Charles And David Koch Get A Beatdown In Their Own Backyard

August 3, 2016

Incumbent Congressman and Koch favorite Tim Huelskamp was successfully primaried yesterday — in Charles and David’s own backyard. The Kochs have invested thousands of dollars into Huelskamp over his career. In fact, Koch Industries has been Huelskamp’s top career campaign contributor, as Huelskamp’s received upwards of $40,000 from individuals associated with the company and its PACs, according to OpenSecrets.

And despite his loss, the Kochs’ didn’t sit out Huelskamp’s primary, either. Americans for Prosperity bolstered him with “six figures on [his] behalf…putting the money into mail, newspaper, digital ads and door-knocking canvassers,” according to Politico. Furthermore, in the days leading up to Tuesday’s election, AFP was “flooding homes with campaign mailers aimed at protecting conservative incumbents and portraying challengers as sinister liberal extremists,” reported the Witchita Eagle’s editorial board.

It’s very much a quid pro quo arrangement and Huelskamp’s done his part to prove to the Kochs that he’s a worthwhile investment. He earned Koch praise for voting against the Export-Import Bank’s reauthorization and for opposing the farm bill, the latter of which being a vote seemingly against his own constituents’ interests that, by some accounts, led to his loss in Tuesday’s primary, as agricultural interests lined up behind his primary opponent.

But beyond Huelskamp’s personal prioritization of the Kochs’ interests over those of his own constituents, there were larger forces at play in Kansas on Tuesday. The state has long been considered the Kochs’ laboratory for their self-interested policy agenda. And things haven’t gone great, much to the detriment of their puppet governor, Sam Brownback. Brownback has a 77% disapproval rating, according to a recent poll which also found that 79% of respondents would not vote for Brownback if he were up for immediately up reelection.

Clearly, Kansans aren’t having what the Kochs and their minions are selling. In October 2015, 61% of Kansas voters said Brownback’s “signature tax policies have either been a ‘failure’ or ‘tremendous failure'” — and as evidenced by Huelskamp’s defeat, voters are more than willing to take their frustration out on Koch candidates up and down the ballot.

The Kochs promote their self-interested agenda as driven by lofty idealism, but, as the Kansas case shows, voters see right through the rouse. Kansans felt the negative impact of the brothers’ selfish policies and decisively rejected their puppet congressman.


Huelskamp Loss RKF

AFP Launched A Six Figure Ad Campaign For Huelskamp, Complained About Outside Money After Losing

AFP Launched A Six Figure Mail, Newspaper And Digital Ad Campaign, Backed By Canvassing And Phone Calls, In Support Of Rep. Huelskamp
AFP Supported Rep. Tim Huelskamp With A Six Figure Mail, Newspaper And Digital Ad Campaign Backed By Canvassing, Praising Him For His Opposition To The Export-Import Bank. According to Politico, “The Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity has spent six figures on behalf of the incumbent, putting the money into mail, newspaper, digital ads and door-knocking canvassers, Campaign Pro reports. ‘Congressman Tim Huelskamp is working hard for Kansans — and the future of our country,’ one AFP mailer reads. ‘Congressman Tim Huelskamp knows that bigger government has hurt our economy. It’s why he has stood strong against the Export-Import Bank, which gives certain well-connected corporations an unfair advantage — at the expense of hardworking taxpayers.’ Other big spenders for Huelskamp include the Club for Growth.” [Politico, 7/27/16]

·        AFP Planned To Make 50,000 Calls On Huelskamp’s Behalf In The Final Week Before The Republican Primary. According to BuzzFeed, “In the final week before the Aug. 2 primary, Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity, which is spending six-figures on the race, is rolling out more digital ads — first shared with BuzzFeed News — on Facebook that detail how Huelskamp is ‘standing up to DC and protecting family budgets.’ The new issue ads come as Ending Spending tries to label Huelskamp as ‘Washing-Tim’ with its spots, and the Chamber portrays him as ineffective after being stripped of his spot on the agriculture committee. AFP’s local chapter is also planning on making more than 50,000 calls in the final week.” [BuzzFeed, 7/28/16]

AFP Declared It Was “Focused On” Huelskamp’s Race

AFP Board Member Mark Holden: “Our Network Is Focused On This Race.” According to Washington Post, “‘Our network is focused on this race because Huelskamp is the ultimate champion for our bread and butter economic issues, reining in spending, bringing an end to corporate welfare,’ said Mark Holden, general counsel of Koch Industries and a board member AFP and Freedom Partners.” [Washington Post, 7/29/16]

Headline: “Rep. Huelskamp Is Protecting Kansans’ Wallets.” [Jeff Glendening – Hutchinson News, 7/30/16]

