La Koch-a Nostra

As Team WIN THE MORNING points out, in a post-Citizens United world, the Koch brothers have figured out the game more quickly than everybody else in either party and they’re playing it even more skillfully. Why bother with buying national party machinery when you can just bring your own people in to run things?

The Koch brothers and their allies are pumping tens of millions of dollars into a data company that’s developing detailed, state-of-the-art profiles of 250 million Americans, giving the brothers’ political operation all the earmarks of a national party.

The move comes as mainstream Republicans, led by Mitch McConnell, are trying to reclaim control of the conservative movement from outside groups. The Kochs, however, are continuing to amass all of the campaign tools the Republican National Committee and other party arms use to elect a president.

The Koch network also has developed in-house expertise in polling, message-testing, fact-checking, advertising, media buying, dial groups and donor maintenance. Add mastery of election law, a corporate-minded aggressiveness and years of patient experimentation — plus seemingly limitless cash — and the Koch operation actually exceeds the RNC’s data operation in many important respects.

The Koch operations are the most important nonparty political players in the U.S. today, and no one else is even close,” said a top Republican who has been involved in the last eight presidential campaigns.

Two years ago the Kochs worked with the Drive The All New Reince Priebus and ended up with Mitt Romney, somebody that even they didn’t have enough money to buy the White House with.  This time around, the plans seems to be to just cut out the RNC middleman and exercise that free speech directly with your own party apparatchiks.

Heading into 2016, the Koch network — under the auspices of Freedom Partners — has in many ways surpassed the reach and resources of the RNC. And, unlike the party, it isn’t bound by rules requiring it to maintain neutrality in primaries. Though the network has yet to engage in primaries, that could be the next logical step in its progression from apolitical think tank consortium to aggressive privatized political machine.

The best president money can buy, tanned field-tested, and ready. Of course this is the logical endpoint of “private sector solutions to public sector problems” and all that messy democracy crap, right?

74 replies
  1. 1
    Belafon says:

    Our side will say they’re not playing by the rules, and Republicans will argue that this will finally allow a white to win a presidential election.

  2. 2
    Elizabelle says:

    Warning: Politico link, reported by Mike Allen.

    What can we do to turn back this tide?

  3. 3
    Amir Khalid says:

    It doth seem to me, what the Koch brothers are doing here is not unlike Uber’s unlicenced taxi/limo service. They’ve found a way to act outside regulatory reach, by simply refusing to acknowledge their de facto party affiliation.

  4. 4
    mai naem mobile says:

    I hope in their next lives all.the Koch brothers are born as dirt poor black females residing in a sharia controlled area drought, hot temps and water borne disease, being routinely bombed by some adversarial country and they remember their previous lives.

  5. 5
    Jim says:

    There is an over used word for what the end game is for Koch’s and others, Fascism.

  6. 6
    rikyrah says:

    they are evil. plain and simple.

  7. 7
    JPL says:

    A friend sent the political wire link to me this morning. I read enough without reading the politico story.
    Just remember freedom isn’t free.

  8. 8
    Amir Khalid says:

    @mai naem mobile:
    I really wish you (and others here) wouldn’t reflexively refer to Shariah law as some big, horrible, oppressive monolithic thing. It is all too often horribly oppressive, but hardly monolithic. Every Islamic jurisdiction has its own set of laws, and they vary widely in their oppressiveness. Not every Islamic country is like Saudi Arabia.

  9. 9
    Stella B. says:

    @Jim: I read this post, then I scrolled down and read Annie Laurie’s “Broken Windows” post and now I just feel sick. Fascism pure and simple. You can bet the “Libertarian” Kochs approve of military style policing of the “little people”.

  10. 10
    gene108 says:

    @Stella B.:

    In the good old days, the Koch’s could’ve called the governor and the governor would dispatch the state’s National Guard to mow down the protestors exercising their Constitutional rights trouble makers in a hail of bullets.

    I’m sure they mourn the loss of confidence government used to give business, by doing what business told them to do.

