USA conservative force David Koch retires because of failing health

USA conservative force David Koch retires because of failing health

Powerful US billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch are funding a multi-million dollar campaign against President Donald Trump's trade tariffs. Here is an excerpt from the note sent to staff.

The 78-year-old NY resident is suffering from deteriorating health, according to a letter from older brother Charles Koch sent to company officials Tuesday. "As a result, he is unable to be involved in business and other organizational activities", wrote Charles. Last fall, Vice President Pence traveled to NY to rally David Koch and a group of about 100 other donors to back a Republican tax-cut plan.

Charles Koch, who will stay on as chairman and chief executive of Koch Industries, said his brother was "instrumental" in expanding the business they inherited from their father "1,000 fold" and branching out beyond energy into a host of other products.

After pointedly declining to support Donald Trump during the 2016 campaign, the Koch brothers made a decision to embrace pieces of the administration's policy agenda after he won the election.

This story is developing and updates may be added to this post.

The network, which includes about 700 like-minded donors who commit to giving at least $100,000 a year, plans to spend $400 million in policy and politics before the 2018 elections, the group's largest midterm investment.

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But Koch is perhaps better known for his work as an industrialist and his support for libertarian political causes.

Koch didn't run for office again, but has become an influential figure in Republican circles through his backing of the Seminar Network, a network of donors and organizations cofounded by Charles in 2003.

An infusion of money into media, grassroots mobilization, lobbying and policy analysis into the domestic debate on free trade could embolden Republican candidates in the November congressional elections to part ways with the president on the issue.

Koch, who now lives in NY with his family, will continue to serve on some boards of organizations to which he has philanthropic ties. He earned two degrees in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the early 1960s. He gifted $128 million to New York Presbyterian Hospital, $26.5 million to the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, $26.2 million to the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, $20 million to Johns Hopkins University, $10 million to Mount Sinai Medical Center and $10 million to the children's hospital at Stanford University for allergy research. Koch officials said David Koch's donations and pledges to non-profit groups have topped $1.3 billion.

Although David Koch's involvement had been reduced in recent years, he still held several top positions within the Koch network, including as chairman of a foundation that supports Americans for Prosperity.

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