David Koch’s commitment to Scott Walker

By Laurie Bennett

April 20, 2012 at 8:35am

How deep is David Koch’s loyalty to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker?

Deep enough that he’s willing to make an on-the-record political contribution.

According to a filing with the Internal Revenue Service, Koch gave $1 million in February to the Republican Governors Association. The RGA has set the Wisconsin recall election as one of its top priorities.

Scott Walker
Scott Walker

Koch wasn’t the only big donor. The RGA raised $12.3 million in the first three months of the year. Those giving $100,000 or more included Hess Corporation Chairman and CEO John B. Hess and Duchossois Group founder Richard L. Duchossois

However, Koch was the only 7-figure contributor. He also gave the RGA $1 million in 2010, when the association supported Walker’s election.

Koch, a billionaire who, with his brother Charles, owns the country’s second-largest privately held company, typically takes a roundabout route with his political spending. He has made just a handful of publicly disclosed donations in the past year.

The biggest, until the RGA contributions, were checks for $30,800 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Koch was an unwilling participant in Walker’s most embarrassing moment, in 2011, when a journalist prank-called the governor, pretending to be the billionaire. Walker fell for it and engaged in a lengthy conversation which then hit the web.

The incident brought ridicule from the left and increased support from the right.

In the months since, Walker has cemented his position with conservatives, who praise his anti-union and small-government stances.

Through its affiliated PAC, Right Direction Wisconsin, the RGA is running ads attacking his opponents.

Figures compiled by the National Institute on Money in State Politics show that Walker has attracted more than $12 million in donations for the recall election, scheduled in June.

Texas homebuilder Bob Perry has given $250,000 to the campaign. Rick Santorum backer Foster Friess and Texas billionaire Trevor Rees-Jones have given $100,000.

The Koch Industries PAC, which contributed $43,000 to Walker’s campaign in 2010, has not yet reported any donations.

However, another organization, the Koch-supported Americans for Prosperity, is working to keep Walker in office.

The Washington Post reported in February that the group was spending at least $700,000 on ads in Wisconsin.

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