The Koch Brothers are not self-made billionaires. All of their money comes from oil wells and oil refineries from the Koch Brothers’ father, Fred Koch, who got his chemical engineering degree from MIT.
“Dark Money,” a new book by Jane Mayer, outlines the money spent by the brothers who have taken their politics to a high level of activism, funding right wing candidates and tea party organizations. It turns out that this was not the first time the Koch family has had some dealings with xenophobic fascists.
The book follows the Koch family, from Papa Koch’s far-right John Birch Society allegiance to Stalin and the Nazi Party in Germany. Mayer found that some of their most successful business ventures overseas were during the years leading up to World War II. One was a partnership with American Nazi sympathizer William Rhodes Davis, who hired Fred Koch to the team that built the third-largest oil refinery in the Third Reich. Mayer describes it as a critical part in Hitler’s efforts.
Hitler isn’t the only one, however. According to “Mr. Big,” a 2006 expose in Forbes by Daniel Fisher, Koch also cozied up to Stalin while traveling to the former Soviet Union in 1928 to build oil refineries. It was there that Koch learned more about actual communism and eventually wrote a 39-page anti-communest manifesto about his experience, “A Business Man Looks at Communism.” So, ultimately communist governments were good enough to make Koch money, but everyone else should avoid dealing with them. Right. Got it.
Ken Spain, a spokesman for Koch Industries, told the New York Times that the company and its officials declined to participate in Mayer’s book, but they didn’t trust her much to begin with.
“If the content of the book is reflective of Ms. Mayer’s previous reporting of the Koch family, Koch Industries or Charles’s and David’s political involvement, then we expect to have deep disagreements and strong objections to her interpretation of the facts and their sourcing,” Spain said.
Notice how they didn’t deny any allegations that they worked with Nazis and Stalin. Probably because it’s the truth and they can’t deny it. You can’t very well build an oil refinery under the radar.
The Koch family, the Scaifes, the Bradleys and the Michigan DeVos family “were among a small, rarefied group of hugely wealthy, conservative families that for decades poured money, often with little public disclosure, into influencing how the Americans thought and voted,” the book outlines. Some things never change.
Honestly, those of us who follow the right-wing find it hard to be shocked by anything anymore. This is just another feather in the right-wing cap of Koch Brothers ideology. Seems it ain’t nothin’ but a family thing.
Feature image by Donkey Hotey/Flickr.