5. Kansas : Charles Koch
Charles and David Koch’s spheres of influence span business, philanthropy and politics. The lightning-rod capitalist brothers continue to add to their empire, plunking down more than $5 billion on acquisitions in 2014. Charles has been chair of Koch Industries since 1967, overseeing massive growth of what is now the second-biggest private company in America, behind commodities giant Cargill. Their reach extends from oil pipelines, refineries and manufacturers of building materials to paper towels and even Dixie Cups.
They were relative pikers in the 2014 midterm elections, spending about $2.5 million each on Republican races, but the Washington Post reported that they have exhorted their conservative compatriots to raise almost $1 billion for the 2016 presidential election. The Kochs are also active philanthropists. In mid-2014, a $25 million gift from Koch Industries and the Charles Koch Foundation to the United Negro College Fund sparked discussion on the left and right.
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