Campaign finance data compiled by the watchdog OpenSecrets shows that the powerful and deep-pocketed Koch network has spent more than $1 million supporting Republican congressional candidates who attempted to overturn the 2020 presidential election, adding to the tens of millions that corporate PACs have funneled to election deniers since the January 6 attack.
Citing OpenSecrets figures, The Guardian reported Friday that Koch Industries—an oil and gas giant controlled by billionaire Charles Koch—”boasts a corporate PAC that has donated $607,000 to the campaigns or leadership PACs of 52 election deniers since January 2021, making Koch’s PAC the top corporate funder of members who opposed the election results.”
“Separately,” the newspaper added, “Americans for Prosperity Action, to which Koch has donated $6 million, has spent almost $20 million on ads and other communications, much of which has gone to support some election deniers running for the Senate and House, plus Senate candidates who tried to help Trump reverse the 2020 election results or who have raised doubts about its outcome.”
OpenSecrets data shows that the Koch Industries PAC has donated $215,000 to Rep. Steve Scalise’s (R-La.) campaign committee this election cycle. Scalise was one of 147 GOP members of Congress who voted against certifying the 2020 presidential election results just hours after a mob of Trump supporters stormed and ransacked the U.S. Capitol.
Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), an election denier and a top ally of the fossil fuel industry, has also received Koch Industries cash in the run-up to the November midterms.
The Guardian noted that Rep. Ted Budd (R-N.C.), a U.S. Senate candidate, has “benefited from almost $3.1 million that AFP Action has spent to help him win the seat of the retiring senator Richard Burr.”
Budd voted against certifying President Joe Biden’s 2020 victory in Pennsylvania.
“When the only elected officials who will carry your political water are proto-fascists, what is one to do?” asked Jerry Taylor, a former vice president at the Cato Institute, a right-wing group that Charles Koch co-founded and has bankrolled over the years—though the two sides have feuded in the past.
“This self-proclaimed voice of freedom and liberty has apparently decided that advancing the public policies he desires is more important than democracy,” Taylor told The Guardian. “His choice is not unlike the choices that most German industrialists made in the Weimar Republic.”
A recent analysis by the watchdog Accountable.US found that Fortune 500 companies and trade groups have donated around $25 million to election deniers since last January.
“Companies that claim to support democracy but fail to align their political spending with their stated values need to make it clear to their customers, shareholders, and own employees that they value something much more—having political influence over lawmakers no matter how destructive their views,” said Lindsey Melki, a spokesperson for Accountable.US.
Republished with permission from Common Dreams, by Jake Johnson
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