The Threat to Cato’s Independence

You may have heard about the lawsuit that Charles and David Koch have filed against the Cato Institute, in which they ask a Kansas court to give them majority control of Cato. You may even have heard from Koch spokespeople about the effort.

I want you to know: We believe this effort is a direct threat to the independence, nonpartisanship, and libertarianism of the Cato Institute. Koch control would gravely damage 35 years of hard work by our Board, officers, staff, and donors to build the Cato Institute’s brand and reputation and to make Cato, as George Will put it, "the foremost upholder of the idea of liberty in the nation that is the foremost upholder of the idea of liberty." We intend to fight this threat. And we intend to win and to preserve our independence.

Let me note that we at Cato are immensely grateful for the support we received from Charles and David Koch up until a couple of years ago (about 4 percent of our budget in the past decade), and we admire their donations to many other libertarian causes as well. This dispute isn’t personal, we’re not trying to demonize the Kochs. We just don’t think a think tank can retain its credibility if it’s perceived to be


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