Koch Brothers Money Hasn’t Bought as Much as You Think
Democrats have made denouncing the Koch brothers and their money a fetish. Back in 2010, for instance, Barack Obama called them out by name when he chided campaign finance laws: “They don’t have to say who, exactly, Americans for Prosperity are.” It’s true that entities started and mostly funded by the Koch brothers are using just a small part of the pair’s astounding $80 billion fortune to finance a fusillade of TV and Internet ads aimed at “big government.”
Their network of think tanks, foundations and the like is all the more formidable since the Citizens United Supreme Court decision allowing more money into elections. (Is it a shock that the eponymous conservative group, Citizens United, co-hosted New Hampshire’s Freedom Summit?)
But in recent weeks, with the midterm elections little more than six months away, Democrats have gone from grumbling about the Kochs to gunning for them. Their worry is that Koch-funded entities, like the AFP, have begun to spend eye-popping sums. In North Carolina, for instance, where freshman senator Kay Hagan is fighting to retain her seat, the AFP has already spent over $6 million in ads against her.
With the Democrats possibly losing control of the Senate, Harry Reid, their leader in that chamber, has gone after the Kochs with what seems like unprecedented language against private citizens. The Nevadan has called the Kochs “un-American” for “trying to buy America” and mentioned them over 100 times on the Senate floor.
Reid has said that his wife came up with a tagline: that the Senate Republicans are “addicted to Koch.” (That’s some pillow talk.) Using the Senate floor to denounce the Kochs “is a desperation move of somebody who’s about to potentially lose their job,” says Steve Lombardo, the new chief communications and marketing officer at Koch Industries, recently recruited from PR giant Burson-Marsteller.