Conservative american billionaire republican donor, David koch is dead

New York: Conservative billionaire David Koch, who became a household name through the policy and political empire he created with his older brother, Charles, has died. He was 79.

Charles Koch, the CEO of the family's industrial conglomerate Koch Industries, announced the death Friday.

"It is with a heavy heart that I announce the passing of my brother David. Anyone who worked with David surely experienced his giant personality and passion for life," the elder Koch said in a statement. The statement did not cite a cause of death but noted David Koch's decades-old battle with prostate cancer. He is survived by his wife Julia and their three children.

Koch retired from the company and the Koch political operations in 2018, citing health reasons.

The Koch brothers were best known for their role in politics, and they used their vast wealth to build a sprawling array of think tanks, foundations and political groups to spread their small-government, free-market message. In some elections, the Koch network rivalled the spending and scope of the national Republican Party, and analysts view their activism as helping to have fueled the Tea Party movement.

Koch's death is not expected to bring major changes to the network founded by Charles Koch and now overseen on a day-to-day basis by his top lieutenant Brian Hooks.

The organisation already was in midst of transformation when David Koch stepped away from his formal roles. The Koch groups now are called Stand Together and have made more investments in philanthropy and policy issues, such as K-12 education.

David Koch was most active in Americans for Prosperity, the grassroots arm of the Koch's sprawling network, which built a coalition of more than 3 million activists to push the agenda of the Kochs and the roughly 700 like-minded donors to help fund their public policy work.

But in the era of President Donald Trump -- whom Charles Koch pointedly declined to support in 2016 -- the network has undergone a significant shift in focus, upping its commitment to work across party lines on top priorities, such as promoting free trade and creating a path to permanent legal status for undocumented immigrants brought to the US as young children.

In June, Americans for Prosperity announced four new political action committees and said it would wade into primaries to help incumbent politicians, including Democrats, who side with Koch on trade, immigration and other issues.

David Koch himself entered politics decades ago, waging an unsuccessful bid as the Libertarian Party's vice presidential nominee in 1980 with Ed Clark. They won just 1 per cent of the vote.

Koch was born on May 3, 1940 to Fred Koch -- an ultra-conservative businessman who was a founding member of the John Birch Society -- and Mary Koch.

David was one of four Koch brothers: Frederick, the oldest; Charles; and William, David's fraternal twin.

Charles, who was groomed at a young age to take over the family's oil business, and David prevailed in a years-long feud with Frederick and William to retain control of a company that would become one of the country's largest industrial empires.

The two brothers largely made their fortune through Koch Industries, an industrial conglomerate and one of the world's largest private companies, the company is engaged in everything from oil refining to making consumer products such as Brawny paper towels. In March, Forbes listed both Koch brothers as the 11th wealthiest men in the world, with an estimated individual worth of $50.5 billion.


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