Koch brothers: Democrats’ favorite target

The billionaire industrialists have already spent $14.5 million through their Super PAC to help Republicans win control of the Senate in November.

If the Democrats have their way, said Chris Cillizza in The Washington Post, the 2014 election will be “a referendum on two people: David and Charles Koch.” The billionaire industrialists have already used their Super PAC, Americans for Prosperity, to pour $14.5 million into attack ads against Senate Democrats facing tough re-election campaigns, in hopes that Republicans can win control of the Senate in November. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has launched a full-blown campaign against the Koch brothers’ spending, calling it an “un-American” attempt “to rig the system to benefit themselves and the wealthiest 1 percent.” It’s smart politics, said Brett LoGiurato in BusinessInsider.com. By accusing Republicans of being “addicted to Koch” (pronounced coke), Reid forces the GOP to make a “potent, verbal, and public defense” of the brothers, which serves as “the perfect illustration” of the 2014 Democratic message: The rich are getting richer, and Republicans are for sale.

Reid is obviously suffering from “job-retention stress,” said Kimberley A. Strassel in The Wall Street Journal. When he denounced the Koch brothers for spending “unlimited money” to “rig the system,” the cranky Democrat must have meant to say labor unions, which spent $4.4 billion on politics from 2005 to 2011 alone. Koch Industries ranks 59th on the list of top donors from 1989 to 2014, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The 18 unions ahead of them, which openly operate as “an arm of the Democratic Party,” collectively doled out $621 million more in that time. The Koch brothers’ contributions are “a rounding error in union spending.” Not so, said Lee Fang in TheNation.com. The CRP rankings do not account for “dark money” spending, the Koch brothers’ “preferred route.’’ In 2012 alone, the Kochs spent at least $407 million on “undisclosed campaign entities,” and because they’re not required to disclose all such contributions, may have spent even more.

Trouble is, most voters don’t share “the Left’s fixation on the Koch brothers,” said Kristen Soltis Anderson in TheDailyBeast.com. Nor do they care all that much about campaign finance, so attacking big contributors’ spending and influence is “the ultimate ‘inside baseball’ message.” It’s understandable that the Kochs’ spending on key races is upsetting Democrats, but if they want to keep the Senate, whining about their favorite bogeymen is a “dumb strategy.”

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