Alarm as Koch bankrolls dozens of candidates for election deniers

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Fossil fuel giant Koch Industries has invested more than $1 million in supporting — directly and indirectly — dozens of House and Senate candidates who voted against Joe Biden’s January 6, 2021 victory.

Koch, which is controlled by multi-billionaire Charles Koch, has a corporate Pac that has donated $607,000 to the campaigns or leadership Pacs of 52 election deniers since January 2021, making Koch’s Pac the primary corporate funder of members who oppose the election results, according to OpenSecrets, which tracks campaign spending.

In addition, the Super Pac Americans for Prosperity Action, to which Koch Industries has given more than $6 million since January 2021, has supported some election deniers with advertising and other communications support, as well as some candidates Donald Trump has backed trying to help him win the election. of 2020 or cast doubt on the final results.

A top official at TAUT Action told Politico after the Jan. 6 uprising by Donald Trump supporters that it planned to “weight heavily” future spending and support “policymakers who reject the politics of division.”

A total of 139 members of the House and eight senators voted against confirming Biden’s victory in Arizona or Pennsylvania.

Election and campaign finance watchdogs say the financial support for candidates who were election deniers through Koch’s Pac and the Super Pac TAUT action is deeply troubling given the threats to democracy posed by election deniers.

“There is a unique danger in the fact that politicians who cast doubt on the validity of the latest election results will play a role in the certification of the next election,” said Ian Vandewalker, senior counsel for the Democracy program at the Brennan Center for Justice.

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“Even if they don’t take overt action to reject the will of the voters, the denial message itself damages voters’ confidence in the system. Democracy requires the losing side to accept the results – without it we could see civil unrest on a much larger scale than January 6.

While the Koch-funded Super Pac TAUT campaign had suggested it would not support election deniers after Jan. 6, analysts are not shocked given Koch’s lobbying and legislative priorities, which include fighting several tax and regulatory measures related to issues fossil fuels, including climate change impacting business results.

Koch spent $12.2 million on lobbying last year — more than any other oil and gas company in 2021.

“Like other companies promising change after January 6, Koch Industries is back to normal,” said Sheila Krumholz, who leads OpenSecrets. Without repercussions and sustained public attention, companies will go back to funding politicians who support their agenda.”

“Like many big money-spending companies, Koch seems more interested in their favored party controlling Congress than in the characteristics of specific members,” Vandewalker added.

Certainly, the Koch Pac’s support for 52 election deniers has included a number of members whose votes are often helpful to fossil fuel interests.

Louisiana Senator John Kennedy, who is often a staunch ally to fossil fuel interests, received $20,000 from Koch’s Pac, an amount matched only by Capital One’s corporate Pac. Kennedy collaborated with other senators in January 2021 on a statement claiming that the 2020 election was “full of allegations of fraud and irregularities that go beyond our lives.”

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Senator Roger Marshall of Kansas, where Koch is headquartered, also voted against endorsing Biden’s election and has received support from Koch’s Pac. Marshall is not up for re-election this year.

Individually, Americans for Prosperity Action, to which Koch donated $6 million, spent nearly $20 million on advertising and other communications much of which has gone in support of some election deniers running for Senate and House, plus Senate candidates who tried to help Trump reverse the 2020 election results or who have expressed doubts about its outcome.

For example, House Member Ted Budd, who voted against Biden’s victory on Jan. 6 and now hopes to win a Senate seat in North Carolina, has benefited from nearly $3.1 million spent by TAUT Action to help him win the seat of the outgoing president. Senator Richard Burr. Budd also told TAUT he had “constitutional concerns” about the election, while acknowledging Biden’s presidency.

Similarly, two House members who oppose certifying Biden’s win, Florida’s Kat Cammack and Ohio’s Steve Chabot, have both supported TAUT Action. TAUT Action spent $369,750 to help Cammack and $287,902 to help Chabot.

In addition, TAUT Action has spent $4.9 million to boost Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, who filed a lawsuit with the Texas Attorney General in December 2020 to reverse the election results, and is running for a open seat.

Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson has also taken advantage of $4.2 million spent by TAUT Action to help him in what appears to be a tight reelection race. According to revelations at a House 6 committee hearing in June, an aide to Johnson reportedly helped further efforts to replace fake Trump voters with legitimate ones that Biden won in the run-up to January 6 when Congress passed. the election results.

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And Mehmet Oz, the GOP Senate candidate in Pennsylvania, whose campaign was supported by more than $2 million in advertising and other support from TAUT Action, told TAUT News in September that “much more information” was needed to judge whether Trump won the 2020 election, contradicting previous comments by Oz that he would have certified Biden’s election if he was a senator.

Election objectors won significant donations from business Pacs other than Koch’s. OpenSecrets reported in August that members who voted against confirming Biden’s victory received a whopping $22 million from 700 companies’ Pacs after January 6. Besides Koch’s Pac, the other top PACs were those of Home Depot and Boeing, which brought in $593,000 to 44 members and $520,000 to 27 members, respectively.

Still, at least one veteran of a think tank that Charles Koch co-founded and helped fund says the company’s continued support for election deniers is deeply troubling.

“If the only elected officials who will carry your political water are proto-fascists, what should you do?” said Jerry Taylor, former vice president of the Cato Institute in DC, where he oversaw climate and energy issues. “Charles Koch has made his choice. This self-proclaimed voice of liberty and liberty has apparently decided that promoting the public policies it desires is more important than democracy.

“His choice is no different from the choices most German industrialists in the Weimar Republic made.”

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