Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
In 1979 he became the youngest person to hold the office of chair of the CDU youth group in the Main-Taunus district. From 1983 until 1987 he was vice-chair of the federal youth organization of the CDU. In 1985 he completed his studies to become a lawyer.
Until 1993 he was a city council member in his hometown of Eschborn. He was also a member of the Main-Taunus district council and parliamentary leader of the CDU group there from 1989 until 1997. In 1987 he was elected to the legislature of Hesse, where he became vice-chair of the CDU parliamentary group in 1991 and in 1993 chair. Since 1998 he has also been chair of the Hessian state party.
Koch is a rhetorically gifted politician, whom critics have accused of populism. In the state elections in 1999, the CDU began collecting signatures to document the resistance in the population to plans of the federal government to make dual citizenship easier for foreigners to obtain. Because some people viewed this action as "collecting signatures against foreigners", they viewed the campaign as xenophobic. Koch was able to win the election and displace the incumbent, Hans Eichel.
In early 2000 the Hessian CDU made headlines with a money laundering scandal dating back to 1983. Koch promised "the most brutal investigation possible" but tarnished his public image when it was discovered that he had not disclosed a back-dated loan agreement the party made. His party and its coalition partner, the FDP, ensured that he survived a vote of no confidence, despite the outrage in the media and the public over this affair.
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