As I mentioned last month, leftist nonprofits and environmental pressure groups have singled out the business enterprises and philanthropy of David and Charles Koch as a recent target for demonization. The Center for American Progress holds them responsible for “a vicious attack campaign aimed directly at obstructing and killing progressive reform” and Greenpeace says they “secretly fund the climate denial machine.”
Over the weekend the Washington Examiner‘s Mark Tapscott published an interview he conducted with Dr. Richard Fink, who heads the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation and is an executive vice president for Koch Industries, Inc., about the family’s philosophical approach for supporting the principles of limited government and free markets. He’s not shy about how they’ve supported the tea party movement and educational institutions that promote economic freedom. For example:
Q: What about the accusations that you are driving these activities – that they’re corporate-sponsored ‘astro-turf’ rather than real grassroots movements?
A: That’s nonsense. It’s clear from the very personal and passionate expressions of concern at these events that they haven’t been scripted or orchestrated.
Tea parties reflect a spontaneous recognition by people that if they do not act, the government will bankrupt their families and their country. They’re absolutely right about that.
Now, if our work over the past 30 or 40 years has helped stimulate some of those citizens who are becoming more active, that’s great, but it’s a far cry from pulling strings.
What we have done is support the Americans for Prosperity Foundation, which has been active in various forms for nearly 30 years.
David Koch has been a steadfast supporter of that foundation, though Koch-related funding of AFP and the foundation has amounted to a small percentage of their overall funding in recent years. That’s a testament to their broad appeal. AFP and its state chapters have begun collaborating with tea party groups, and we’re in favor of any group willing to constructively address irresponsible government policies.