Rubio’s Re-Election Would Be A Win For The Kochs

June 23, 2016

The Koch network’s admiration of Marco Rubio is well documented. During the GOP presidential primary, the career politician was a top pick for Koch puppet-in-chief. With a presidential bid out of reach (for now), the Kochs’ best bet is to get one of their favorites re-elected to the Senate.

A spokeman for the Koch network, James Davis, also told The Hill that they would support his re-election:

“Sen. Rubio has been a strong leader in the Senate on a number of issues, including fighting against the [Export-Import] Bank and opposing wasteful spending increases.”

Yesterday, executive director of the LIBRE Intiative Daniel Garza was quick to tweet his excitement after Rubio announced his flip-flop. “The race for Senate in Florida just heated up. Welcome @marcorubio. Latinos to play major role in deciding this one.”

For months, Koch network leaders have been publicly praying for Rubio’s return to the Senate. American Commitment President Phil Kerpen tweeted in March, “Dear @marcorubio: Take a very well-deserved rest and then PLEASE reconsider running for reelection. We need you in the Senate.”

It’s unsurprising that the Kochs want to keep Rubio in his seat. The Kochs know from past experience that they can always count on him to do their bidding. Rubio has a “100 percent” rating from the Kochs’ political strongarm Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks. Club for Growth also gave him a “97 percent” rating. The policies he supported during his presidential run regularly read like Koch wishlists. In addition, the Kochs have helped fill Rubio’s coffers.

Marco Rubio hates the Senate. It’s clear that his run for re-election isn’t about serving Florida or the rest of the country. It’s about 2020, and the Kochs will happily support their puppet’s bid for president in a few years. All Rubio has to do in the meantime is continue to push policies that protect their bottom line — something he’s proven more than adept at since taking office.


Koch Network On Rubio Running For ReElection

LIBRE Initiative Executive Director Daniel Garza Welcomed Sen. MarcoRubio To The Florida Senate Race By Tweeting A Picture Of Himself WithRubio, And Added That Latinos Would “Play A Major Role In Deciding This One.” According to a tweet by LIBRE Initiative executive director Daniel Garza, “The race for Senate in Florida just heated up. Welcome @marcorubio. Latinos to play major role in deciding this one”

[Daniel Garza – Twitter, 6/22/16]

Kerpen Asked Sen. Marco Rubio To “Please Reconsider Running For Reelection” To His Senate Seat. According to a tweet by American Commitment president Phil Kerpen, “Dear @marcorubio: Take a very well-deserved rest and then PLEASE reconsider running for reelection. We need you in the Senate.” [Phil Kerpen – Twitter, 3/15/16]

Kerpen Urged Sen. Marco Rubio To “Start Circulating Petitions” To Run For Reelection To The U.S. Senate “ASAP” 10 Days Before The Petition Due Date. According to a tweet by American Commitment president Phil Kerpen, “Start circulating petitions ASAP @marcorubio. You only have 10 days. #FLSen [HUGH HEWITT:] .@marcorubio, deeply impacted by shooting, tells me he has to rethink all his plans, talk with his family, consider his service…” [Phil Kerpen – Twitter, 6/13/16]

Rubio Benefitting From Koch Resources

Sen. Marco Rubio Chartered A Koch Industries Aviation Jet. According to Politico, “Though Rubio was more modest with his spending, he wasn’t completely frugal. He spent about $271,000 on private jet flights — including one from Koch Industries Aviation, owned by the billionaire conservative financier Koch brothers.” [Politico, 10/16/15]

According To Yahoo In April 2015, “Individuals Affiliated With” Koch Industries Collectively Were Sen. Marco Rubio’s 10th Largest Donor Since He Won His Senate Seat In 2010, Donating $37,200 Total. According to Yahoo, “That probably explains why Rubio’s donor list to date includes many more corporate contributors than either Cruz’s or Paul’s. Here’s a list of Rubio’s top 10 donors since he first ran for the Senate in 2010, according to the nonprofit Center for Responsive Politics. Keep in mind that these are mostly contributions from individuals affiliated with each group, rather than single-sum donations from the group itself: […] [10.] Koch Industries, the conglomerate run by conservative activist brothers Charles and David Koch: $37,200. (Koch has donated $17,000 to Sen. Paul since 2010.)” [Yahoo, 4/13/15]

