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.
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His new mission has precipitated some unlikely alliances. The Eagle reports that Koch has unofficially teamed up with progressive mega-donor George Soros and the American Civil Liberties Union to address prison reform. Koch has also earned praise from outgoing U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who told The Marshall Project that Koch’s donation to the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, which funds training for attorneys who represent those in need, was a positive force. According to reports, Koch has been a supporter of the organization since 2004.
Such a dastardly move by the Koch brothers. What pernicious deeds will they think of next?