Koch Bros. Gearing Up to Spend MegaBucks on Elections: Can Dems Make Their Money Toxic?
In case anyone needed a reminder about the kind of forces Democrats will be up against next year, the Koch brothers are putting together their plan to help buy the 2012 elections.
The billionaire industrialist brothers David and Charles Koch plan to steer more than $200 million -- potentially much more -- to conservative groups ahead of Election Day, POLITICO has learned. That puts their libertarian-leaning network in the same league as the most active of the groups in the more establishment-oriented network conceived last year by veteran GOP operatives Rove and Ed Gillespie, which plans to raise $240 million.
That's financing for an awful lot of attack ads, nearly all of which will be dishonest, and which a whole lot of voters will believe.
It'll be interesting, though, to see whether Democrats are able to make the Koch money toxic. We learned last week that there's ample evidence that Koch Industries made "improper payments" (read: bribes) to "secure contracts in six countries dating back to 2002." One of those countries, it turns out, is Iran, which has purchased millions of dollars of petrochemical equipment from the Kochs' company, despite a trade ban and the U.S. labeling Iran a state sponsor of terrorism. The Kochs' business also stand accused of having "rigged prices with competitors, lied to regulators and repeatedly run afoul of environmental regulations, resulting in five criminal convictions since 1999 in the U.S. and Canada."
This is the money that's going to buy elections for Republicans?
Over the summer, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) declared, "Plain and simple, if you do business with Iran, you cannot do business with America."
Follow-up question for Cantor, who's accepted tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from Koch Industries: those who do business with Iran cannot do business with America, but can they partner with the Republican Party to swing an election cycle?