Bill Koch, the Palm Beach billionaire who criticized his brothers' support of libertarian causes and has long escaped notice on the national political stage, is emerging as a major supporter of Mitt Romney.
Huron Carbon, a subsidiary of Koch's West Palm Beach-based Oxbow Corp., donated $1 million to Romney's Restore Our Future "super PAC" last month. That brings Koch's Restore Our Future donations to a total of $2 million, including $750,000 Oxbow contributed last year and $250,000 Koch gave on his own.
Such visible support of the GOP presidential candidate has attracted national media attention to Koch, who was once known more for his wine collection and romantic entanglements. When New Times published a profile of Koch last August, his spokesman, Brad Goldstein, said Koch's political leanings
were "hard to pin down." But Goldstein added that Koch knew Romney from Massachusetts and Romney's tenure at Bain Capital. Plus, Koch was unhappy with Obama.
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"He does not agree with the president's economic policies," Goldstein said. "This administration has made it extremely difficult for businesses to operate."
Oxbow is an oil, gas, and coal company based in West Palm Beach. Huron Carbon is based at the same address. Goldstein said the Obama administration has made it tougher to get mining permits, and Koch thinks Romney would be more "pro-business."
As governor of Massachusetts, Romney also opposed an offshore wind farm in Nantucket Sound -- a project Bill Koch spent more than $1.5 million fighting.
Koch's brothers, Charles and David Koch, are oil barons who became known as the sugar daddies behind the Tea Party. Read the full story of "The Other Koch Brother" here.