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The Koch political ledger

By Laurie Bennett

June 3, 2012 at 8:59am

They’re everywhere, or certainly seem to be.

Brothers Charles and David Koch, their privately held conglomerate Koch Industries, and the many organizations they fund are on everybody’s radar.

Is all the attention justified?

Yup. There is good reason that the Kochs have become the No. 1 targets of the left.

Politico reports that the brothers and the organizations they support plan to spend as much as $400 million to help defeat President Obama and give Republicans control of Congress.

A little perspective: That’s $30 million more than the total raised by John McCain’s presidential campaign in 2008.

The Kochs go to great lengths to keep the extent of their spending out of the public record, making a complete ledger of their spending nearly impossible.

Often, organizations are identified as Koch-backed, when there is no documented proof of any connections.

Much has been made, for instance, of the Kochs’ likely connections to a group called the Center to Protect Patient Rights, a group that has distributed millions of dollars to other conservative organizations.

As the Muckety map above shows, the links are once or twice removed. Americans for Prosperity is one of the groups receiving CPPR funds. Another group with CPPR backing, the American Energy Alliance, is headed by a former lobbyist for Koch.

The Los Angeles Times recently noted several other connections.

The irony of the Kochs’ secretive, indirect way of wielding influence is that it stokes the curiosity of journalists. Like many news outlets, we spend uncounted hours trying to track the connections.

(There’s an additional irony. Sites that publish stories about the Kochs and run Google Ads are likely to be experiencing a new, if meager, cash flow from internet ads being placed by KochFacts.com, a PR site run by Koch Industries. These ads have appeared on Muckety, which is more than happy to take the Kochs’ money.)

The list below, hardly complete, shows direct expenditures reported to government agencies such as the Federal Election Commission and the Internal Revenue Service during the 2011-2012 election cycle.

National spending
David Koch gave $1 million in February to the Republican Governors Association.

He also sent checks for $30,800 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the maximum contribution of $5,000 to the campaigns of Republican Sens. Mitch McConnell and Orrin Hatch.

Brother Charles Koch contributed $30,800 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee,

Koch Industries, through its lobbying arm, Koch Companies Public Sector, spent nearly $8.4 million lobbying in Washington last year. The company PAC has donated $1.8 million this election cycle. Analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics, Republicans have been backed by a 37:1 margin.

Wisconsin
AFP has poured big money backing Gov. Scott Walker in Tuesday’s recall election. Not coincidentally, Walker is outspending his opponent 10 to 1.

In February, AFP confirmed spending spent $700,000 on a Wisconsin ad blitz. Last week, the group bused in Tea Partiers from other states to rally support.

The Koch Industries PAC also has donated to candidates for the Wisconsin Assembly.

Florida
AFP gave $5,000 to the Virginia Republican Party.

North Carolina
The Koch Industries PAC made donations to candidates for the state General Assembly.

Ohio
AFP gave $49,256 to Building a Better Ohio, a PAC pushing for overhaul of collective bargaining rules for government employees. AFP also gave $28,660 to Ohioans for Healthcare Freedom, which is opposed to the Obama health care package.

Tennessee
Koch Industries supported the Tennessee Republican Party.

Texas
The Koch Industries PAC contributed to candidates for the state House, Senate and railroad commissioner.

Virginia
AFP gave $20,000 to the Virginia Republican Party.

Other Muckety maps showing Koch connections:

How oil interests fund attack on Obama energy policy
David Koch’s commitment to Scott Walker
Koch-Cato suit lays bare another rift on the right
How to avoid transparency: Go to the states
Koch-backed group launching Solyndra ad campaign

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