By Charlotte Alter
April 22, 2015

When Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards met well-known donor to conservative causes David Koch at the Time 100 gala Tuesday night, she didn’t bring up their divergent views on social issues — instead, she praised him for his commitment to criminal justice reform.

Richards told the billionaire industrialist during a conversation with TIME that she was “grateful for what you’re doing in criminal justice,” and Koch answered that reform was “well-needed.”

As well as pledging to spend nearly a billion dollars to elect conservative candidates in the 2016 elections, Koch and his brother Charles have recently stepped up their efforts to lobby for prison reform. Mark Holden, senior vice president and general counsel at Koch Industries, told TIME in January that the issue was “sweeping in a lot of unusual, non-traditional allies, and I think it’s a good thing.”

Koch also told Richards the story of how he got involved with philanthropy. After surviving a plane crash, he said, he realized that “this is a spiritual experience and I’m going to spend the rest of my life doing philanthropic projects.”

The 2015 TIME 100 honoree also told TIME why he likes Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, reinforcing the notion that the Republican presidential hopeful might be the favored candidate of the influential brothers.

Write to Charlotte Alter at charlotte.alter@time.com.

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