Koch Network Plans To Spend Nearly A Billion Dollars On 2016 Campaign
Coming off of a weekend hosting a blockbuster conference with several prospective GOP 2016 presidential candidates, the Koch brothers made an announcement yesterday that was even more of a blockbuster. Here is the New York Times:
The political network overseen by the conservative billionaires Charles G. and David H. Koch plans to spend close to $900 million on the 2016 campaign, an unparalleled effort by coordinated outside groups to shape a presidential election that is already on track to be the most expensive in history. The spending goal, revealed Monday at the Kochs’ annual winter donor retreat near Palm Springs, Calif., would allow their political organization to operate at the same financial scale as the Democratic and Republican Parties.
We’ve written before about “Kochonomics“: The efforts by the Kochs to use their immense wealth and considerable connections to build a network of political action groups, think tanks, issue advocacy organizations and like-minded elected officials to rig the system to benefit their bottom line, often at the expense of everyone else. But this announcement that Charles and David Koch, along with “roughly 300 other donors,” plan to spend nearly a billion dollars to influence the 2016 campaign is unprecedented.
Five years after the Supreme Court’s landmark Citizens United decision, we are witnessing the legacy of a political climate where money equals speech. And the Koch brothers are, in effect, spending enough to become their own political party. Here are some numbers to put that level of spending into context:
- The $889 million they plan to spend is $250 million more than the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee spent in 2012 combined.
- It is more than double the roughly $400 million the Koch network spent in 2012.
- It is just under the total amount that either of the major parties spent throughout the 2012 election cycle. In 2012, the Democratic Party spent $1.07 billion, while the GOP spent $1 billion.
- It is more than $150 million more than what John Kerry and George W. Bush together spent during the 2004 campaign.
- It still less than the Koch brothers’ combined wealth can fluctuate on any given day. Just two days ago, as the stock market went down, their combined wealth dropped more than $1 billion.
As one Republican operative put it, “For that kind of money, you could buy yourself a president. Oh, right. That’s the point.” Indeed, if that’s the kind of money you now need to win a presidential election, it is no surprise that possible candidates Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Rand Paul (R-KY) all made the pilgrimage to the conference this weekend to pay their respects.
And we in turn shouldn’t be surprised when these candidates go on to promote the backward economic policies espoused by the Koch brothers and their network of millionaires and billionaires.
BOTTOM LINE: The Koch brothers’ agenda is clear: they are on a mission to buy the Republican Party and our country. Their $1 billion plan for 2016 is only the next step in a long plan to keep the enrich people like them, while leaving the rest of us behind.
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