The New Yorker's
Jane Mayer recently wrote a profile of billionaires Charles and David Koch of Koch Industries called "Covert Operations
," in which she details how the brothers are "waging war against Obama."
The piece also raises concerns about their business practices. As Mayer writes, "The Kochs are longtime libertarians who believe in drastically lower personal and corporate taxes, minimal social services for the needy, and much less oversight of industry -- especially environmental regulation. These views dovetail with the brothers' corporate interests."
Some conservatives, like RedState's Erick Erickson
, believe this to be part of a larger, coordinated campaign orchestrated by the Obama administration to carry out "character assassination" against Koch Industries. Other conservatives believe the left is merely attempting to create a billionaire bogeyman on the right, just as George Soros has filled that role nicely on the left.
Frank Rich seems to be trying out that strategy, writing in the New York Times
of the "Koch-Murdoch-backed juggernaut against our 'socialist' president."
But if liberals are looking to create a bogeyman, the Kochs are an interesting target. Mayer's piece details donations the brothers have made to what she describes as "right wing causes" -- and to her credit she also notes their philanthropic work. But what may not be clear to her readers is the extent to which the Kochs are involved in making charitable contributions.
To be sure, the Kochs have given "more than a hundred million dollars to right wing causes" (which is their right, by the way). But in the last decade, it's also worth noting the Kochs have given more than $600 million i
n pledged or donated money to arts, education, and medical research, including (but not limited to):
New York-Presbyterian Hospital Weill Cornell: $15 million
M.D. Anderson Cancer Center: $25 million
The Hospital for Special Surgery: $26 million
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center: $30 million
Prostate Cancer Foundation: $41 million
Deerfield Academy: $68 million
Lincoln Center's NY State Theater: $100 million
Massachusetts Institute of Technology: $139 million
Here we have civic-minded business leaders engaging in their right to participate in the political process -- and
also donating large amounts of wealth to philanthropic causes.
Oh the humanity....
Disclosure: Matt Lewis has previously spoken for Americans for Prosperity, an organization founded by David Koch.