·        AFP-Kansas Director Jeff Glendening: “Fortunately For Kansans In Reno County,” Kansas Rep. Tim Huelskamp Was One Of A Few Lawmakers To “Do What They Said They Would Do.” According to an opinion by AFP-Kansas director Jeff Glendening in the Hutchinson News, “You call that a rarity. So many politicians say they’ll go to Washington, D.C., and finally get government spending under control. They say they’ll fight against special-interest handouts for the wealthy and the well-connected. They say they’ll reform the government and allow us to keep more of our hard-earned money in our pocket. Then they go to D.C. and do exactly the opposite. Fortunately for Kansans in Reno County, a few do what they said they would do – they look out for taxpayers. Kansas Rep. Tim Huelskamp is one such lawmaker.” [Jeff Glendening – Hutchinson News, 7/30/16]
In The Days Before The Election, AFP Flooded Kansas Homes With Mail Ads…

Wichita Eagle Editorial: AFP Was “Flooding Homes With Campaign Mailers Aimed At Protecting Conservative Incumbents And Portraying Challengers As Sinister Liberal Extremists.” According to an editorial in the Wichita Eagle, “Well-heeled groups such as the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, Americans for Prosperity and Kansas Club for Growth are flooding homes with campaign mailers aimed at protecting conservative incumbents and portraying challengers as sinister liberal extremists. Other dark-money groups are targeting conservatives with misleading mailers.” [Editorial – Wichita Eagle, 7/31/16]
… And Then Complained About Outside Money Flooding The District After Losing

AFP-KS Director Jeff Glendening Bemoaned That Outside Money “Flooded The District”: “That Much Money Coming In From Outside, That’s Hard… It Was Impossible To Avoid Those Messages.” According to Politico, “In Huelskamp’s primary, outside groups poured more than $2.5 million into the massive, 63-county stretch of Kansas farmland. Much of the advertising litigated Huelskamp’s commitment to supporting local agriculture in Congress. ‘That much money coming in from outside, that’s hard,’ said Jeff Glendening, who runs the Kansas chapter of Americans for Prosperity, the national conservative group that backed Huelskamp. ‘It flooded the district. It was impossible to avoid those messages.’ Huelskamp backers say he was targeted for doing ‘everything he said he would do’ in Congress, according to AFP spokesman Levi Russell — including votes against the Farm Bill and the Export-Import Bank. The Club for Growth also lined up behind Huelskamp, running TV ads that cast Marshall as ‘a liberal’ who would be out of step with the conservative district. AFP sent out mailers that highlight Huelskamp’s conservative resume.” [Politico, 8/2/16]

·        Huffington Post: “Huelskamp ― Supported By The Conservative Club For Growth And The Koch Brothers Group Americans For Prosperity ― Actually Had The Money Advantage.” According to the Huffington Post, “Meanwhile, the victorious Marshall was helped by outside money in the waning days of the primary campaign. The Chamber of Commerce dropped $400,000 on the race, half in support of Marshall and half in opposition to Huelskamp. Other groups also came in with large sums of money, though Huelskamp ― supported by the conservative Club for Growth and the Koch Brothers group Americans for Prosperity ― actually had the money advantage.” [Huffington Post, 8/2/16]

Huelskamp Also Blamed Outside Money

Congressman Huelskamp Partially Blamed What He Claimed Was $3 Million In “Outside Money” For Marshall’s Win In The GOP Primary. According to, “Around 11:30 p.m. when Huelskamp stepped out of the party, Eyewitness News reporter Emily Griffin asked why she was not allowed in. ‘This is my event, it’s not the media’s event,’ Huelskamp said. ‘And you all refused to cover the facts that millions of dollars of super pacs were coming in, you refused to cover the lies they told about my record.’ Huelskamp blamed what he said was $3 million in ‘outside money’ for Marshall’s win.” [, 8/3/16]

Huelskamp: The Media “Refused To Cover The Facts That Millions Of Dollars Of Super PACs Were Coming In, You Refused To Cover The Lies They Told About My Record.” According to, “Around 11:30 p.m. when Huelskamp stepped out of the party, Eyewitness News reporter Emily Griffin asked why she was not allowed in. ‘This is my event, it’s not the media’s event,’ Huelskamp said. ‘And you all refused to cover the facts that millions of dollars of super pacs were coming in, you refused to cover the lies they told about my record.’ Huelskamp blamed what he said was $3 million in ‘outside money’ for Marshall’s win. Huelskamp says he is disappointed with the outcome, but before he actually gives us his seat, he says he has a lot of work to do when he goes back to Washington in September.” [, 8/3/16]

Koch Industries Was Also A Top Financial Supporter Of Huelskamp Throughout His Career

Koch Industries Was Rep. Huelskamp’s Top Career Contributor. [OpenSecrets, Accessed 8/3/16]

