Why is Smithsonian Taking Koch’s Cash?


Koch Industries and its billionaire leaders are among the biggest funders of the climate denial machine. And now Koch money is funding a new wing of one our nation’s museums of record, the Smithsonian. In March, the National Museum of Natural History opened the David H. Koch Hall of Human Origins, after the billionaire polluter donated $15 million.

The museum has defended Koch, the ninth richest man in the United States, as a “philanthropist who is deeply interested in science.” Moreover, Smithsonian Human Origins Program director Rick Potts said, “our donors have no control over the content of our science or scholarship of our exhibits.” Climate Progress blogger Joe Romm, however, argues that the new exhibit “whitewashes the danger of human caused climate change.” See his post for more on the subject.

Think Progress has also been doing a bang-up job of covering David Koch’s anti-environmental work. Lee Fang today has a timeline of Koch’s polluter front groups dating back to 1977.

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  • Kate Sheppard was a staff reporter in Mother Jones' Washington bureau from 2009 to 2013. She is now a senior reporter and the energy and environment editor at The Huffington Post. She can be reached by email at kate (dot) sheppard (at) huffingtonpost (dot) com and you can follow her on Twitter @kate_sheppard.