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A silly Koch poke

Tuesday, Jul 22, 2014

* The DCCC tried to get me to write about this the other day. I passed

The Koch Brothers have their eyes on Illinois. Republican candidates running in four of the state’s competitive congressional races received campaign contributions last quarter from the political action committee of Koch Industries Inc., a Kansas-based energy and manufacturing conglomerate run by the conservative billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch.

Oh, c’mon. It’s a pittance

From April 1 through June 30, the Koch Industries Inc. Political Action Committee, or KochPAC, gave a collective $17,500 to the Illinois GOP candidates in 11th, 12th, 13th and 17th congressional districts, according to second-quarter reports filed with the Federal Election Commission

That’s an average of $4,375 per candidate. Not even lunch money for those guys.

Look, I get the Democrats’ obsession with the Koch brothers. But trying to make a big deal out of a few bucks is getting really close to McCarthyism.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

67 Comments
  1. - OneMan - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 10:29 am:

    Don’t underestimate the feelings of some Democrats about them…


  2. - ~pfft - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 10:35 am:

    Hmm… Bloomberg anyone?


  3. - Jimmy - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 10:36 am:

    I think most voters are concerned with the Koch Brother’s renewed efforts to take over Illinois. You have to wonder what other - more secretive cash - is flowing in to our state.


  4. - Plutocrat03 - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 10:38 am:

    Of course the Dems don’t have their big donors (Steyer) who donate to their coffers.

    Sad that demonization of donors is all the Dems have to push their agenda (or lack thereof)


  5. - PublicServant - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 10:39 am:

    Given the Koch’s overall level of contributions, I don’t mind hearing about their contributions to Illinois candidates. It’s a piece of information voters might consider in voting for a candidate regardless of the relative size of the contributions to date. Also Rich, it doesn’t matter if it’s lunch money to the Kochs, what matters is how much influence they might have with the candidates. A $4,375/candidate average to date isn’t a lot, but then the election isn’t over yet right?


  6. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 10:39 am:

    ==I think most voters are concerned with the Koch Brother’s renewed efforts to take over Illinois==

    If by “concerned” you mean “could care less or don’t even know who the Koch brothers are” then I think you’re spot on.


  7. - Apocolypse Now - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 10:41 am:

    Charlie and David Koch make contributions to Republicans and Democrats get their knickers in a knot. Countless other multi-millionaires and billionaires make contributions to Democrats and dead silence. Democrats seem to get all upset, when their fundraising advantage and media coverage advantage is even slightly challenged. Harry Reid is starting to sound like the crazy uncle, with his continued rants on the Senate floor about the Koch’s.


  8. - evil t - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 10:48 am:

    Of course they forget about Steyer, Bloomberg, Soros. It’s only evil if the other guy does it.


  9. - Ghost of John Brown - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 10:52 am:

    Silly season is upon us. If you can’t make a rational argument as to why your candidate is better than the other guy and you have to resort to “Koch” or “Soros”, your candidate probably shouldn’t be in elected office.


  10. - steve schnorf - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 10:52 am:

    I would be willing to make a bet most voters have never heard of the Koch brothers much less care about them. We talk on here about low info voters, but this is a pretty sophisticated site and we get plenty of low-info commenters.


  11. - Precinct Captain - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 10:53 am:

    ==getting really close to McCarthyism.==

    One of the latest RW memes is that “McCarthy was right.” Ergo, McCarthyism must not be that bad from the right or left. /snark


  12. - Under Further Review - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 10:54 am:

    @PublicServant:

    Is it a case of comparing apples and oranges?

    How much money has Fred Eychaner spent in comparison?

    Money talks in Illinois, but only right of center donors seem to be criticized. As Rich mentioned in terms of the big picture, the Koch brothers have not made a significant investment in Illinois for this election cycle.


  13. - Anon. - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 10:56 am:

    The important question is whether a mass mailing mentioning the Koch brothers will increase Democrat turnout by more than an average of 0.1% in each precinct in Chicago.


  14. - Chris - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 10:59 am:

    “Charlie and David Koch make contributions to Republicans and Democrats get their knickers in a knot.”

    Insert “George Soros” (or Unions) and flip the script.

    No one has a monopoly on the crazy about who is making donations.


