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The Koch family (// KOKE) of industrialists and businesspeople is most notable for its control of Koch Industries, the second largest privately owned company in the United States (with 2013 revenues of $115 billion). The family business was started by Fred C. Koch, who developed a new cracking method for the refinement of heavy oil into gasoline. Fred's four sons litigated against each other over their interests in the business during the 1980s and 1990s.
The Koch family foundations are a related group of non-profit organizations that began with the establishment of the Fred and Mary Koch Foundation in 1953, and now includes the Charles Koch Foundation, the David H. Koch Charitable Foundation and the Koch Cultural Trust. The organizations collectively have a stated goal of "advancing liberty and freedom" through the support of various causes which "further social progress and sustainable prosperity." In addition to the direct action of the non-profits, the groups have also contributed financially to other philanthropic organizations in the fields of research, public well-being, arts, and education, including contributions to scholarship programs, university support, and loan assistance through organizations like the United Negro College Fund.
Members of the Koch family have given to conservative and libertarian policy and advocacy groups in the United States, including think tanks like the Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute, and more recently Americans for Prosperity.
Americans for Prosperity, founded by David Koch, is one of the main nonprofit groups assisting the Tea Party movement, according to Kenneth Vogel of Politico. In 2010 Melissa Cohlmia, a Koch spokeswoman, distanced the Kochs from the tea parties and FreedomWorks saying that "no funding has been provided by Koch companies, the Koch foundations, Charles Koch or David Koch specifically to support the tea parties."
According to the Koch Family Foundations and Philanthropy website, "the foundations and the individual giving of Koch family members" have financially supported organizations "fostering entrepreneurship, education, human services, at-risk youth, arts and culture, and medical research."
[W]hen he tried to market his invention, the major oil companies sued him for patent infringement. Koch eventually won the lawsuits (after 15 years in court), but the controversy made it tough to attract many US customers.
Founding member (1958) John Birch Society — reportedly after seeing Russian friends liquidated
In 1929 Koch took his process to the Soviet Union, but he grew disenchanted with Stalinism and returned home to become a founding member of the anticommunist John Birch Society.
He returned a fervent anti-Communist who would later become a founding member of the John Birch Society.