In 2005, David Koch received a presidential appointment to the 18-member National Cancer Advisory Board. His term on the board expired in March 2010. The NCAB review grants and gifts for the National Cancer Institute. It is not responsible for scientific reviews or for providing input on scientific recommendations – these are the responsibility of other organizations such as the NCI. As a cancer survivor and a significant supporter of cancer research, David Koch’s service on the NCAB is another way he gives his time to support this important cause.
Some have criticized David Koch’s participation on the board, claiming that it created an inherent conflict of interest because Georgia-Pacific, a Koch company, produces formaldehyde, a substance some organizations want to have regulated as a carcinogen. This criticism of David Koch is entirely unfounded.
The NCAB does not have responsibility over scientific reviews or recommendations, including those by the National Cancer Institute. In fact, the National Cancer Institute already has made a determination with respect to formaldehyde without any input from David Koch or the NCAB. The issue of formaldehyde has never been before the NCAB. David Koch’s involvement on the NCAB did not impact the determination of formaldehyde by other organizations, and there was no conflict of interest in his participation in this worthwhile endeavor.
That critics would seek to fault David Koch for his participation on the National Cancer Advisory Board simply underscores the complete lack of objectivity of these individuals.