Charles Koch

Koch Network Has Surprising Influence Over Trump

“During the presidential campaign, about the only common ground between billionaire conservative Charles Koch and Republican nominee Donald Trump was a colorful disregard for each other. Koch complained the choice between Trump and Hillary Clinton was like opting for cancer or a heart attack. And Trump bashed big-money donors, deriding his Republican rivals as ‘puppets’ who went knocking on Koch’s door for backing,” the Los Angeles Times reports.

“Not surprisingly, the Koch network largely sat out the 2016 presidential election and, Trump went on to win without them. Normally such a high-profile snub would carry a steep political price, shutting doors to the new administration.”

“But in recent months, Koch’s sprawling network of conservative advocacy groups has exerted surprising influence in the Trump administration, scoring some early accomplishments and pushing its priorities to the top of the White House agenda.”

Koch Says He Would Never Back Clinton

Billionaire Charles Koch called the notion that he would support Hillary Clinton in the general election “blood libel,” while doubling down on his assertion that he wouldn’t support Republican Donald Trump, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Said Koch: “The first thing I want to do is correct a rumor that the media keeps stimulating, and that is that I’m probably going to support Hillary. That is a blood libel.”

He added: “At this point, I can’t support either candidate, but I’m certainly not going to support Hillary.”

Koch Admits Clinton Could Be Better than Republicans

Billionaire GOP donor Charles Koch told ABC News that “it’s possible” Hillary Clinton could make a better president than the remaining candidates in the Republican presidential primary.

Koch also said that he believed Bill Clinton was a better president “in some ways” than George W. Bush.

Said Koch: “In other ways, I mean Clinton wasn’t an exemplar. But as far as the growth of government, the increase in spending. It was 2.5 times [more] under Bush than it was under Clinton.”

Koch Wants Ryan to Prevail at Convention

“Charles Koch is confident House Speaker Paul Ryan could emerge from the Republican National Convention as the party’s nominee if Donald Trump comes up at least 100 delegates shy, he has told friends privately,” the Huffington Post reports.

“Koch believes Ryan would be a ‘shoo-in’ at a contested convention, should the campaign get to that point. Though Koch’s wealth gives him significant influence within the Republican Party, it does not necessarily translate into skill in political prognostication. Still, he and his brother David are fond of Ryan.”

Extra Bonus Quote of the Day

“The senator is upset with a political and economic system that is often rigged to help the privileged few at the expense of everyone else, particularly the least advantaged. He believes that we have a two-tiered society that increasingly dooms millions of our fellow citizens to lives of poverty and hopelessness. He thinks many corporations seek and benefit from corporate welfare while ordinary citizens are denied opportunities and a level playing field. I agree with him.”

— Charles Koch, writing in the Washington Post, saying he agrees with Sen. Bernie Sanders on the problem with money in politics.

Charles Koch Started Plotting 40 Years Ago

Politico: “In a recent round of interviews, Charles Koch, the billionaire industrialist and political patron, has been stressing that he only recently became involved in politics… But according to what appear to be two never-before-seen documents — a paper Charles wrote in 1976 and an unpublished history of Charles’ political evolution — Charles began planning his ambitious remaking of American politics 40 years ago, transitioning from libertarian ideologue to conservative power broker.”

“For his new movement, which aimed to empower ultraconservatives like himself and radically change the way the U.S. government worked, he analyzed and then copied what he saw as the strengths of the John Birch Society, the extreme, right-wing anti-communist group to which he, his brother David and their father, Fred Koch, had belonged. Charles Koch might claim that his entry into politics is new, but from its secrecy to its methods of courting donors and recruiting students, the blueprint for the vast and powerful Koch donor network that we see today was drafted four decades ago.”

Koch Brothers Machine Much Bigger Than GOP

“The political machine that Charles Koch launched a dozen years ago in a Chicago hotel conference room with 16 other rich conservatives has exploded in size and influence in the past few elections and now eclipses the official GOP in key areas,” Politico reports.

“Koch and his brother David Koch have quietly assembled, piece by piece, a privatized political and policy advocacy operation like no other in American history that today includes hundreds of donors and employs 1,200 full-time, year-round staffers in 107 offices nationwide. That’s about 3½ times as many employees as the Republican National Committee and its congressional campaign arms had on their main payrolls last month.”

Koch Not Ready to Pick a Candidate

Wall Street Journal: “Charles Koch sounds a lot like an ordinary voter when he bemoans what he said is a lack of substance and civility in the 2016 White House race… Except, of course, Mr. Koch is no ordinary voter: The 79-year-old businessman and his brother preside over a network of conservative donors who plan to spend roughly $750 million influencing 2016 races.”

“But so far in this primary race he said he is frustrated by the dearth of discussion about other issues he cares about, from ending subsidies and tax breaks for corporations to overhauling the criminal-justice system and making it easier for low-income Americans to start businesses. He plans to wait until year-end to determine how much he will spend on 2016 elections, including the White House contest.”

Quote of the Day

“I am not a Republican. I consider myself a classical liberal… I like a lot of the Republican rhetoric better than the Democrats’. But when they’re in office, it’s pretty much the same thing. It’s serving their supporters, it’s corporate welfare, it’s cronyism which is so destructive, particularly to the disadvantaged.”

— Billionaire Charles Koch, in an interview with Washington Post.

Quote of the Day

“Look at the American revolution, the anti-slavery movement, the women’s suffrage movement, the civil rights movement. All of these struck a moral chord with the American people. They all sought to overcome an injustice. And we, too, are seeking to right injustices that are holding our country back.”

— Billionaire industrialist Charles Koch, quoted by the Washington Post.

How to Run Against the Koch Brothers?

“One clear lesson emerged from last week’s midterms: running against big money in politics is hard to do,” the Washington Post reports.

“Democrats and their allies made the topic one of their central lines of attack this year, featuring the billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch in nearly 100 different political spots that ran in states from Alaska to Florida. But the issue failed to gain traction, and most of those Democrats lost. The difficulty they encountered in transforming the public’s disgust with rich donors into political action speaks to how hard it is move voters who view both parties as captives of wealthy patrons.”