News & Politics

Koch Brothers Say They Are 'Largely Failures' at Influencing U.S. Politics

Billionaires Charles and David Koch have already given at least $20 million to Super PACs backing Republican candidates.

Protesters demand the Los Angeles Times not be sold to the Koch Brothers (portraits) on May 23, 2013 in Beverly Hills, California.

Billionaire megadonor Charles Koch said that he and his brother are “largely failures” at influencing US political rhetoric – at least in the way they had hoped.

In an interview with MSNBC which aired on Tuesday, Koch said that in donating money to campaigns, he expects something in return – for the government to end the corporate welfare system.

Asked if he thinks he is contributing to the same system by “buying influence”, Koch replied: “No, no.”

“Well, so far we, we’re largely failures at it, as you can tell.”

Koch, who was interviewed along with his brother David by Morning Joe hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, said that somebody has to fight the corporate welfare system.

“So if we didn’t do it, who would be trying to stop this racket?” Koch said. “This is a huge racket that’s wrecking the country.”

The fundraising network he runs with his brother has already given at least $20m to Super Pacs backing Republican presidential candidates.

Koch would not say which 2016 presidential candidate he supports, but did say he was disappointed by those he had backed in the past, specifically George W Bush.

He said he supported Bush’s campaign because the Texas Republican’s values had seemed to be in line with his own.

“I thought maybe there was hope,” Koch said. “And then by 2003, three years later, he was going in the opposite way.”

After speaking with Charles Koch, the hosts interviewed the brothers together at their childhood home in Wichita, Kansas.

That interview detoured from the earlier political discussions and instead focused on the brother’s personal lives, including David Koch’s philanthropic pursuits.

“I love the world of philanthropy,” said David Koch.

After attending a closed Koch event in Palm Springs in January, the Morning Joe hosts landed the first joint interview with the brothers. When discussing the event on Morning Joe in January, Scarborough had said that Charles Koch is a “true believer” whose political values align with those of “most Americans”.

 

Amanda Holpuch is a reporter at Guardian US in New York.

 

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