  15. - PublicServant - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 11:00 am:

    @Under Further Review - Not here. I’d like to find out where also sizeable contributions come from to candidates, and when the overall political contributions across the board exceed, oh, say a million bucks, finding out what the political positions of the donors are would be interesting to know. Put the information out there, and let the voters decide. If you think it doesn’t matter, and people won’t care, then why the big uproar here?


  16. - A guy... - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 11:02 am:

    The small amount of dough they’ve tossed into Illinois is reflective of what kind of investment GOP politics is in this state. Let’s hope they’re motivated to invest a lot more here in the future.


  17. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 11:05 am:

    Meh, everyone complains about the other guys “bad guys.”

    Recently read “Sons of Wichita.” Not a bad yarn, but the sons aren’t nearly as interesting as the old man.

    He was a tough old bird. I didn’t realize he made much of his early fortune in the Soviet Union. Seems counter-intuitive for a committed Bircher.


  18. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 11:09 am:

    ===Let’s hope they’re (Koch brothers) motivated to invest a lot more here in the future.===

    Yikes.


  19. - Formerly Known As... - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 11:09 am:

    Lame.


  20. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 11:12 am:

    ==Put the information out there, and let the voters decide==

    Every contribution over $1000 is readily available for the public to see. The trib even has a twitter feed highlighting it. And still, most people don’t care.


  21. - Downstate - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 11:13 am:

    Meh. You play whatever cards you have.
    And the Democrat’s have a very tough hand this year.


  22. - Grandson of Man - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 11:13 am:

    “Look, I get the Democrats’ obsession with the Koch brothers.”

    Correct. Nobody would be too concerned with the Koch brothers and others like them if they had not spent millions to attack unions and universal health insurance. The reason I mention them and stand against them is because they started it.

    I would be ashamed to comment here or elsewhere if I didn’t defend myself against attacks by multibillionaires and multimillionaires whose ability to get wealthy was not in the least bit hurt by unions and taxes.


  23. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 11:16 am:

    The Koch Brothers comments are made to attract the attention of MoveOn, MSNBC, Daily Kos and their donor-followers.

    If it was $4K from Big Tobacco or David Duke, we would talk about it, right?

    Those who don’t think $4K from Koch is relevant don’t think Koch is relevant, but some folks think otherwise.


  24. - Robert the Bruce - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 11:18 am:

    Seems quite silly of democrats to want you to write about this. There’s always a chance that an influential republican will read this post and ask the Koch brothers to invest more in one of the tight races.

    Koch brothers giving just a few thousand to your opponent? Thank God and keep your mouth shut.


  25. - Jimbo - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 11:22 am:

    I’m sure not everyone knows who the Koch brothers are, but those left leaners that do, well they have this feeling that the Koch brothers generally use their money to subvert democracy through things like Freedomworks astroturfing, hijacking the teaparty, funding ALEC and holding the Koch secret summit every year. It isn’t the same as the right wing obsession with Soros. We genuinely fear Koch money is subverting the will of the people by purchasing politicians in order to advance the extreme agenda of two wealthy Birchers. These 4k contributions aren’t much, but they can’t be as contributions like these are limited. The Kochs will likely provide much more support through independent expenditures. Regardless, these contributions indicate the Kochs support these politicians’ agenda and/or vice versa. That’s a major problem considering the ideas the Kochs support.


  26. - kimocat - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 11:23 am:

    It may be a pittance, but it does tell you something about the candidate receiving it. In my state the Kochs pouring millions into a Senate race with their candidate as close to a fascist that I’ve seen in a long time.


  27. - PublicServant - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 11:24 am:

    ===Every contribution over $1000 is readily available for the public to see.===

    That’s too low a bar, and buries people in data overload. Focusing on the mega-donors (define that any way you want) is different. Once you have a mega-donor, of whatever political stripe, contributing to a candidate, regardless of the size of the contribution, I’d like to know about it, and I think it’s enough of a story that the press should highlight all mega-donor contributions at least once during a given race, as part of an overall effort to inform voters.


  28. - Grandson of Man - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 11:25 am:

    “Countless other multi-millionaires and billionaires make contributions to Democrats and dead silence.”

    Multimillionaires and billionaires giving money to candidates who are potentially against their own financial interests is nowhere near the same as people like the Koch brothers, who give money to directly increase their wealth and power.

    It would be the same if the Kochs gave money to liberals and Democrats. Let’s please stop with the false equivalence arguments.


