Charles & David Koch, owners of Koch Industries, are responsible for much of the mayhem that Robert Reich called the Republican “coup d’état” in Wisconsin. And the Koch Brothers are big contributors to ALEC, the Republican state-law-writing organization that’s funded mainly by corporations.
So maybe you were curious about Koch Industries. If so, here’s a handy guide:
Koch Industries, (pronounced “coke”), is the largest privately owned company in the United States with 70,000 employees and annual sales of $100 billion in the fiscal year ending December of 2008.  … The company operates crude gathering systems and pipelines across North America. One subsidiary processes 800,000 barrels of crude oil daily in its three refineries.
Koch also owns ranches with a total of 15,000 head of cattle in Kansas, Montana and Texas. Though diversified, the company amassed most of its fortune in oil trading and refining. 
Their founder, the father of Charles and David, is an interesting fellow:
The company was started in 1927 by Fred Koch, a charter member of the John Birch Society, with an oil delivery business in Texas.
David Koch helped found the Cato Institute in 1977. Cato advances a lot of curious positions, such as Social Security privatization and climate-change denial. Cato funds a large group of like-minded think tanks, and they’re pretty good friends with a guy named “Phillip Morris” — still.
Koch Industries acquired Georgia-Pacific in 2005, which it now operates as a subsidiary. You may have heard of them. They make:
- Georgia-Pacific paper for your printer
- Brawny paper towels
- Dixie cups
- Northern bath tissue
- Angel Soft bath tissue
And other nice things you may own.
Brawny. Northern. Dixie. Georgia-Pacific. Kind of rolls off the tongue. Nice names to remember.
SourceWatch is an interesting site, isn’t it? (By the way, since the first drive for contributions to the Wisconsin Recall was so successful — thanks, readers! — we’ve decided to continue the campaign. Please contribute if you haven’t already. Again, thanks!)