Charles Koch Foundation gives $2.2m to Penn Law School

Charles Koch donated $2.2 million to the University of Pennsylvania law school.

The foundation of libertarian Charles Koch has a given a grant of up to $2.2 million to the University of Pennsylvania law school for research on ways to improve fairness in the criminal justice system.

The funding, from the Charles Koch Foundation, will go to the Quattrone Center for the Fair Administration of Justice at the law school. The center focuses on whether the rights of disadvantaged populations are adequately protected when they interact with the criminal justice system.

One study last year of hundreds of thousands of criminal cases in Philadelphia and the Houston area found criminal defendants who couldn't make cash bail were more likely to plead guilty and become trapped in a cycle of criminal conduct.

The billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch made a fortune in petrochemicals and manufacturing with their Wichita, Kan.-based Koch Industries. Democrats have criticized their extensive political giving, claiming it distorts the legislative process.

The gift to Penn law school is but one of several that the foundation has announced in recent months, including a $3.25 million grant to Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law last October.

Penn said the Koch foundation gift would further its work in finding ways to improve fairness in the criminal justice system.

“With the generous support of the Charles Koch Foundation, the Quattrone Center will expand on its groundbreaking, cross disciplinary work advancing the study of criminal justice,” said Penn Law dean Ted Ruger. “These efforts will help victims of injustice caught within the criminal justice system.”