  29. - SHins - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 11:30 am:

    Aren’t AFP the Koch’s? Will they continue spending money here?


  30. - walker - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 11:31 am:

    Not news.


  31. - LincolnLounger - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 11:32 am:

    Obsession is right. The crowd that loves to sing Hallelujah on the subject of free speech suddenly has a different refrain when it comes to the Kochs.

    These sanctimonious comments about the Kochs “subverting” democracy are laughable in their hypocrisy.

    I’m not a tea party conservative and I caucus (in a phone booth) with the moderate, “squishy” GOP “establishment” set. That being stated, the manner in which Harry Reid and the national committees have demonized the Kochs is contemptible. It’s nothing more than trying to chill free speech and donations from others.

    I hope the Kochs double down here and everywhere in response.


  32. - Chicago Cynic - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 11:35 am:

    Oh cmon - it’s not McCarthyism. It’s just stupid (this attack, not the focus in general). Nickels and dimes.


  33. - PublicServant - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 11:36 am:

    That free speech thing sure involves spending a lot of money nowadays doesn’t it? Especially from some people…just sayin.


  34. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 11:38 am:

    –It’s nothing more than trying to chill free speech and donations from others.–

    No, I think it’s an attempt to gin up more money from your own peeps. I don’t see anyone being “chilled” by complaints of big money, it keeps rolling along.

    Everybody plays the same game. Just look at this thread; someone says “Koch,” someone else says “Soros.”


  35. - Walter Mitty - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 11:47 am:

    Any chance we can get them to move some business here???!!!


  36. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 11:48 am:

    ==Multimillionaires and billionaires giving money to candidates who are potentially against their own financial interests ==

    You honestly believe those such as Soros don’t expect something in return benefiting their interests? Bwahahahaha


  37. - steve schnorf - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 11:53 am:

    I get it. If it wasn’t for the (Kochs) democracy would be good again and it would be morning in America. (Substitute name of the moment) Delusional!


  38. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 11:53 am:

    Do we “want” any more Koch or Soros money here in Illinois?

    I guess those making money off both of them want it here, there, everywhere…

    … just be careful what we all wish for. More of either can’t all be that good.


  39. - steve schnorf - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 11:53 am:

    Anonymous, read What’s wrong with Kansas?


  40. - Jimbo - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 12:00 pm:

    Word has it right. These press releases don’t stop pols from accepting Koch donations or stop the Kochs from giving them. They do gin up a lot of donations to democrats from poeple who take issue with the Kochs undue influence in Washington.

    Also, the “chilling to free speech” hyperbole is nonsense. Nothing was more chilling to free speech, than when the Supreme Court stated money was speech. Therefore, wealthier people are inherently entitled to more free speech than the mere commoners. Free speech is no longer free, it costs serious cash now.


  41. - Grandson of Man - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 12:00 pm:

    “You honestly believe those such as Soros don’t expect something in return benefiting their interests? Bwahahahaha”

    You tell us what Soros expects in return: Lower tax rates, less pollution regulations, less health universal insurance, elimination of the DEA and EPA, right to work?

    Is that what Soros expects? I seriously doubt it. You still don’t get it.


  42. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 12:03 pm:

    No one complains when Bloomberg or Soros does this and there are two reasons. They aren’t supporting traditional conservative values, and their contributions have been a complete waste.

    The problem regarding the Koch brothers has been their success. They seed groups and watch which ones succeed. Then they spend money on the successful ones. Instead of the other 25 billionaires who spend more than the Kochs in support of progressive and liberal causes - the Koch brothers have pulled funding from groups without a future in a cause, and aided groups that do succeed within the same cause.

    The Kochs are successful, and that is what is driving their political opposition nuts.

    And yes, it is out of hand how these guys have been turned into villains and bogeymen. McCarthyism? Yes - definitely.


  43. - PublicServant - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 12:04 pm:

    Democracy would be better off without the Kochs self-serving “free speech” spending for sure. And it would be better off with open primaries too. I’ll settle for one out of two, however.


  44. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 12:10 pm:

    –No one complains when Bloomberg or Soros does this and there are two reasons. –

    LOL, I guess you didn’t read any of the comments.


  45. - LincolnLounger - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 12:26 pm:

    Wordslinger and Jimbo, the truth is that major contributions from individuals to the GOP-leaning super PACS is down. Rove and others have stated that large donors are petrified of being called out with protests at their home, Reid from the U.S. Senate floor, etc.

