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Koch Industries distances itself from tea parties

Richard Fink, president of the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation and a vice president of Koch Industries, talks to Tim Mak about the energy empire's support of the tea party movement. The argument: Rumors of Koch influence have been vastly overstated.

Fink denied that Koch had anything to do with Americans for Prosperity’s tea party activities. “I don’t consider them a Tea Party institution,” Fink added. “[The group] has been active for nearly thirty years. While they participate in events with tea party groups, our support of them has included no funds specifically for tea party-related efforts.”

To press the point, Dr. Fink even had some mild criticism of the tea party movement. “Some of their worries are … more thoughtful, some of them are less thoughtful."

This doesn't entirely square with what I've heard about Fink's message to, say, the Koch Associates Program, a paid internship/job program whose members attend lectures over the course of their involvement. No, Koch hasn't funded "tea party activities" flat out, but it has invested time and money in institutions that either get permits for events like the "Patients First" tour or provide speakers to tea parties. And David Koch, Charles's brother and a more public benefactor of libertarian causes, took plenty of credit for this at last year's Americans for Prosperity summit in Washington.

By David Weigel  |  May 11, 2010; 11:36 AM ET
Categories:  Libertarians  
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