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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

One may start the day at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. On the way in, you’ll pass through the new David H. Koch Plaza — the result of a $65 million gift from David H. Koch.

After lunch, cross Central Park to the American Museum of Natural History, and marvel at the giant stegosaurus of the tiny brain. You will find him and other prehistoric remains in the David H. Koch Dinosaur Wing, funded with a $20 million check penned by David H. Koch.

Yes, that’s the same David H. Koch who, with his famous brothers, finances right-wing campaigns against environmental laws, taxes and really any public obligation that might inconvenience the heirs to the Koch Industries fortune. David does sprinkle a few million on think tanks that spread the word. And he pays for parties in red states to train the Tea Party troops to curse government and quietly submit to being polluted upon by the various subsidiaries of Kansas-based Koch Industries.

But personally, he’ll take Manhattan, where he lives in grand style surrounded by liberals. There he talks up his fairly progressive views on social matters that don’t impact his bottom line. Neighbors running the cultural and scientific institutions are delighted to have him on their boards and thank him profusely for his contributions.

Some humorless New York liberals may grumble at Koch’s ubiquity while basking in his munificence. About which, the night is still young.

Cocktails and then off to the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center. Home of the New York City Ballet, the building ceased to be called the New York State Theater after a fix-up funded with $100 million from David H. Koch.

Should you slip on the theater’s magnificent inlaid marble floor and fracture bones, you may be rushed to the David H. Koch Pavilion at the Hospital for Special Surgery, overlooking the East River. The billionaire gave the hospital $25 million.

Soon you won’t have to leave Manhattan’s Upper East Side for superb outpatient care. The future David H. Koch Center is being built by New York-Presbyterian Hospital. Koch’s gift of $100 million is the largest in the hospital’s history.

Nearby, at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, state-of-the-art treatments are being supported by a $67 million gift from David H. Koch.

Not all the charity stays in Manhattan, though. For example, the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is the fruit of a $100 million gift from you-know-who.

You have to appreciate this: Not far from MIT, brother Bill Koch owns a 26-acre waterfront estate in plush Osterville, on Cape Cod. (David prefers to summer in the Hamptons.) Bill has fought with money and legal brass knuckles against a wind farm planned for Nantucket Sound.

Now, Koch Industries’ oil-coal-chemical empire is considered one of the nation’s worst polluters, its leaks, spills and chemical explosions visited mostly in the red states. But when wind turbines were proposed for his yachting grounds off Massachusetts, Bill complained they would cause “visual pollution.”

The conservative crusade to shrink government has already slashed federal spending on science and culture, with interesting results. Federal funding traditionally spreads to all regions. The more these budgets are cut, the more nonprofit organizations must depend on the generosity of billionaires.

Billionaire giving tends to favor elite institutions, which are concentrated in New York, California, Massachusetts and a few other progressive states. That’s also where the billionaires are concentrated and where they receive invitations to party and give.

So in the end, the strangle-government movement enhances the competitive advantage of the liberal powerhouses. Another irony of red-state politics to throw on the pile.

Follow Froma Harrop on Twitter @FromaHarrop. She can be reached at [email protected] To find out more about Froma Harrop and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Web page at

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

  • howa4x

    Funny that his largess is going to blue NYC, and not Red Kansas

    • Independent1

      It’s probably like some posted earlier on this blog thread – the Koch’s just love notoriety (seeing their name everywhere and as many other folks as possible seeing it everywhere) and apparently they must believe that some metropolises in blue states like California, Massachusetts and New York will attract the most visitors, and therefore present them with the best opportunity for people to go Ooohhh and Aaaahhh about all those buildings with the name Koch on them. How many outsiders are really attracted to Kansas??

      • The simpler explanation is that they know their “political views” are total crap that will, if ever fully implemented, will turn America into a polluted third world hell, but that they couldn’t give a crap less just as long as they personally do not have to view it.

        So they make all of their money pissing on the red states, while they live comfortably in the blue states that know better than to let them pull that kind of crap.

  • Allan Richardson

    Most people, liberal and conservative alike, if they had the Kochs’ money, would spend more time in Manhattan and Los Angeles than in Oklahoma City or Topeka (even if their legal residence were in one of those conservative places), because they are MORE PLEASANT places to live if you are prosperous enough.

    • Charlotte Sines

      Of course, LA and Manhattan have much bigger populations than Oklahoma City and Topeka which means more people will see how much money the Kochs give away. Do you really think they would give all that money to charity if they were not able to brag about it? It is nice that they do these donations but if they really cared about people other than themselves, they would do whatever is necessary to help clean up the environment they have done so much to help destroy.

      • orwellsworstnightmare

        Well said, Charlotte. The Koch’s are the most self-serving narcissists and ego-maniacs in the world. Aside from getting their name on the side of a building or in a wing of a museum or hospital, the “donate” to control institutions and bend them to their will. In the end, it’s all about forcing their belief system on others and making themselves richer at the expense of everyone and everything else even though they already have $100 billion dollars.

    • Yet the direct correlation between left-leaning tendencies and appeal to billionaires never succeeds in penetrating the conservative Fox News bubble.

  • Elliot J. Stamler

    I live in Manhattan. I don’t agree with David Koch’s politics and I’m a Democrat. But facts are facts-truth is truth. Mr. Koch is a huge philanthropist in NYC and his philanthropy benefits hundreds of thousands of people. To denigrate this because one disagrees with his political or business activities is itself disingenuous and unfair.

    • JPHALL

      You missed the point. His largesse aids some of the same people his politics hurt. For example: the Arts, Medicine, Science and the environment. But lets be truthful, most of this giving is camouflage for the rest of his agenda.

      • Elliot J. Stamler

        No, YOU miss the point. You feel anyone with whom you politically disagree is ipso facto evil and immoral and so anything they do that is creditable is to be assailed. So how do you, Mr/Ms Hall, differ from the Tea Partiers who employ the same intolerance of liberals?

        • JPHALL

          I disagree with many and agree with some. Goldwater and others like him I have no problems with. They spoke the truth as they knew it. They did not use race like Daddy Bushto get elected. With Cheney / Bush I have major problems. I hate liars, and thus I hate the far right wing. People like Kenndeb, Mike, paulyz, joe schmo and their ilk give nothing but lies and venom. They never can proof their statements.
          Subject: Re: comment on David Koch Loves Manhattan

          • Michael Peterson

            Well said JP