Bill And Bridget Koch Announced That They Would Host A South Florida Fundraiser For Marco Rubio On January 10, 2016 That Will Ask For $1,000 Per Couple. According to Florida Politics, “Big-money backers of Marco Rubio, including billionaires Norman Braman and Bill Koch, will host a pair of South Florida fundraisers next month to support the Republican presidential candidate. The events will be the final Rubio fundraisers held in the Miami area before the Feb. 1 Iowa caucuses. Both events are scheduled Jan. 10. The first, a minimum $1,000 per couple afternoon reception, will be held at the home of Bridget and Bill Koch, 974 S. Ocean Blvd. in Palm Beach. Koch, founder of Oxbow Carbon, is probably better known for extended legal battles with his brothers, the conservative activists Charles and David Koch. According to the invitation, there’s a 4:30 p.m. VIP and photo reception, with a 5 p.m. general reception.” [Florida Politics, 12/23/15]

The Washington Consulting Firm, 0ptimus, Controlling Rubio’s Data Operation Was Led By Brian Stobie And Scott Tranter, Former Koch Operatives Who Conducted “Electoral Experiments On Behalf Of The Charles Koch Foundation.” According to Bloomberg, “Two miles away, at the downtown Washington office of 0ptimus, the Washington consulting firm to which Rubio has outsourced his data operation, a large spreadsheet titled ‘March Madness’ quantified just how bad things could get before they got any better. Partners Scott Tranter and Brian Stobie had put in place a system to monitor Rubio’s standing in each of the 107 congressional districts nationwide whose results that month could have an impact on delegate allocation. It amounted to a massively dispersed survey project, simultaneously polling voters in six times as many as districts are typically contested in any given November. By Monday morning, it was clear that any good news was likely to come from Minnesota. […] The analysts who had produced the report had been an essential part of Rubio’s presidential ambitions from the earliest planning sessions. 0ptimus was one of several new firms hatched to satisfy the newly-stoked appetites of a Republican political class jarred by reports of the Democrats’ methodological supremacy. Co-founders [Brian] Stobie and [Scott] Tranter had first worked together conducting electoral experiments on behalf of the Charles Koch Foundation, a research arm of the political network associated with Koch and his brother David.” [Bloomberg, 3/3/16]

Rubio And The Kochs During The GOP Primary

Headline: “Marco Rubio: I Would Love To Win Support From The Koch Brothers In 2016.” [Washington Times, 4/23/15]

Koch-Aligned Donors Art Pope And Randy Kendrick Each Donated $250,000 To The Pro-Rubio Conservative Solutions PAC. According to USA Today, “The founder of Oracle donated $1 million to a pro-Rubio super PAC last month, newly filed election reports shows. That’s on top of the $3 million the tech magnate contributed to the group, Conservative Solutions PAC, last year. […] Other donors to the pro-Rubio super PAC in January included North Carolina discount retailer Art Pope, Richard DeVos, of the Michigan-based Amway fortune, and Randy Kendrick, whose husband co-owns Major League Baseball’s Arizona Diamondbacks. They donated $250,000 each. The January contributors to the super PAC underscore Rubio’s ability to straddle various lanes of the Republican donor class — ranging from a Silicon Valley tycoon who is one of the world’s richest people to figures such as Pope and Kendrick, who are aligned with libertarian-leaning industrialists Charles and David Koch.” [USA Today, 2/20/16]

The Guardian: Koch Political Operative Marc Short Left The Koch Network “After Pushing For A…Network Blitz Against Trump” To Advise The Rubio Campaign And “Consult For Several Senate And Gubernatorial Candidates.” According to The Guardian, “After pushing for a Koch network blitz against Trump, the conservative network’s top political operative, Marc Short, left last month to advise the Rubio campaign and consult for several Senate and gubernatorial candidates, some of whom are likely to get Koch network backing too, say two GOP sources.” [The Guardian, 3/15/16]