    Chilling is exactly what they have intended, and it’s working to some extent.


  46. - Anon. - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 12:31 pm:

    It’s all a plot to get the conversation off the NRI. And it’s working.


  47. - DuPage - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 12:40 pm:

    @Walter Mitty11:47=Any chance we can get them to move some business here???!!!=

    They already have. Those piles of “pet coke” that are stored on the southeast side of Chicago are part of their operations.


  48. - OneMan - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 12:44 pm:

    Well DuPage they also own Molex who has their world HQ here in Lisle…

    But lets focus on the pet coke…

    BTW, having grown up on the South East side of Chicago (could hear the then Calumet, not Bishop Ford out my window) I am truly touched how once the Koch brothers in some way had something in that neck of the woods all sorts of people started giving two shakes about the environment in that neck of the woods…

    Because before that, I don’t seem to recall that much Democratic anger and the environmental wasteland that is the SE side and nearby suburbs of Chicago.


  49. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 12:59 pm:

    the koch prank phone call to walker say`s it all


  50. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 1:02 pm:

    LL, if Rove’s numbers are down it’s probably because of his lousy return on investment last time out.

    http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/52fb5dc2-29d4-11e2-a5ca-00144feabdc0.html


  51. - OneMan - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 1:06 pm:

    I think most voters are concerned with the Koch Brother’s renewed efforts to take over Illinois. You have to wonder what other - more secretive cash - is flowing in to our state.

    Yeah, most voters are concerned about Koch money.. Right…

    By most, I guess that would imply at least 70%, if 70% of Illinois voters could tell you who the Koch brothers are or whom they give to, I would give Quinn $20…

    Don’t forget these are the same wise insightful voters who re-elected Rod.


  52. - walker - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 1:12 pm:

    The real problem with some of these donors’ efforts to buy votes and influence, is when they purchase special tax breaks or subsidies only for their own companies or narrowly-defined industries, or regulatory relief from their own companies’ mistakes, because political contributions are cheaper than actually cleaning up whatever problems they caused. Both those standards apply to the Kochs. High-volume day traders, or credit default swap marketers, both of which clearly harmed both the free market and its other participants, who buy politicians with big contributions to avoid criminal sanctions or needed regulations against their more abusive practices, should be criticized.

    General ideologically-based contributions, that support policies that would apply to a wide swath of Americans — no problem. The Kochs do some of that too.

    It’s a matter of who is doing it for significant personal gain, regardless of its general impact, and who’s doing it for their view of the good of the country.


  53. - CapnCrunch - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 1:43 pm:

    “Yeah, most voters are concerned about Koch money.. Right…….

    Don’t forget these are the same wise insightful voters who re-elected Rod.”

    Home run -one man-!

    Most voters probably think the Koch brothers sell soda pop. I wonder how many of the Koch haters use Northern Tissue?


  54. - Formerly Known As... - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 1:49 pm:

    == major contributions from individuals to the GOP-leaning super PACS is down ==

    Yep. http://sunlightfoundation.com/blog/2014/02/04/reversing-trend-democrats-top-the-list-of-biggest-super-pac-donors/

    Surprising no one has mentioned Tom Steyer yet. Steyer is poised to outspend the Kochs this cycle. For reference, he spent $32 million in 2012 just on California’s Prop 39 tax question.


  55. - Amalia - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 2:04 pm:

    Good to know. And I won’t purchase Koch Bros. products.


  56. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 2:14 pm:

    –Surprising no one has mentioned Tom Steyer yet.–

    Yet more than one did. And it was also on the order of a complaint about “how come no one complains…”, lol.


  57. - OneMan - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 2:33 pm:

    Good to know. And I won’t purchase Koch Bros. products.

    Well odds are there is at least one Molex connector in your computer, Apple device and a decent number of your home appliances… So I would start chucking stuff now if you want to stay politically pure as it were.


  58. - Formerly Known As... - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 3:19 pm:

    == Yet more than one did. And it was also on the order of a complaint about “how come no one complains…” ==

    lol. 4th comment in. And another one further down.

    I usually try to read every comment already up before drafting a comment. That’s what I get for taking a “shortcut” this time and posting before reading.