    Stupid Labor / Progressive / Civil Rights / Women’s Rights movements of the 19th and 20th centuries for screwing business confidence to invest in America.

    The Koch’s are going to set things right.

  11. 11
    Belafon says:


    What can we do to turn back this tide?

    Protests, getting people to run for office, getting people to vote, causing power outages at Fox news sites so people will have to find their news somewhere else.

  12. 12

    I don’t get these guys. They seem driven by greed, which is already something I don’t altogether understand, since it’s hard to see how they could think they don’t already have enough money… But beyond that, why do they want to control politics? So they can screw around with the laws to keep more of their pretty, pretty money. But they end up spending so much on buying politicians and trying to swing elections that it seems likely to me that they’d be better off just keeping out of politics, paying the pittance they owe in taxes and then hoarding their holy money. How can they be coming out ahead in this?

  13. 13
    JPL says:

    @Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et al.): If you rid the country of those pesky regulations, they can make more money.

  14. 14
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Amir Khalid: From my understanding of both Sharia laws and Islamic culture in general, it’s all more tribal and ancestral than dictated by anything in the Koran. There are wide differences in the way a matter can be treated.

  15. 15
    debbie says:


    What can we do to turn back this tide?

    Get the billionaires who support politicians other than the GOP to come together and pool their money to fund buses that will travel throughout the country issuing photo IDs which will comply with the voting requirements of each specific state.

  16. 16
    GregB says:

    @Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et al.):

    It’s their money and they want to spend it on their own terms.

    This is just an investment for these cretinous fascists.

  17. 17
    debbie says:


    I heard an expert define Sharia as the forceful imposition of the law of Man. In this way, the far right’s drive to legitimize Hobby Lobby’s right to discriminate is as much Sharia as anything coming out of the Middle East.

  18. 18
    JGabriel says:

    Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et al.):

    But they [the Koch brothers] end up spending so much on buying politicians and trying to swing elections that it seems likely to me that they’d be better off just keeping out of politics, paying the pittance they owe in taxes and then hoarding their holy money. How can they be coming out ahead in this?

    Because it’s about power, not money. The money is a means to an end, and the means to maintain it.

  19. 19
    Derelict says:

    The real question here is how can the voting public be educated about any candidate or cause the Kochs are backing? I’d like to think that the Kochs would find it just about impossible to get more than a handful of votes for any candidate widely recognized as being their bought-and-paid-for guy. However, the continued existence of Scott Walker does give me pause.

  20. 20
    JGabriel says:


    From my understanding of both Sharia laws and Islamic culture in general, it’s all more tribal and ancestral than dictated by anything in the Koran. There are wide differences in the way a matter can be treated.

    Like different branches of Christian fundamentalism?

  21. 21
    Xenos says:

    The Kochs want power. Power and status, like any silverback. Money is just a means, and like shit, is useless if you do not expel it from your person.

  22. 22
    Belafon says:

    @Derelict: What’s the point of having all that money if polititions aren’t groveling at your feet?

  23. 23
    Eric U. says:

    @Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et al.): I have wondered about that, Adelson spent $60 mil to try to elect Gingrich. That’s a hell of a tax bill, you’d have to expect some government dollars heading your way to put that kind of money into a race. The sad fact is, you can get plenty of government money with far smaller outlays of cash than that, I doubt it cost $100k to buy a congressman, it certainly didn’t in the recent past.

  24. 24
    Amir Khalid says:

    That’s very true. Islamic law in Malaysia is a very different creature from that in the Middle East, because it has evolved out of a very different social and political setup. That practiced among Muslims who live as religious minorities in the West and elsewhere is something else again.

  25. 25
    Brandon says:

    The second that the Koch’s really work outside of and with the intent to subvert Republucan power is the moment when the rules will change and it will all crash in on them. Congress will deem regulating political money important, John Roberts will make up a new Constitutional right to support the party, and the non-Koch press will hound them into the ground. Believe me, I am much less worried about them than by the political influence of those bankster scoundrels on Wall Street.

