George Mason University becomes a favorite of Charles Koch

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) — George Mason University has become a conservative powerhouse in economics and law thanks in part to the millions of dollars it gets every year from billionaire Republican donor Charles Koch.

The CEO of Koch Industries is one of several billionaires who donate large amounts to higher education. But the Koch Foundation gives far more to Mason than it does to any other school.

Some critics say the funding raises questions about academic independence at the public school outside the nation's capital. Mason uses the money primarily to fund free-market think tanks ideologically aligned with Koch.

Supporters say Koch's philanthropy is criticized only because of his political influence.

Tax records show the Charles Koch Foundation has given roughly $45 million to Mason over the past four years. That accounts for more than half of the foundation's entire giving over that span.