There's been plenty written about the Koch brothers, but a new book offers a fresh take on the controversial family. Prominent among the pages of Jane Mayer's Dark Money is the claim the Koch clan was among a group of rich families that brought to fruition, through their fortunes and activism, today's conservative movement, all while keeping their own interests safe, the New York Times reports. Also in the book: that David and Charles' father, Fred C. Koch, partnered up with a US Nazi sympathizer to help build a Third Reich oil refinery in Germany that was approved by Hitler himself. The Koch family, along with other wealthy donors, including an heir to the Mellon fortune and the "ultra-rich, ultra-conservative DeVos family," "were among a small, rarefied group of hugely wealthy, archconservative families that for decades poured money, often with little public disclosure, into influencing how the Americans thought and voted," a segment reads, per the Times.
The book asserts that the Koch family would hide behind nonprofits to fund anti-government/anti-tax movements in DC and at a statewide level—"often leaving no fingerprints" and "all under the guise of promoting the public interest"—with recent fights including a push against climate change initiatives. Mayer also claims to have some family dirt, too: During a prolonged "brutal battle", David's twin, William, tried to wrest the family business away from David and Charles, and in a 1982 deposition, William says he helped his brothers try to blackmail their oldest brother, Frederick, by threatening to expose he was gay. A Koch Industries rep tells the Times that company bigwigs haven't read the book, but if the content "is reflective of Ms. Mayer's previous reporting of the Koch family, Koch Industries or Charles' and David's political involvement, then we expect to have deep disagreements and strong objections to her interpretation of the facts and their sourcing." (Read more Koch Brothers stories.)