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A New Book Claims the Father of the Koch Brothers Helped the Nazis Refine Oil

America's most famous dark money may have its origins in something even darker.
Image by Dave Miller via Flickr

Fred C. Koch, the father of noted right-wing billionaires Charles and David Koch, partnered with the Nazis to increase the Third Reich's ability to generate fossil fuels in the lead up to World War II, according toDark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right, a new book on the Koch family due to be released on January 19.

According to a review by New York Times political reporter Nick Confessore, the book explains that among the elder Koch's early overseas business ventures was a German oil refinery he built with William Rhodes Davis, an American businessman who in 1939advocated a Nazi peace plan to the US State Department.


According to the book's author, New Yorker staff writer Jane Mayer, Davis hired Koch to oversee construction of what would become the third-largest oil refinery in Nazi Germany, a move that would have been critical to Hitler's military ambitions at the time. Davis' collaboration with the Nazis on the construction of a refinery in 1933 has already beenwell-documented.

According to the Koch Industries website, Fred Koch started out in business after he "developed an improved method of converting heavy oil into gasoline in 1927." He died in 1967, passing control of his business to his son Charles. David came on board at Koch Industries three years later.

Today, Charles and David, who are tied as the sixth richest people in the world, are arguably the two most powerful figures in American right-wing politics in the US. Together, the brothers have pledged to spend $889 million on the 2016 election—money that will almost certainly go toward electing Republican candidates who ascribe to the Kochs' free-market, small-government ideology.

The Times reached out to the Kochs for a response and heard back from a spokesman, who said he hadn't yet read Mayer's book, but that the Kochs "expect to have deep disagreements and strong objections to her interpretation of the facts and their sourcing."

In 2010, Mayer referred to the Koch political agenda as an attempt to "drastically lower personal and corporate taxes, minimal social services for the needy, and much less oversight of industry—especially environmental regulation," adding that "these views dovetail with the brothers' corporate interests."

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