Over at CNN.com, Koch Foundation VP Kevin Gentry (archived bio here) has written a response to Cato chairman Bob Levy’s recent column, “Cato must not turn into a tool for Koch.” Gentry’s response–like David Koch’s March 22 statement, emphasizes the issue of board independence. As I’ve suggested before, they’d really do better to talk about something else. It’s hard to characterize what they’re doing as an effort to promote board independence.
I left a comment to Gentry’s article at CNN.com:
Kevin Gentry charges that Cato’s president and chairman want “a board that is responsive to and dependent upon them.”
But if board independence is so important to the Kochs, why is it that virtually everyone Charles and David Koch have nominated to our board in the two years since they reactivated the shareholder arrangement is financially entangled with and/or dependent on Charles and David Koch? Koch-backed appointees to Cato’s board now include the three largest shareholders of Koch Industries, a vice president at the Charles Koch Foundation, an authorized spokesperson for Koch Industries, and a distinguished Republican lawyer who represents Koch Industries. The Kochs also nominated the executive vice president of Koch Industries, a staff lawyer for Koch Industries, a staff lawyer for the Charles Koch Foundation, the president of a Koch-created nonprofit and former vice president of the Charles Koch Foundation; and a former Director of Federal Affairs for Koch Industries.
Also, in his byline above, “Gentry is a board member of the Cato Institute,” he neglects to mention that, as a VP at the Koch Foundation, he too works for Charles Koch.