The political network of Charles and David Koch is known for pumping millions of dollars into state and local elections. Americans for Prosperity, an organization founded and run by the brothers under the guise of a grassroots movement, has been active in pushing conservative policies since its conception in 2004.
And now, with the 2018 midterms fast approaching, the Kochs are expecting a spending spree of about $400 million - roughly 60 percent more than the 2015-2016 cycle.
That will include as much as $20 million in 2018 to sell to voters the Republican tax cuts signed in December by President Donald Trump, about the same amount Koch-affiliated groups spent on promoting the legislation in 2017, officials with the Koch network said Saturday.
The plans were outlined to reporters at a three-day summit for some 550 donors and potential donors at a desert resort near Palm Springs, California. Previously, the organization had pledged to spend $300 million to $400 million this election cycle, up from the roughly $250 million it shelled out during the 2015-2016 campaign season.
Tim Phillips, president of the Koch-affiliated advocacy group Americans for Prosperity, called it “largest investment we’ve ever had in a midterm election" and noted it will encompass all 30 states where the group has established itself.
For Republicans, 2018 will be a “very challenging environment at the federal and state level,” Phillips said. The party that controls the White House typically loses seats in the midterm elections -- an outcome made more likely by Trump’s historic unpopularity.
“The left is energized,” Phillips said. “There is no question about that, and it’s prudent for folks to understand that.”
Indeed, Democrats are facing the possibility of taking back control of both chambers, needing to flip 24 seats in the House and gain just two in the Senate.
But the Kochs are optimistic:
“I’m more excited about what we’re doing and about the opportunities than I’ve ever been,” [Charles Koch] said. “We have made more progress in the last five years than I had in the previous 50.”