Conservative billionaire David Koch dies
by Rachel Lynn Aldrich
Posted 8/23/19, 12:21 pm
David H. Koch, the American billionaire known for his staunch support of conservative politics, has died at age 79. He was one of four sons of Fred Koch, who made a fortune by setting up oil refineries around the world in the 1930s. David Koch, a chemical engineer and vice president of Koch Industries, became an active philanthropist after surviving a plane crash in 1991. “Thinking back on it later, I felt that the good Lord was sitting on my shoulder and that He helped save my life because He wanted me to do good works and become a good citizen,” he told Barbara Walters during an ABC News interview in 2014. Koch battled prostate cancer for 20 years and donated to cancer research, medical centers, educational institutions, and arts and cultural centers. He had a net worth of $50.5 billion.
What about Koch’s politics? He and his brother Charles have donated extensively to mostly conservative or libertarian politicians and organizations, including the Heritage Foundation, the libertarian Cato Institute, and Americans for Prosperity. David Koch ran as the Libertarian Party’s candidate for vice president with Ed Clark in 1980. In the past year, the brothers have taken a more policy-based approach. They refused to endorse Donald Trump for president because of his protectionist stance on foreign trade.
Dig deeper: From the WORLD archives, read Janie B. Cheaney’s analysis of money in politics.
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