You might have heard about the recent
purchase gift to Florida State University’s economics department that gives a Charles Koch-funded group veto power over who is appointed to the department. I’ve known for a while that Koch has been influencing political science and economics departments: the Mercatus Center of George Mason University has been funded by Koch to promote laissez-faire economics. But I was shocked to discover that he’s also been funding my alma mater, Brown University–which is supposedly a liberal bastion of hippiedom (or something):
The Charles Koch Foundation funds the Political Theory Project at Brown, which provides funding for “Seminar Luncheons for undergraduates, academic conferences, research fellowships for graduate students, support for faculty research, and a postdoctoral fellowship program.” Amity Shales, a pop-conservative writer who argues that the New Deal made the Great Depression worse, an odd theory promoted by Charles Koch himself, has been a featured speaker at the Koch-funded Project at Brown. Moreover, Koch’s donation of at least $419,254 to Brown has underwritten a number of research projects in the Economics and Political Science deparments, including a paper arguing that bank deregulation has helped the poor.
Between this and sitting on Goldman-Sachs’ board of directors, I’m starting to doubt Brown President Ruth Simmons’ judgement.