Thanks to the SCOTUS ruling on Citizens United v FEC, the Koch brothers will once again wield their enormous power to influence the 2012 elections. Democrats had a chance to pass laws to circumvent the power of the Citizens United decision when they had both houses, but failed to do so.
In an expansion of their political footprint, the billionaire Koch brothers plan to contribute and steer a total of $88 million to conservative causes during the 2012 election cycle, according to sources, funding a new voter micro-targeting initiative, grass-roots organizing efforts and television advertising campaigns.
In fact, as the annual Conservative Political Action Conference meets this week in Washington and conservatives assess the state of their movement, the Koch network of nonprofit groups, once centered on sleepy free-enterprise think tanks, seems to be emerging as a more ideological counterweight to the independent Republican political machine conceived by Bush-era GOP operatives Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie before the 2010 midterm elections.
The aggressive embrace of political activism by the Koch brothers, Charles and David, has cheered fiscal conservatives, who hope they will reorient the conservative political apparatus around free-market, small government principles and candidates, and away from the electability-over-principles approach they see Rove and Gillespie as embodying.
But not everyone on the right is happy about the brothers’ increasing political profile. Some conservatives complain that the political operatives who work for the Kochs don’t play well with others in the movement and worry that their efforts to steer big money to favored groups undermines other, potentially valuable conservative efforts.
Among leaders of conservative groups “there is the impression that there is a lot of favoritism, not necessarily from the Kochs, but from those the Koch brothers rely on to administer the money, and there are concerns about whether the best groups are being helped, or whether it’s just the groups that they happen to play favorites with,” said Erick Erickson, founder of the influential Red State blog and a CNN political analyst.
- Koch Brothers Will Spend Big in 2012 (politicalwire.com)
- You: Hundreds march outside Koch brothers’ retreat (latimes.com)
- Conservative high-rollers gather to plot strategy (msnbc.msn.com)