Koch brothers challenge Trump over tariffs

Americans for Prosperity Foundation Chairman David Koch speaks in Orlando Fla. Koch is stepping down from the Koch brothers network of business and political activities. The 78-year-old cited health reasons in

Koch brothers challenge Trump over tariffs

David Koch's departure will change the makeup of one of the most active and well-funded political forces in the country that has been a bulwark in not just supporting but setting the Republican agenda - although not necessarily President Donald Trump's.

David, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer nearly two decades ago, is the executive vice president at Koch Industries.

Koch-backed groups, the Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, Americans for Prosperity and The LIBRE Initiative, announced the new campaign this week.

In a letter sent Tuesday morning to Koch Industries' employees, Charles Koch said his brother first announced his "declining health" in October 2016.

Using the money they made from their Kansas-based family business empire, the Koch brothers have created what is likely the nation's most powerful political organization with short- and long-term goals. "Because of this, David will be retiring from his responsibilities at Koch and other organizations".

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"We greatly appreciate his vital role on the board and all that he has done to help us build a strong foundation for our future success", Mark Holden, general counsel of Koch Industries and co-chairman of the semi-annual donor summits the political network hosts, said in a statement.

Koch's announcement came a day after groups backed by the two brothers said they would champion free trade and oppose tariffs with a multimillion-dollar campaign against U.S. president Donald Trump.

The Koch brothers were not full-throated in their support for Trump during the 2016 election.

This story is developing and updates may be added to this post.

Through a constellation of aligned groups, the network still plans to spend between $300 million and $400 million on politics and policy during the 2018 election cycle.

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Known simply as the Koch Brothers, Charles and David have been the object of obsession across the political spectrum. They have, however, distanced themselves from and disagreed with President Trump on a variety of issues.

David Koch, who now lives in NY, was raised in Wichita. He has also given $185 million in total donations to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, his alma mater. David Koch is a prostate cancer survivor and donated hundreds of millions of dollars to cancer research and medical facilities over the years.

According to an official bio, he has pledged or contributed more than $1.3 billion to assist various causes, including educational, arts and cultural institutions and public policy organizations. In 1980, he was the Libertarian Party's nominee for vice-president.

Although David Koch's involvement had been reduced in recent years, he still held several top positions within the Koch network, including as chairman of a foundation that supports Americans for Prosperity.

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