Primary Sources :
Documents and Recordings from Koch

Anti-Capitalism and Business (1974): a speech by Charles Koch as chair of Institute for Humane Studies, on how universities “encourage extreme hostility to American business,” and rather than “financing our own destruction,” businesses must “[support] only those programs, departments or schools that ‘contribute in some way to our individual companies or to the general welfare of our free enterprise system.'” Koch advises that “educational programs are superior to political action, and support of talented free-market scholars is preferable to mass advertising. The development of a well financed cadre of sound proponents of the free enterprise philosophy is the most critical need facing us at the moment.” He references the Powell Memo (see below).


The Structure of Social Change (late 1970s): the Koch foundation’s three-part “integrated strategy” for privately funded policy change, where donors fund universities to produce “intellectual raw materials,” think tanks to convert raw to “usable form,” and political front groups to provide the appearance of public support, inducing lawmakers in the “implementation of policy change.” It is referred to as an “integrated strategy.” 


Benson Memo (2007): a memo sent from Bruce Benson, the chair of Florida State University’s Department of Economics, to the economics faculty, describing very clearly that the Koch foundation and a “a group of Foundations with similar agendas that meet twice a year to discuss funding strategies,” whose “agenda is to expose students to free-market ideas, and to provide opportunities for students who want to study with faculty who share Koch’s appreciation for markets and distrust of government. The proposal is, therefore, not to just give us money to hire anyone we want and fund any graduate student that we choose. There are constraints.” 


Leveraging Science and Universities (2014): panel discussion at Koch 2014 Donor Summit where Koch officials (Kevin Gentry and Ryan Stowers) confirm the use of the “integrated strategy,” and bragged about how their academic programs act as a “talent pipeline” to to “become the major staffing” at Koch network think tanks and “grassroots” front groups, to bolster “state-­based capabilities and election capabilities.” (Recordings obtained by the Undercurrent.)


Recordings from the 2016 conference of the Association of Private Enterprise Education (2016): Koch officials describe contractual control and the political goals of academic programs, while Koch professors describe using large private donations to “take over” departments, using their foundations/principles courses “primarily as a recruiting ground” for Koch’s “liberty movement,” while others “outsource to Students for Liberty.” 


The Powell Memo (1971): a memo from corporate attorney Lewis Powell to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. It is a blueprint for corporate survival in the face off of the civil rights, labor, and environmental gains made in the 1960s. Powell, later a Supreme Court Justice, included clear instructions for the corporate subversion universities and media.