Koch's Latest Distraction: False Transparency

Koch Pledges to Continue hiding Decades of influence

The Wall Street Journal just published an article "Charles Koch Foundation to Publish Future University Grant Agreements" wherein it was announced that “the Charles Koch Foundation says it will post online all future multi-year grant agreements with universities, aiming to head off some of the controversy surrounding the libertarian philanthropic group’s growing ambitions on college campuses around the country.”

The Koch Foundation's Brian Hooks was quoted as saying “There has been a lot of mischaracterization of our grants in the past. The opportunity to be crystal-clear about how our foundation interacts with universities is a good opportunity.” While we’d challenge Brian for proof that we've mischaracterized the Koch Foundation’s agreements, the more obvious falsehood is that this clarifies anything.

Unless they are going to release all past agreements, and documentation for all their programs, Koch is not providing clarity.   Until then, Mr. Hooks and the Koch Foundation are simply executing a strategic pivot to distract from the ways in which past and current donor agreements continue to violate academic principles and policies on potentially hundreds of campuses, and they are proposing that they be allowed to continue leveraging undue influence for private gain.

The Koch Foundation has updated its Giving Principles webpage to insist that “faculty call the shots.” We have documented time and time again the examples of donor influence leveraged by their contracts.

The Koch Foundation also claims that “We provide online our template grant agreements for major gifts so potential grantees can see how we operate.”

 CLICK TO READ KOCH'S ANTI-TRANSPARENCY PRIVISION

CLICK TO READ KOCH'S ANTI-TRANSPARENCY PRIVISION

This was only a recent development, and the “template” is missing provisions that are ubiquitous in the agreements that we’ve found, specifically the provisions that prevent donor transparency.

The Koch Foundation has demonstrated a strong disregard for shared faculty governance and academic freedom since it first attempted to establish an ideological center at Rutgers University in the 1980’s, which faculty rejected (Cohen, 1991, pg 26).

In the past, Koch’s agreements we not only kept out of public view, but the contracts required “Foundation and the University agree to keep confidential and not to disclose to any third party the existence of or contents of this Agreement without express written approval from the Donor" (CKF, 2015)

We reject the idea that Koch’s proposal is genuine.

If it was, then surely they'd agree to release universities from their anti-transparency clauses, and to release all of their current and past agreements.

-UnKoch, July 24, 2018