Mary Landrieu, Mark Pryor and Chuck Schumer all received contributions.
The Koch brothers are the Democrats’ public enemy No. 1. But there was a time not too long ago that billionaires Charles and David Koch were modest Democratic Party donors.
Though the Kochs have poured untold millions into conservative and libertarian causes over the years, the political action committee for their privately held Koch Industries also has given money through the years to Democratic causes and candidates — including Mark Pryor, Mary Landrieu and Chuck Schumer — as part of the influence-peddling game that many corporations and wealthy donors play.
Those donations from Koch Industries Inc. Political Action Committee, or KochPAC, include nearly $200,000 to Democratic candidates and committees as recently as 2010 — including a $30,000 donation to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and other top Democrats have made vilifying the Kochs part of a deliberate political strategy to rile up the party’s base and drive the party’s small-dollar fundraising efforts. Last week, Reid blasted the two brothers in a blistering Senate floor speech, accusing them of trying to hijack the political process with their donations and of meddling in the country’s foreign policy to protect their own interests.
But Reid’s fellow Democrats collected KochPAC money as recently as 2012.
Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas took $10,000 from KochPAC in 2012. Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana has taken $55,000 in Koch money since the 2000 cycle. Former Senate Democrats Max Baucus, Blanche Lincoln and Ben Nelson took Koch cash in 2010. And Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York got $1,000 in the same year.
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Since 2000, KochPAC has given more than $1.4 million to Democratic candidates, leadership PACs and party committees, according to numbers compiled by Congressional Quarterly’s Moneyline.
The DSCC even asked the Kochs to donate in 2011 — inviting them to a private donor retreat on South Carolina’s Kiawah Island in exchange for a five-figure contribution. The Kochs released audio of DSCC’s then-Chairwoman Patty Murray soliciting funds from them. The DSCC later called the request a “staff error.”
Democrats note that the cash the Kochs have given to the party pales in comparison to the massive sums of money their network of nonprofits and outside groups has spent against Democratic interests and Democratic candidates. The PAC is a relatively small share of the Koch’s overall political giving — with millions being spent through nonprofit organizations like Americans for Prosperity and the Center to Protect Patient Rights.
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KochPAC has given $10.2 million to Republican candidates since 2000. That’s in addition to the millions that the two brothers have spent on election activity. The Kochs created the 501(c)(6) nonprofit Freedom Partners, a group that raised and spent $250 million in 2012 to shape political and policy debates across the country. That money was doled out nationwide to affiliated groups like the Center to Protect Patient Rights, Americans for Prosperity, the 60 Plus Association and American Future Fund. All told, the Center for Responsive Politics estimated that the Koch network spent more than $400 million in the 2012 election cycle. Most of those funds were spent hammering Senate Democrats and President Barack Obama over his signature health care law.
Reid’s office did not respond to a request for comment on the Kochs’ donation history to the Democratic Party. The Pryor and Landrieu campaigns also did not respond to a request for comment.
Koch Industries’ bipartisan giving record is typical for a major American corporation — where PACs often hedge their bets by giving generously to both sides and supporting local candidates of either party.
But the well has dried up for Democrats.
Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/03/koch-brothers-democrats-104787.html#ixzz2wO27fFGp