The Koch Brothers and their political network have been stalwart supporters of conservative/libertarian candidates for years, growing to become one of the top donors in the entire movement. But at a seminar this week in Colorado Springs, representatives from the network said they were not happy with some of the recent spending decisions made by the Republican-controlled Congress. In fact, they were so irritated that they were seriously considering moving their support over to Democrats who support policies that run more closely to their interests.
In the summit, Emily Seidel of Americans for Prosperity said that if the Koch network can locate Democrats whose prime objective is to cut government spending and slash financial regulations, the PAC would not hesitate to support them.
“I know this is uncomfortable,” Seidel said to an audience that included several Republican lawmakers and conservative donors. “If you are a Democrat and stand up to Elizabeth Warren to corral enough votes for financial reform that breaks barriers for community banks and families, you’re darn right we will work with you.”
On the other hand, Seidel said, “If you are a Republican who sits on the committee that wrote the worst spending bill in our country’s history and you voted for it, you’re darn right we will hold you accountable.”
Asked if he was prepared to see Democrats take control of the House in November, Charles Koch said he was no longer interested in the specifics of the party in power. “I don’t care what initials are in front or after somebody’s name,” he said.
The billionaire said he was tired of getting burned by Republicans who did not come through on their promises.
“They say they’re going to be for these principles that we espouse and then they aren’t,” he said. “We’re going to more directly deal with that and hold people responsible for these commitments.”
The Koch network was largely on the sidelines during President Trump’s historic run for the White House in 2016, and the billionaire in charge made it clear again on Sunday that he’s not the biggest supporter of the president. Asked if a trade war could lead to a global recession, Koch said, “It depends on the degree. Yeah, if it’s severe enough, it could.”
Even so, Koch was measured in terms of evaluating Trump’s first term. “We agree with some things,” he said, “and we disagree with others.”
In some ways, as much as we cringe at the idea of these committed libertarians helping Democrats win elections, we understand their impulse to “punish” Republicans for failing to reign in big government spending. Electing Democrats is only going to make the problem worse, but hey…it’s their money.