The Koch brothers are no fans of Donald Trump, but there has been no bigger defender of their dark money corruption than Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, which is why the Kochs are dumping their cash into Senate races.
The political network backed by billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch is set to invest more than $42 million on ads in key Senate races through the end of September, part of a ground-to-air effort the organization is making in key states to help Republicans retain their majority.
The network’s latest foray: a $2.2 million television and digital campaign in Ohio targeting former governor Ted Strickland, who is running GOP incumbent Sen. Rob Portman. The spot by Freedom Partners Action Fund, the organization’s super PAC arm, features an Ohio business owner who calls the state’s job losses during Strickland’s administration “devastating.” It’s the second such ad that Freedom Partners has run against Strickland.
The Kochs are going to be spending heavily in four Democratic target states, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Florida. They will also spend big in Nevada to try to flip the seat that is opening up to due to Harry Reid’s retirement.
Majority Leader McConnell admitted in 2014 in a leaked audio tape that Senate Republicans would be lost without the Koch brothers, “Is this working? I know it’s been a long, but very inspiring day. And I want to start by thanking you, Charles and David for the important work you’re doing. I don’t know where we’d be without you, and um, and I want (inaudible) for rallying, uh, to the cause.”
Sen. McConnell has also been the big roadblock in the Senate against passing any legislation that would get rid of Citizens United. McConnell has personally blocked any attempt to get a vote on anti-Citizens United legislation in the Senate.
Voters have gotten an eyeful of what a Koch-controlled Senate looks like, and it isn’t pretty. Republican Senators have ignored their constitutional duties, like hearings and a vote on Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, in favor of investigating bogus “scandals” like Planned Parenthood and Facebook. Investigations into conspiracy theories are what McConnell’s Senate majority does when they can be bothered to show up for work which isn’t often judging from the fact that they spend the fewest days in session since 1956.
There has been an assumption by both the media and analysts that the control of the Senate will follow the outcome of the presidential election, but the Kochs are spending $42 million on Trump insurance, and the money will make a huge difference in statewide contests that don’t get the attention and free media of the presidential race.
The Koch brothers have the dollars, but the people have the votes. The only way to make sure that the Kochs are removed from power is to come together at the ballot box in November.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association