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The political dimensions of the latest Koch Industries deal

By Laurie Bennett

November 18, 2013 at 12:16pm

When you’re spending $7.2 billion on an acquisition, it’s a plus if political persuasions align as closely as business interests.

Such is the case in the pending merger of electronics company Molex Inc. with privately held Koch Industries.

The deal is the second largest in the history of Koch, which acquired Georgia-Pacific for $13.2 billion in 2005.

Frederick A. Krehbiel
Frederick A. Krehbiel

Members of the Krehbiel family, descendants of the co-founder, are the largest stockholders in Molex, which makes electronic components for automakers, the federal government and mobile phones such as the iPhone. (Apple accounted for 14 percent of the company’s net revenues in fiscal 2013.)

Like Koch Industries, Molex is headed by two brothers - John Krehbiel Jr. and Frederick A. Krehbiel, who serve as co-chairmen.

And like the billionaire Kochs, Frederick Krehbiel is a big supporter of Republican causes.

Last year, he gave $120,000 to a PAC called the New Prosperity Foundation, which spent $1.4 million in the last election cycle opposing Democrats.

According to its web site, New Prosperity backs candidates promoting “job growth, economic prosperity and free enterprise.”

Free enterprise is also a major concern of the libertarian Kochs, who funnel millions of dollars through national and state political organizations.

However, there is a difference in focus between Krehbiel and the Kochs. New Prosperity has attracted establishment Republicans, including Karl Rove’s American Crossroads, which gave $250,000 in 2010.

Koch organizations are more closely associated with Tea Party upstarts, many of whom are critics of Rove and other longtime GOP leaders.

While their viewpoints may differ, the Krehbiels and the Kochs have overlapping networks. The interactive Muckety map above shows some of the interconnections.

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