by the Koch family, warns LobbyFacts, a joint project by Corporate Europe Observatory, LobbyControl and Friends of the Earth Europe: “The new EU Transparency Register continues to suffer from seriously unreliable data.” For example, many companies tend to under-report their lobbying spend. 
Koch Industries Contact & Location
KOCH INDUSTRIES, INC.
P.O. Box 2256
Wichita, KS 67201-2256
Koch Industries Inc. Companies & Holdings
- Flint Hills Resources
- Koch AG & Energy Solutions
- Koch Chemical Technology Group
- Koch Membrane Systems
- Optimized Process Designs LLC
- John Zink Hamworthy Combustion
- Koch Knight LLC
- Koch Heat Transfer Company LP
- Koch Specialty Plant Services LLC
- Koch Minerals
- Koch Exploration Company, LLC
- Koch Nitrogen Company
- Koch Carbon, LLC
- Koch Pulp & Paper Trading, LLC
- The C. Reiss Coal Company & its subsidiary, Reiss Viking
- Koch Pipeline
- Koch Supply & Trading, LLC
- Matador Cattle Company
- Oasis Capital Markets, LP
- Koch Financial Corporation
- Koch Cellulose, LLC
- Koch Genesis Company
Flint Hills Resources, LP
Flint Hills Resources operates refineries in Alaska (North Pole), Minnesota (Rosemont) and Texas (Corpus Christi), which together process more than 800 barrels of crude oil a day. The company also has facilities in Illinois, Michigan, and Texas that produce aromatics, olefins, polymers and intermediate chemicals. Additionaly, Flint Hills produces and markets asphalt in the midwest. Finally, Flint Hills owns an interest in a base oil facility in Lousiana; this plant produces base oils for a number of industries including makers of motor oil and commericial lubricants.
Koch Pipeline Company, LP
Koch Pipeline Company and its affiliates own or operate some 4,000 miles of pipelines in the United States. These piplines transport crude oil, natural gas, and refined petroleum products.
Koch Alaska Pipeline Company, LLC
Koch Alaska Pipeline Comapny owns the largest stake (28%) in the Colonial Pipeline Company, which operates the world’s largest-volume refined products pipeline. Koch Alaska also owns a 3% stake in the Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS). Alyeska Pipeline Service Company operates and maintains the TAPS for five owner companies: British Petroleum (BP), Chevron, ExxonMobil, Koch, and Conoco Phillips. TAPS transports approximately 15% of crude oil in the U.S.
Koch Chemical Technology Group, LLC
Koch Chemical Technology Group designs, manufactures, installs, and services pollution control equipment for industries and organizations throughout the world. The subsidiaries of Koch Chemical that are responsible for producing pollution control equipment are Koch-Glitsch, LP; Koch Memberane Systems, Inc.; Koch Heat Transfer Company, LP; John Zinc Company, LLC; Optimized Process Designs, Inc.; Iris Power, LP; Kock Knight, LLC, and Unifin International, LP.
Koch-Glitsch, LP supplies mass transfer and mist elimination equipment. Its equipment is found in refining, petrochemical, gas processing, and pharmaceutical industries across the globe.
Koch Membrane Systems, Inc. develops membrane separation systems for microfiltration, ultrafiltration, nanofiltration, and reverse osmosis. It also produces membranes used in wastewater treatment.
Koch Heat Transfer Company, LP designs heat exchangers for consumers in the U.S, Europe, and Asia.
John Zink Company, LLC produces a variety of low-emission burners, flares, and thermal oxidizers. It is also a supplier of gas/vapour recovery and vapour combustor systems.
Optimized Process Designs, Inc. is a consultant for the natural gas and gas processing industries. It also offers engineering, fabrication, design, and construction services for gas companies.
Iris Power, LP develops and produces devices to monitor electrical equipment. Iris Power’s clients include utility companies, pulp and paper manufacturers, mining and ore processing facilities, and petrochemical facilities.
Koch Knight, LLC designs acid and corrosion-proof ceramics and plastic materials. Its clients include the chemical process and mining industries.
Unifin International, LP designs and manufactures heat transfer systems. It produces transformer oil coolers, transformer oil pumps, and generator coolers.
Koch Minerals, LLC
Koch Minerals is one of the world’s largest dry-bulk commodity handlers–it trades more than 40 million tons of product per year.
Koch Carbon, LLC
Koch Carbon trades and transports coal, petroleum coke, pulp and paper, cement, and other commodities throughout Europe and the United States. One of its subsidiaries,Reiss Viking, now owned by Quality Magnetite, LLC, is one of the largest suppliers of magnetite for the coal industry. Reiss Viking claimed that its products touch more than 40% of the one billion tons of coal produced every year.
Koch Exploration Company, LLC
Koch Exploration Company researches, acquires, develops, and trades petroleum and natural gas properties in the United States, Canada, and Brazil.
Koch Fertilizer, LLC
Koch Fertilizer owns interests in nitrogen fertizer plants in the United States, Canada, and Trinadad and Tobago. Prior to the change in government in Venezuela, it also had a recognized ownership interest in fertilizer operations there. Koch Fertilizer and its affiliates manufacture and distribute more than nine million tons of nitrogen products annually.
In 2004, Koch Industries bought INVISTA. After its purchase, Koch Industries mergedINVISTA with KoSa, thereby creating one of the largest producers of premium fibers and polymers. INVISTA operates four major businesses–apparel, intermediates, performance surfaces and materials, and polymer and resins.
In 2005, Koch Industries completed its $21 billion purchase of Georgia-Pacific. This acquisition represents the largest purchase of a publicly-traded company by a private firm in United States history.
Georgia-Pacific is one of the leading manufacturers of paper products in the world. It has 45,000 employees and operates nearly 300 manufacturing facilities throughout North and South America and Europe.
Matador Cattle Company
Matador Cattle Company owns and operates three ranches in the United States. The ranches represent a total of 425,000 acres of land and 15,000 cattle. The Matador Cattle Company is one of the ten largest cow/calf operations in the U.S.
Koch Genesis Company, LLC
Koch Genesis Company invests direct capital into nascent-stage companies with revolutionary ideas. The company is primarily focused on industry-changing innovation in areas such as refining and chemicals, fibers and polymers, forest and consumer products, and chemical processes. Koch Genesis Company investments total somewhere between $5 and $10 million.
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