According To Open Secrets, American Future Fund’s Pattern Of Ad Buys During The 2016 GOP Primary Suggested That The Group Was “At Least Acting As Ground Support For The Rubio Campaign” By Spending $4.9 Million Attacking Trump, Cruz, And Kasich. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, “Coordinated or not, AFF’s pattern of ad buys does lend some credence to the idea that the group is at least acting as ground support for the Rubio campaign. AFF has spent more than any other nondisclosing ‘dark money’ group in the election so far, $4.9 million, and often on targets other than Trump. Days before the Iowa caucuses, AFF put $1.5 million into ads attacking Gov John Kasich of Ohio, another GOP White House hopeful,  as a supporter of Common Core and a ‘cheerleader for Medicaid expansion‘ under the Affordable Care Act. About two weeks later, in the run-up to the New Hampshire primaries, AFF spent another $1.5 million accusing Texas Sen. Ted Cruz for being weak on national security. And with outlays of $1.9 million on a series of ads hitting Trump, Rubio is the only one of the remaining GOP presidential contenders who hasn’t been attacked by AFF. He also happens to be the establishment’s favored candidate to lead the party into the November election.” [Open Secrets, 3/7/16]

Forbes Columnist Avik Roy, A Member Of The State Policy Network, Was Also An Advisor To Marco Rubio’s Campaign As Of March 2016. According to the Center for Media and Democracy, “In addition to Selnick, the briefing was to be led by two co-chairs of the CVA task force: Dr. Michael Kussman, former Under Secretary for the VHA, and Forbes columnist Avik Roy, who is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a member of the State Policy Network (SPN), which is part of the infrastructure tied to the Koch-fueled American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). SPN is a network of state-branded groups that purport to be independent think tanks but which actually advance a common national agenda that buttresses the Koch-ALEC agenda. Roy is also advising Marco Rubio’s presidential campaign. Four more CVA staffers rounded out the list of attendees: Dan Caldwell, Vice President for Political and Legislative Action, Concerned Veterans for America[,] Peter Gaytan, Communications Director, Concerned Veterans for America and former Executive Director of The American Legion[,] Tal Coley, Director of Legislative Outreach, Concerned Veterans for America[, and] Shaun Reiley, Outreach and Research Analyst, Concerned Veterans for America.” [Center for Media and Democracy, 3/10/16]

Greenpeace: Sen. Marco Rubio “Drafted” Koch Donor And Devon Energy Founder Larry Nichols “To Shape His Campaign’s Energy Policy” In February 2016. According to Greenpeace, “Last month the Florida Senator, darling of the Republican establishment, drafted Larry Nichols, the founder and former CEO of fracking firm Devon Energy, to shape his campaign’s energy policy. […] He’s also a member of the political donor network established by the infamous Koch brothers.” [Greenpeace, 3/15/16]

  • Greenpeace: Nichols Gave $50,000 To The Pro-Rubio PAC Conservative Solutions. According to Greenpeace, “Before he joined Team Rubio, Nichols gave $5,0000 to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker for his 2012 recall vote, and oversaw a $50,000 donation from Devon to the Wisconsin branch of the anti-tax Super PAC Club for Growth — which was supporting Walker. In this election cycle, he’s so far given $50,000 to Conservative Solutions, the PAC backing Rubio.” [Greenpeace, 3/15/16]

Marco Rubio Released An Ad Spotlighting His 100% Ratings From AFP And FreedomWorks. According to The Hill, “Rubio’s latest campaign spot also touts glowing reviews he has received from a number of conservative organizations. It spotlights ‘100 percent’ rankings from the National Right to Life Committee, Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks. The ad also boasts about Rubio’s ‘98 percent’ from the American Conservative Union, his ‘97 percent’ from Club for Growth and his ‘96 percent’ from Heritage Action for America. Other plaudits include an ‘A’ rankings from the National Rifle Association and the National Taxpayers Union, as well as a ‘Taxpayer Superhero’ title from Citizens Against Government Waste.” [The Hill, 1/14/16]

Paid for by American Bridge 21st Century Foundation