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Documents Shine New Light on Koch Brothers’ Early Efforts to Abolish the Department of Energy

Read time: 8 mins
David Koch and Ed Clark

A scheme to abolish the Department of Energy (DOE) helped spur a failed 1980 Libertarian Party presidential bid — and in the process laid the groundwork for Charles and David Koch's powerful network of influence — as documents from a newly published archive show.

The documents in the new KochDocs.org archive include a relatively little-noticed column penned by fossil fuel industrialist Charles Koch for the Libertarian Review in August 1977, in which Charles, who had served as a member of President Carter’s energy task force in 1976, argued against Carter’s energy policy, writing that the “only ‘certainty’ to be associated with governmental planning is that it will not work, will tend to produce results opposite to those intended, and will doom any substantial private long-range planning in energy development.”

Within three years, the Energy Department had been established by federal law — and its abolishment had become a central plank of the Libertarian Party’s 1980 presidential campaign, which featured Ed Clark as its presidential candidate and Koch IndustriesDavid Koch as his running-mate. 

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