The public is starting to catch up with the reality that Charles Koch is not only a major spender on building his own ideological institutions. Over the past decade, Koch has funded colleges and universities to bend them in his direction, often funding "free-market" academic centers. Mostly through his personal foundation, Koch gave $108 million to 366 colleges and universities from 2005 to 2014 and still more since then: for example, $10 million for George Mason University's School of Law, which will be renamed after late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia; $2 million to Western Carolina University to establish a free-market center; and over $4.1 million approved for future payment to several schools according to the foundation's 2014 990 tax form.
Some of these grants come with strings attached. At Florida State University, the initial memorandum of understanding between the Charles Koch Foundation (CKF) and the school's economics department gave the foundation control over hiring decisions and the curriculum.
With his grants, Koch is installing libertarian-minded economics professors at hundreds of universities, so how do these professors coordinate their free-market agenda?
In April, activist group UnKoch My Campus attended the latest conference of the Association of Private Enterprise Education (APEE), self-described as "an association of teachers and scholars from colleges and universities, public policy institutes, and industry with a common interest in studying and supporting the system of private enterprise." Left out of this description are details about who these figures really are: Koch-funded academics, "experts" from Koch-funded think tanks and big business representatives.
The Koch academic network has "nearly 5,000 scholars," according to Ryan Stowers, Vice President of CKF. Hundreds flock to the APEE conference very year.