  26. 26
    JPL says:

    This is not about free enterprise. This is about the right to prevent anyone from getting in your way to maximize your individual profits. The Koch brothers are going to buy Jeb Bush because it’s a twofer..
    They get rid of pesky regulations and they get to hire immigrants.

  27. 27
    Woodrowfan says:

    @Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et al.): they are true believers. They were raised by RWNJ Daddy to think their way is the only true freedom. Remember the old definition of a fanatic? Someone who is doing what God would do, if only God knew the facts of the case. That’s them.

    And remember what happens to those deemed insufficiently “pure” when those type of people get power.

    (OT: CHROME SUCKS!, how can it constantly hang on Google of all things>???!?!?!?)

  28. 28
    Mike in NC says:

    Assuming they can buy the White House in 2016, Koch Industries will profit handsomely in the war with Iran.

  29. 29
    GHayduke (formerly lojasmo) says:

    Dollars to donuts the end up with mitt the unbeatable super mensch.

  30. 30
    JPL says:

    @GHayduke (formerly lojasmo): My guess is still Jeb because of the immigration laws.

  31. 31
    El Caganer says:

    @Amir Khalid: Nuh-uh. If we don’t stand up to them mosque-buildin’ jihadosexuals here in Buttfuck Creek, it’s gonna be nothin’ but burkas and beheadings in the Greatest Christian Country That Jesus and George Washington Ever Created. So there.

  32. 32
    JPL says:

    @GHayduke (formerly lojasmo): Mitt is beatable because of his quotes. He was hoping to get unemployment numbers down to six percent after four years.

  33. 33
    Bobby B. says:

    There’s a point where the house is so infested by termites they end up holding it together. The Age of the Load-Bearing Parasite.

  34. 34
    SenyorDave says:

    @Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et al.): I used to wonder the same about Rupert Murdoch, and I finally had to conclude that Occam’s Razor applies here. These are bad people, essentially evil. A common thread seems to be that it is not enough for them to have more, the “undeserving” poor have to have less.

  35. 35
    Botsplainer says:


    What can we do to turn back this tide

    The only method I see to turn back the tide on a progressive dictated timetable would be to provide adequate funding, electronic doodads, C4 and Koch brother schedules of movement and vehicle descriptions to a new branch of the Weathermen. This is because of all the dug-in conservatives in executive and judicial government positions, and there is enough vote suppression to make electoral efforts futile in the short term.

    Other than that, we have to await nature.

    On the good side, while there are plenty of assholes in the Koch structure, the natural demise of the Kochs will set off multiple self-destructive power plays.

  36. 36
    mai naem mobile says:

    @Amir Khalid: i apologize. Next time I’ll make sure i narrow Taliban style sharia law.

  37. 37
    El Caganer says:

    @Elizabelle: Of Politico, or the Koch brothers?

  38. 38
    demz taters says:

    @Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et al.): Because they know as well as anyone what their preferred policies are doing to the planet and how costly it’s going to be to buffer themselves and theirs from the consequences.

  39. 39
    Ridnik Chrome says:

    @Woodrowfan: I like that definition of fanaticism. Do you recall the original source for it?

    Edit: Not having any luck with google…

  40. 40
    Melissa says:

    This may make the Republicans join with the Dems in asking for campaign finance reform. After all, if the Kochs start threatening the party apparatus, things get serious. Republicans like power as much as the next … Republican. All of a sudden, overturning Citizens United and yelling at the IRS for not enforcing the 501(c)3 divisions between political and charity work will be in vogue.

  41. 41
    srv says:

    Just another example of gliberal hyporkrisy:

    President Barack Obama’s presidential campaign has turned over its most valuable asset — a massive computer database containing personal data on millions of American voters — to a new advocacy group created to advance the White House agenda on issues ranging from gun control to immigration reform.

