by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Yes, the campaign to vilify the Koch brothers is designed, in part, to rally liberal voters leading up to fall elections across the country. But the anti-Koch crusade also has another purpose, as David Drucker explains in a Washington Examiner article.
Democratic super PACs have outraised their Republican counterparts by millions, a factor attributed in part to GOP donors’ fear of being targeted by the Internal Revenue Service — or “getting Koch’ed.”
Republican political operatives concede that there are multiple reasons for the Democrats’ advantage in super PAC money raised.
Among them: Labor unions have become among their largest and most consistent donors. But this election cycle, two new challenges have chilled GOP super PACs’ effort to raise cash from wealthy individuals and corporate donors: anxiety that they could get slapped with an IRS audit and unease that donating could lead to public demonization.
The former concern has arisen in the wake of revelations that the IRS has targeted conservative groups for extra scrutiny and leaked confidential information about their contributors. The latter is tied to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s relentless attacks on Charles and David Koch.
The two brothers are wealthy industrialists who have invested millions of dollars through their organizations to push conservative policies and help Republicans win seats in the midterm elections.
“Certainly, there is some abiding sense of distrust that people who give to these super PACs will be looked at more closely by federal authorities,” said Fred Malek, the finance chairman at the Republican Governors Association and a longtime major donor to GOP causes and candidates.
Added Charlie Spies, a Republican attorney who has run various super PACs, including the main outside group that supported Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential bid: “With some donors, Sen. Reid’s concerted effort to demonize political giving as made an impact.”