The famous Koch brothers held their annual donors’ meeting this weekend, with each donor giving at least $100,000 just to attend.
The three-day seminar drew more donors (and more new donors) than ever before.
On Saturday, the conservative donor group announced it would be spending up to $400 million in advance of the 2018 midterm elections.
“When we look at our budget for politics and policy, it’s our largest we’ve ever had,” said Tim Phillips, who overseers the Koch-funded group Americans for Prosperity.
“What we’re urging Republicans in the House and Senate to do is to be bold, to go big. It gives them the opportunity to point to real accomplishments when they get to 2018,” he said, stressing tax reform and healthcare.
The donor network enthusiastically supports Trump’s ideas on tax reform and on rolling back regulations, but they were not happy with the “repeal and replace” legislation revealed by the Senate last Thursday.
“We’ve been disappointed that this has not been more dramatic,” said Phillips of the bill. “We’re seeking to make it better. We’re not walking away. This is too important an issue for too many Americans.”
The Koch brothers and their allies would like to see the bill pushed in a more conservative direction, with further cuts to Medicaid.
The Koch Brothers have an increasingly large footprint in Colorado, a swing state that has come into the spotlight once again in terms of the 2018 elections.
One of their most powerful assets in the state is the Grassroots Leadership Academy, a 6-week program that teaches passionate conservatives how to be more effective activists. The academy, which began three years ago, operates in Fort Collins and Colorado Springs.
The Koch Brothers also run two centers on college campuses in Colorado that promote free-market ideas and open dialogue, a community organizing program that promotes conservative policies with canvassing operations and phone banks, and a nonprofit organization that focuses on outreach to minority communities to teach entrepreneurship and financial literacy.
These efforts are seen as a counter against the current energy on the Left, where organizers are hosting events to energize the anti-Trump “resistance” movement.
“Make no mistake, this midterm election cycle is far more difficult than in recent years,” says Emily Seidel, a top political strategist at the Koch-funded Freedom Partners organization.
“For one, we are facing a reinvigorated progressive Left. Their activists are energized and their donors are giving at unprecedented levels.”
Author’s Note: The Koch brothers and their allies have spent decades pushing America in a libertarian direction.
Their donor network holds just as much influence as (if not more than) the Republican National Committee. These are the good guys, but perhaps it’s not such a good thing that they have so much power.
Editor’s note: This is part of the “puppetmasters” series, those who influence politics using their own great wealth.