Koch Industries Gave Rep. Huelskamp $40,900 Throughout His Career. According to OpenSecrets, Rep. Tim Huelskamp received $40,900 from Koch Industries throughout his career. $3,400 came from individuals associated with the company and $37,500 came from the company’s PACs. [OpenSecrets, Accessed 8/3/16]

Huelskamp Had Took The Koch’s Position On Agriculture Subsidies And Voted Against His District’s Interests

The Kochs Praised Huelskamp’s Vote Against The Farm Bill

Holden Cited Huelskamp’s Vote Opposing The Farm Bill As A Representative Of An Agriculture-Heavy District As Evidence Of His Willingness “To Take Political Stances Even When They’re Not In His Best Interest.” According to BuzzFeed, “‘He’s been willing to take political stances even when they’re not in his best interest,’ said Mark Holden, chairman of the Kochs’ political operation Freedom Partners, citing Huelskamp’s votes against the farm bill as a representative of an agriculture-heavy district and reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank. (Kansas farm groups have endorsed Huelskamp’s opponent).” [BuzzFeed, 7/28/16]

The Kochs Consider Agricultural Subsidies Corporate Welfare

The Kochs Planned To Fight Against All Corporate Welfare – Including Agricultural Subsidies. According to The Wichita Eagle, “The Kochs aren’t finished. Win or lose in November, they plan to start a new fight. They are organizing dozens of business and grassroots groups to build support for eliminating all corporate and agricultural subsidies. The country must deal with corporate welfare, which they say exceeds $350 billion a year, before it can rein in spending on Social Security and Medicare, Fink said.” [The Wichita Eagle, 10/13/12]

The Freedom Partners Candidate Questionnaire, In A Section About Crony Capitalism, Asked About Whether The Candidate Supported Federal Agricultural Subsidies. According to The Washington Post, “Under a section on crony capitalism and corporate welfare, the new Freedom Partners questionnaire asks not just about Ex-Im, but also federal agricultural subsidies, the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and the federal renewable fuel standard, which is big in Iowa but free-market devotees vigorously oppose. […] Section 2: Combating Cronyism and Corporate Welfare

 […]Question #10: Do you support federal agricultural subsidies?” [The Washington Post, 6/18/15]

AFP-Iowa Director Drew Klein: “With The Next Federal Farm Bill Reauthorization Still Three Years Away, Policymakers Must Reconsider The Faulty Incentives Agricultural Subsidies Cause.” According to an opinion by AFP-Iowa director Drew Klein in The Hill, “With the next federal Farm Bill reauthorization still three years away, policymakers must reconsider the faulty incentives agricultural subsidies cause. State lawmakers, including Gov. Branstad, should similarly look to market signals—not government spending—to improve our water quality. We don’t need to make a false choice between supporting agriculture and preserving the environment.” [Drew Klein – The Hill, 4/4/16]

Huelskamp’s vote, which was key to his district, angered the agriculture lobby

Washington Post: After Being Kicked Off Of The Agricultural Committee, Huelskamp’s Voted Against The Farm Bill Which Was A Key Piece Of Legislation For His District Which “Didn’t Help Him Regain The Confidence Of His State’s Agricultural Lobby.” According to The Washington Post, “Why did he lose? Although it can be tough to answer that question for certain, the race framed around one low point for Huelskamp in 2012. That’s when former House speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) decided to punish Huelskamp for not going along with leadership by kicking him off the Agricultural Committee. For a congressman from rural Kansas, that was a pretty big blow. Huelskamp also lost his seat on the Budget Committee. Huelskamp didn’t help regain the confidence of his state’s agricultural lobby when he voted against the farm bill, a key piece of legislation for his district, because he said it was too expensive.” [Washington Post, 8/3/16]

·        The Kansas Farm Bureau’s Warren Parker: “’Tim Has Just Kind Of Put Himself In A Position Where He’s Become Irrelevant In Washington. He Can’t Seem To Work With Others Whether In His Party Or Out.” According to the Washington Post, “’Tim has just kind of put himself in a position where he’s become irrelevant in Washington,’ Warren Parker, with the Kansas Farm Bureau, told National Review’s Alexis Levinson days before the primary. ‘He can’t seem to work with others whether in his party or out.’” [Washington Post, 8/3/16]

Huelskamp’s Opponent Was Backed By Agricultural Interests And Other Outside Groups. According to Politico, “GOP Rep. Tim Huelskamp, a three-term incumbent and House Freedom Caucus member from Kansas, lost his House primary Tuesday night to challenger Roger Marshall, a physician backed by agricultural interests and several big-spending outside groups.” [Politico, 8/2/16]

Paid for by American Bridge 21st Century Foundation