Money and Democracy

Published — July 1, 2011 Updated — May 19, 2014 at 12:19 pm ET

Koch fined for making 12 illegal campaign contributions that it self-reported


A foreign subsidiary of Koch Industries has been fined $4,700 by the Federal Election Commission for making 12 illegal donations totaling $26,800 to seven non-federal committees over a four-year period.

Invista S.a.r.l., a Koch subsidiary which is registered in Luxembourg but headquartered in Wichita, Kan., came to the FEC voluntarily with information that it made the illegal donations during the years 2005 through 2009.

Under federal election law, foreign companies are barred from making donations to candidates or committees in federal, state or local elections.

According to an FEC settlement with Invista that was posted Friday, the contributions included six that were made in 2007 to state candidates, a state PAC and a party committee totaling $22,100. The others six were made in 2005, 2006 and 2009.

All the donations were made from Invista’s corporate funds, which were in U.S. banks but originated abroad, according to the FEC.

Invista was acquired by Koch, one of the country’s largest private companies, in 2004 from DuPont. Invista makes and distributes a wide range of fibers and fabrics. All of Invista’s senior employees are U.S. citizens.

Campaign finance attorneys note that smaller civil penalties are often levied when the FEC is contacted with disclosures, which Koch did in August 2010. A counsel that provides Koch with political law compliance services alerted the company to the contributions several months earlier and an internal probe was initiated.

All of the donations have been returned except for one which the company must retrieve as part of its FEC agreement.

Koch is a major player in conservative political circles, through the contributions of its corporate PAC as well as multimillion-dollar donations from the billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch.

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