The Kochs’ money doesn’t just buy them elections — it buys them political influence over universities. For years, the brothers have been “donating” to colleges across the United States in an effort to advance their agenda. At Indiana University, the Kochs gave a $210,000 research grant to the school of public and environmental affairs.
However, as the students at IU have discovered, Koch money comes with strings attached. In a column for the Indiana Daily Student, graduate student Tristan Fitzpatrick expressed his concerns about the brothers’ influence over the school teaching about climate change:
The Union of Concerned Scientists, which advocates against misinformation of climate change, reported that foundations linked with the Koch brothers have donated millions of dollars to special interests that argue climate change is not caused by humans and is not a pressing political issue.
A group that routinely supplies false information about climate change, Americans for Prosperity, is one of the numerous organizations the Koch brothers fund in their attempt to influence public opinion on climate change.
Why are the Kochs so determined to throw money into convincing people climate change doesn’t exist?
The answer is because several of their businesses rely on environmentally toxic practices. One of those companies, according to Investopedia, is the Koch Pipeline Company. The company provides transportation for crude oil, natural gas and other resources that produce large amounts of carbon dioxide, a danger to the environment.
This isn’t the first grant the environmental school has seen either. Professor Doug Noonan received the $210,000 as an extension of a grant totaling $705,000 from the Charles Koch Foundation. The grant focused on developing researchers for a career in “public choice economics, decentralization.. and the political economy of regulation.” In other words, the Kochs were paying to train researchers to think in a way that helps big business like Koch Industries. Koch Vice President Kevin Gentry has even admitted that the Kochs investment in colleges was primarily to develop a “talent pipeline.”
When the bottom line is involved, the environment takes a back seat in their view.
When it comes to environmental policy research, accepting money from these cynics of global warming should be the last place one looks for reliable, scientifically sound sources of funding.
To protect the reputation of the School of Public and Environmental Affairs and the University in general, a commitment to finding these sources of funding must be made by each and every professor to prevent potential conflicts of interest from occurring.
Fitzpatrick hit the nail on the head. The Kochs interest in Indiana University and other colleges is purely self-satisfying. They aren’t “donating” or investing in the future — the Kochs are buying political capital to insure the safety of their bottom line.