from the mo-money-mo-problems dept.
Nicholas Confessore reports at the New York Times that the Koch Brothers and their political network plan to spend close to $900 million in the 2016 election, an unparalleled effort by coordinated outside groups to shape a presidential election that is already on track to be the most expensive in history. The group’s budget reflects the rising ambition and expanded reach of the Koch operation, which has sought to distinguish itself from other outside groups by emphasizing the role of donors over consultants and political operatives. Hundreds of conservative donors recruited by the Kochs gathered over the weekend for three days of issue seminars, strategy sessions, and mingling with rising elected officials. These donors represent the largest concentration of political money outside the party establishment, one that has achieved enormous power in Republican circles in recent years. “It’s no wonder the candidates show up when the Koch brothers call,” says David Axelrod, a former senior adviser to Mr. Obama. “That’s exponentially more money than any party organization will spend. In many ways, they have superseded the party.”
Espousing a political worldview that protects free speech and individual and property rights with equal protection for everyone under the law Koch says: “It is up to us. Making this vision a reality will require more than a financial commitment. It requires making it a central part of our lives.” Told of the $889 million goal, Mark McKinnon, a veteran GOP operative who has worked to rally Republican support to reduce the role of money in politics, quipped: “For that kind of money, you could buy yourself a president. Oh, right. That’s the point.”