  59. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 3:20 pm:

    ===McCarthyism? Yes - definitely.===

    Yes, just exactly like McCarthyism. Except instead of secret lists of Communists serving at the highest levels of government and in Hollywood, we have public lists of Congressmen and Senators who gladly accept PAC contributions from Mr. David and Mr. Charles Koch. And they are being rewarded, not persecuted, unlike those poor souls falsely accused of being Communists and blacklisted. But other than those clear and important differences, it is exactly the same as McCarthyism.

    Teh stupid makes my head hurt. I need to go lie down.


  60. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 3:39 pm:

    ==No one complains when Bloomberg or Soros does this==

    Another victim heard from


  61. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 3:44 pm:

    ===No one complains when Bloomberg or Soros does this===

    Really? News to me.


  62. - Formerly Known As... - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 5:40 pm:

    iirc, this became an issue when Bloomberg came in with $2 million for Robin Kelly. It obviously happens on both sides.

    Whether Bloomberg, Soros, Stayer and so on have been personally attacked and “demonized” to the same extent as the Koch brothers and their friends, it is difficult to say for sure either way.


  63. - Amalia - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 6:19 pm:

    @ One Man, doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try however I can. Lycra is a stretch too. ;-)


  64. - PublicServant - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 7:57 pm:

    That’s because the Koch comparison to the others is not equivalent no matter how much you would have us believe that it is.


  65. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 8:39 am:

    The Venona Project was declassified in 1995. So over the past twenty years it appears that a whole bunch of you guys haven’t caught up with what really happened between 1943-1980 regarding Soviet spying in the US.

    Please do so before continuing to believe the blather we were all taught about McCarthyism when we were in school - or if you are like me and graduated after 1995, find out why none of your professors did any modern research after the Venona Project was declassified and still blather on about how the conservatives were paranoid.

    Here is the easy Wikipedia entry for you beginners


  66. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 8:55 am:

    Nice try VMan,

    Yes, there were active Soviet spies operating in the US. How does that fact absolve Joe McCarthy, who was censured by his colleagues over his handling of the witch hunt? More to the point, explain how the subject of this post is the same as McCarthyism, your words.


  67. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 11:01 am:

    Yeah, VMan, when I want to go deep into history I’ll turn to you and wiki.

    McCarthy was a blowhard drunk who built himself up and finally buried himself with an ever-changing cast of innuendo and lies. There’s nothing in the Venona files that changes that.

    Were there Soviet spies in the United States? Yes. Lot of good it did them. Lot of good U.S. spies did us then and now when PFC. Manning and super-temp Snowden can blow the lid off the whole $60 billion a year enterprise.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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* At long last the African music from Ali and Foreman’s ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ sees release
* 20 for 20: Illinois REALTORS® hit every member of state’s congressional delegation
* Look for Illinois REALTORS® April housing report Wednesday
* Campaign website launched, June 28 fundraiser set for Scott McKenna
* Durbin compares Trump to former governor Rod Blagojevich, and other Chicago news
* Campaign website, June 6 fundraiser set for Judge Myron Mackoff
* McMaster.


* Illinois Awarded Funds to Offer Advanced Training on Detecting Impaired Driving
* Illinois EPA Announces Upcoming Household Hazardous Waste Collection Events
* IEMA Highlights Emergency Preparedness for People with Access and Functional Needs in May - Ready Illinois website offers preparedness tips for people, caregivers
* First Lady Launches Illinois Family Connects
* Governor and Lt. Governor Unveil 2016 Journal of Local Government Shared Service Best Practices

  
* Can’t get an Honor 6X? Honor 6A gets you the bare essentials
* Russia added to list of countries where Android Pay is available
* Warby Parker’s Prescription Check app lets you skip the eye doctor
* Xfinity Mobile offering unlimited data for $45 per month to Comcast customers
* Embrace.io raises $2.5M to track mobile app performance
* Microsoft bills ‘new’ Surface Pro as ‘the most versatile laptop’, Intel Kaby Lake inside
* Baffling Moto G5S gets rendered in trio of paint jobs with all-metal construction

* Covey seeks first win vs. Corbin, D-backs
* White Sox can't solve Greinke in opening loss
* White Sox can't solve Greinke in opening loss
* Covey seeks first win vs. Corbin, D-backs
* Gonzalez sees positives despite 5th straight L
* Diamondbacks 5, White Sox 1: Too much Zack Greinke
* White Sox can't solve Greinke in opening loss


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