Wednesday, December 31, 2014

what would charles koch do?



HuffPo |  Charles Koch, the billionaire chairman and CEO of Koch Industries and leading conservative mega-donor, has set his sights on a new goal: reforming America's criminal justice system. 

In an interview with The Wichita Eagle published Saturday, Koch said his own experiences in courts -- including the time a federal grand jury indicted Koch Industries on 97 counts of environmental crimes in 2000 -- prompted him to study the justice system at both the state and federal level. In that particular case, centered on a Koch Petroleum Group refinery in Corpus Christi, Texas, prosecutors eventually dropped all but one of the charges after the corporation agreed to pay a settlement.

According to Koch's chief counsel Mark Holden, the case made the billionaire industrialist wonder "how the little guy who doesn't have Koch’s resources deals with prosecutions like that," the Eagle reports.

Koch and his brother David have gained notoriety as the bankrollers of Americans for Prosperity, a political advocacy group that backs candidates who favor slashing taxes and shrinking government. But the brothers have also quietly backed criminal justice reform for years, and sponsored a forum on the issue earlier this year. Charles Koch said he plans to ramp up his reform efforts in 2015.

"Over the next year, we are going to be pushing the issues key to this, which need a lot of work in this country," Koch told the Eagle. "And that would be freedom of speech, cronyism and how that relates to opportunities for the disadvantaged."