Kochs Investing In Their Down-Ballot Puppets To Preserve Legislative Influence

March 24, 2016

Sensing the threat Donald Trump’s candidacy poses to down-ballot Republicans, David and Charles Koch are renewing their focus on buying influence in Senate and House races. The Koch network is planning on directing their $900 million war chest to a spring offensive of ad campaigns targeting Democratic challengers and propping up Republican incumbents.

The Kochs motive for supporting legislative candidates is not based in altruism: they expect results. From Rob Portman’s support of policies that encouraged outsourcing and corporate inversions to Kelly Ayotte’s votes against increasing the minimum wage while voting to preserve tens of billions of dollars in tax breaks for big oil companies, The Koch’s politically corrupt quid pro quo requires unwavering support for their agenda in return for financial support.

The Kochs are investing heavily in their legislative insurance plan. No matter who wins the White House this November, the Kochs primary concern is protecting their hand-picked legislators as well as their stranglehold on the GOP’s congressional agenda.

  • In August, Koch-front group Americans for Prosperity invested $1.4 million to provide air cover for vulnerable Senate incumbent Rob Portman.
  • Freedom Partners Action Fund, the primary vehicle for Koch cash, spent $2 million on an ad campaign last week attacking Democratic challenger Ted Strickland.
  • Concerned Veterans for America began running ads supporting Nevada Senate candidate Joe Heck earlier this month. The $700,000 dollar investment in Rep. Heck marks the first significant ad-buy in 2016 for CVA. Heck has supported Koch policies that could deny 20% of future veterans VA access.
New Hampshire:
  • The Judicial Crisis Network, a Koch-backed group reliant on funding from the Koch-funded Wellspring Committee, has spent $750,000 running ads in support of vulnerable Republican incumbent Kelly Ayotte.
  • AFP may have turned off the flow of funds to Senator Ayotte after (somehow) deeming her “too moderate,” but AFP-New Hampshire state director Greg Moore left no doubt that the organization will continue to attack Senate-challenger Gov. Maggie Hassan–granting de facto support to Ayotte. AFP has already spent over $1 million in attacks against Hassan.
Despite the Koch’s claiming they might sit out the presidential race, no election would be complete without Koch meddling; Freedom Partners has already started investing in efforts to weaken Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton through a direct mail campaign.

Paid for by American Bridge 21st Century Foundation