Why is Smithsonian Taking Koch’s Cash?

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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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It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

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We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

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Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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