The Koch Brothers Plan To Spend Almost $900 Million On 2016 Elections

koch brothers moneyA lot is going to be at stake in 2016 and there’s nothing more Republicans would love than to maintain control of Congress and pick up the White House at the same time. They are certainly going to be getting the financial backing from the Koch Brothers with $889 million in funding ahead of 2016. Yes, $889 million is a whole lot of money. If you do the math, that is about $2.80 for every single current resident of the United States, and that’s what a political group backed by the Koch Brothers plans to spend on the 2016 elections. Buckle up kids, if you thought 2012 was full of corporate spending, it’s about to get much worse – or maybe it’s not, but I’ll dig into that later.

In case you’re wondering, that’s 35 percent more than the combination of what the Republican National Committee and the GOP’s two congressional campaign committees spent in 2012, according to 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. It would require a significant financial commitment from the Kochs and roughly 300 other donors they have recruited over the years, and covers both the presidential and congressional races. In the last presidential election, the Republican National Committee and the party’s two congressional campaign committees spent a total of $657 million. (Source)

Since the Citizens United ruling, money has poured into politics like never before. Over and over again, I hear people talk about how we need to get money out of politics and overturn Citizens United, but when it’s time to stop talking and start acting, nothing seems to get done. Now we’re looking at another election season awash in corporate money, and it’s not just Republicans either. While much of the reported “dark money” is coming from conservative sources, there’s some coming in for liberals as well, according to which tracks money in politics.

Another example, while certainly not on the scale of what the Koch Brothers plan to spend, is the Ready For Hillary super PAC which took in over $12 million in 2014, and spent over 90% of the money that came in. When you look at the spending, the majority of it seems to have been on administrative costs, travel and other expenses that seem to have little to do with the campaign of someone who hasn’t even officially announced her candidacy yet. There’s also some decent-sized contributions coming in from the financial sector, so let’s not pretend that Hillary Clinton won’t be incredibly beholden to corporate interests if she does decide to run.

The other upside of the decision by the Koch Brothers is that it has some Republicans genuinely upset about money in politics as well:

But while the leaked details seemed in part a show of defiance to Democrats, who had targeted the brothers as bogeymen, the spending goal also appeared to be a show of dominance to rival factions on the right, including the RNC.

A spokesman for the RNC did not respond to a request for comment Monday. Some Republicans, however, quietly grumbled about the continued migration of power and money from the political parties and their candidates to super-rich donors emboldened by recent court decisions loosening campaign finance restrictions. (Source)

While many people on the left (as well as some on the right) complain about money in politics, neither side seems to want to do much beyond signing petitions. Both sides are perfectly happy to point to the Koch Brothers, Sheldon Adelson or George Soros as big money bogeymen to gin up the base, but both Democratic and Republican candidates are happy to take money from rich donors because “the other guys are doing it.”

Money doesn’t buy elections, at least not yet. The last time I checked, all the money in Sheldon Adelson’s bank accounts doesn’t replace the importance of an educated, determined voter. I want money out of politics and the first step to doing that is to actually go out and vote for people who can make that happen. Until then, let’s stop pretending that it’s only one side or the other that feeds at the corporate donor trough.


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