A political network linked to conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch raised at least $407 million in the last election, almost matching Mitt Romney’s campaign funds. By comparison, the Koch network raised more than George W. Bush did in 2004, and outdid both presidential candidates in 2000.
According to an analysis from the Washington Post and Center for Responsive Politics, the labyrinth of 17 tax-exempt Koch groups shielded wealthy individuals from disclosing their donations, including the exact amount the two billionaires contribute. A vast amount came through two main groups with ties to Koch officials, which fed $302 million to a wider network — Americans for Prosperity, Club for Growth, the American Energy Alliance, Heritage Action, among others.
The Koch network just about beat most campaign funding for the 2012 election, toppling Karl Rove’s $325 million super PAC. It unsurprisingly dwarfed older elections and small donors, too:
$407 million is the “conservative estimate,” because eight groups haven’t yet filed their returns. Nonetheless, the Koch network met their pledge before the 2012 election to spend at least $400 million to defeat the presidential incumbent. These funds represent a small fraction of the Koch brothers’ estimated $72 billion wealth.
Through this network, groups like Americans for Prosperity and other Koch affiliates fund campaigns to undermine Obamacare, the minimum wage, and clean energy and the environment. Ahead of the 2014 congressional midterms, AFP is already spending $2.5 million on ads attacking the health care law.