Who Are the Koch Brothers, and How Did They Make All That Money?

Depending on whom you ask, David and Charles Koch are either heroes of capitalism and all of its benefits, or greedy corporate fat cats intent on lining their pockets while destroying the environment. Since around the time President Obama was sworn into office, the Koch brothers have been thrust into the political limelight, and the attention has only intensified with the rise of the Tea Party.

But how much do everyday Americans really know about these two and the industry that they've built over the past four decades? While most Americans might only know what they hear from the talking heads from both sides of the political aisle, few know about how the Koch brothers amassed their fortune.

In the following slideshow, we'll look at the history of the family and how they got to be where they are now.

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  • Report this Comment On July 06, 2014, at 8:09 AM, bo3777 wrote:

    Unions Vs Koch Brothers in political donations.

    Via Open Secrets:

    2.) American Fedn of State, County & Municipal Employees $60,667,379

    4.) National Education Assn $53,594,488

    7.) Intl Brotherhood of Electrical Workers $44,478,789

    8.) United Auto Workers $41,667,858

    9.) Carpenters & Joiners Union $39,260,371

    10.) Service Employees International Union $38,395,690

    11.) Laborers Union $37,494,010

    12.) American Federation of Teachers $36,713,325

    13.) Communications Workers of America $36,188,135

    14.) Teamsters Union $36,123,209

    16.) United Food & Commercial Workers Union $33,756,550

    20.) Machinists & Aerospace Workers Union $31,313,097

    23.) AFL-CIO $30,938,977

    32.) National Assn of Letter Carriers $26,106,359

    39.) Plumbers & Pipefitters Union $23,886,248

    42.) Operating Engineers Union $23,036,848

    43.) International Assn of Fire Fighters $22,963,260

    46.) Sheet Metal Workers Union $22,372,978

    59.) Koch Industries $18,083,948

  • Report this Comment On July 06, 2014, at 8:15 AM, Charos wrote:

    I have been to David Koch's house on Meadow Lane in Southampton on a few occasions. It's on the ocean but nothing very fancy for that area. Thought I would just add that to this article to make a little more interesting.

  • Report this Comment On July 06, 2014, at 8:30 AM, lem2004 wrote:

    So,what's your point?

  • Report this Comment On July 06, 2014, at 8:46 AM, ChMacQueen wrote:

    All this talk of Koch brothers this and Koch brothers that. What about George Soros? He's the #1 non Union donater to liberals. a number of his organizations (mostly political) appear ahead of the Koch brothers The #1 slot for donations being from ACT which is a Soros ran liberal political group. A few others that are in large part funded by Soros as well fit in the top 30 with Koch brothers at 59th place.

  • Report this Comment On July 06, 2014, at 9:02 AM, BelindaBee wrote:

    SO what you are saying is that the Koch family worked HARD for what they have and have a right to spend it ANY WAY they so choose JUST LIKE the corrupt Clinton's, George Soro's, etc?

  • Report this Comment On July 06, 2014, at 9:22 AM, yardomd wrote:

    If pigs could fly to the market….

  • Report this Comment On July 06, 2014, at 9:23 AM, yardomd wrote:

    Therapies that may prolong life include beta blockers, RAS inhibitors, aldosterone antagonists, Greek diet and quality investments.

  • Report this Comment On July 06, 2014, at 9:57 AM, observer2014 wrote:

    bo3777 makes an interesting point, but shades the story into a small subset of contributors, and clearly misleads on the magnitude of Koch giving. Who else in the top 50? Koch Industries alone is not the whole story. Who else in the top 100?41 of the top 60 are left out, and all from 61-100 (and beyond). What other companies in the Koch orbit (Flint Hills, Georgia-Pacific, and the brothers individually) are missing here?

    Buffet is a poster boy for other reasons, but his interests might not align with the common man either.

    What Soros wants and is about I haven't begun to investigate.

    It would take me some time to learn what's missing here, but if 80% of the donor lists is unknown, and the W. Posts' expose on Koch giving is half true, we're missing a lot more than 80% here.

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2014, at 10:02 AM, starmannate wrote:

    Brian needs to be writing for USA Today or the NY Times or some other left wing blogs. Keep the politics off of Motley Fool, I come here for investment information not your political B.S.

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Brian Stoffel

Brian Stoffel has been a Fool since 2008, and a financial journalist for the Motley Fool since 2010. He tends to follow the investment strategies of Fool-founder David Gardner, looking for the most innovative companies driving positive change for the future.

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