Anti-worker billionaires Charles and David Koch say they are budgeting to spend $889 million on 2016 campaigns through their right-wing political organizations, effectively transforming their network into a third political party.
For context, the Republican National Committee and the party’s two congressional campaign arms spent $657 million in the last presidential election.
“The spending goal, revealed Monday at the Koch’s annual winter donor retreat near Palm Springs, CA, would allow their political organization to operate at the same financial scale as the Democratic and Republican parties,” reads a recent article in The New York Times.
The Koch Brothers, who both rank 7th on the Forbes list of the world’s richest people with $41.5 billion each, have channeled millions of dollars into anti-union organizations like the National Right to Work Foundation, the American Legislative Exchange Council and Americans for Prosperity.
Koch dollars were behind efforts in 2011 to bust public sector unions in Wisconsin, and then helped keep Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in office when he faced a recall election. Through their networks, they have introduced scores of right-to-work (for less) and similarly anti-union bills in dozens of states.
Walker, a possible 2016 presidential candidate, attended the recent Koch summit. As did Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Rand Paul (R-KY) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) – all of whom are thought to be considering a run at the presidency.
Former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich says the Koch Brothers have formed what he calls “The Billionaire Party.”
“The Billionaire Party won’t compete for votes with either of the other two parties, though,” Reich wrote in a post on Facebook. “It’s designed to make sure candidates it supports are beholden to it, if elected. So they’ll cut taxes on billionaires, cut regulations billionaires don’t like, arrange for subsidies and bailouts for billionaires, and, in general, rig the economy for their benefit.”