Last year, a staffer for Charles and David Koch’s network of philanthropic institutions laid out the billionaire brothers’ strategy to spread their views on economic freedom.
Political success, Kevin Gentry told a crowd of elite supporters attending the annual Koch meeting in Dana Point, California, begins with reaching young minds in college lecture halls, thereby preparing bright, libertarian-leaning students to one day occupy the halls of political power.
“The [Koch] network is fully integrated, so it’s not just work at the universities with the students, but it’s also building state-based capabilities and election capabilities and integrating this talent pipeline,” he said.
“So you can see how this is useful to each other over time,” he continued. “No one else has this infrastructure. We’re very excited about doing it.”
These quotes come from an audio recording of the meeting obtained by the Center for Public Integrity (which produced this story in partnership with The Atlantic) from the producers of the web-video program “The Undercurrent.”
Higher education has become a top Koch priority in recent years. And their funding—as well as pushback against it—is increasing. During 2013, a pair of private charitable foundations Charles Koch leads and personally bankrolls combined to spread more than $19.3 million across 210 college campuses in 46 states and the District of Columbia, according to a Center for Public Integrity analysis of Internal Revenue Service tax filings.