    Organizing For Action (OFA), the advocacy group set up in recent weeks by the president’s top political aides, has already acquired access to the database under a leasing agreement with the Obama campaign…

    The creation of OFA, which is being chaired by former Obama campaign manager Jim Messina, is stirring controversy – both among public interest groups over the group’s plans to accept unlimited corporate donations, and among privacy advocates over the transfer of the database.

    “It’s extremely worrisome,” said Lillie Coney, associate director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, noting that Obama campaign supporters likely have no idea that personal data they voluntarily shared with the campaign has now been transferred and is being used for purposes beyond the election.

    Dubbed the “nuclear codes” by campaign aides, the Obama campaign database is widely described as one of the most powerful tools ever developed in American politics.

    “With his decision to allow corporations to fund the new organizations that will operate as an arm of his presidency, President Obama has ‘given a green light to a new stampede of special interest money,’”

  42. 42
    Leafy says:

    Take a look at Cory Gardner who just beat Mark Udall for the senate in Colorado. He was groomed and financed by the Kochs, and his ability to subvert the truth, with a glowing Cheshire Cat smile, made Romney’s lying look like a simpleton’s game.

    Gardner sponsored the Personhood bill in Congress. He helped build the hard-core anti-choice group here in Colorado. Yet, he denied all of it, even when called out on it during the debate with Udall. Flat out lied. He got elected at the same time that we soundly defeated the personhood amendment on our ballot. He is the dream Koch candidate. Someone who is as crazy as Christine O’Donnell, but can hide it with a slick, attractive veneer. He will be running for President soon.

  43. 43


    The second that the Koch’s really work outside of and with the intent to subvert Republucan power is the moment when the rules will change and it will all crash in on them.

    I’m not sure about that. The danger is that there will already be enough Koch Republicans to block any move by the Establishment Republicans to change the rules back.

  44. 44
    J R in WV says:

    @Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et al.):

    The Koch brothers aren’t about more money, they’re about more power. They want to return to the days when a truly rich man, a billionaire, owns his employees, can hire and fire without recourse, and has no rules to compel a business owner to treat employees fairly, at all.

    In other words, they intend to reinstate wage slavery, as soon as possible, and there is nothing you can do to stop them! Bankruptcy will become a thing for businesses only, if you owe anyone anything, you can be compelled to work to repay that debt, no matter what the debt is, no matter what the work entails.

    This would “free up” employees to work to repair those reactors in Japan, for just one example. Or perhaps more accurately, enslave people to do Master Koch’s bidding. Just as things once were, so shall they be again!

  45. 45
  46. 46
    Belafon says:

    @srv: I remember when the left went nuts over that.

    And then I remember when the left got angry because Obama wouldn’t coordinate with the states.

  47. 47
    mak says:

    @Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et al.): From a pure investment standpoint, nothing beats the ROI on a compliant politician. Throw a couple million at a specific committee, and you stand to gains tens, if not hundreds of millions back when they vote your way. Oil and toilet paper can’t come close to those margins. And the same principle goes double on the state level, where legislators come much, much, more cheaply. The only thing preventing the Kochs from getting everything they want is other, competing money that wants something slightly different.

  48. 48
    srv says:

    @Belafon: It was Rahm’s fault.

  49. 49
    Linnaeus says:

    @J R in WV:

    In other words, neofeudalism.

  50. 50
    Woodrowfan says:

    @Ridnik Chrome: It was “Mr. Dooley” (Finley Peter Dunne) …. A fanatic is a man that does what he thinks the Lord would do if He knew the facts of the case.

  51. 51
    samiam says:

    When is wr0ng way Cole going to post the latest Taibbi political blogger porn? The one man mindless mob always eats up everything every left wing media troll that comes along says.

    The guy probably owns every book Griftwal d has sold. I would not be surprised if he has a poster of him hanging on his bedroom wall.

  52. 52
    bemused says:

    I have puzzled over why the filthy are not satisfied no matter how much money or power they have. It may have been Nick Hanauer, iirc, who said that a huge motivation is the craving to be the top muckety muck in their bunch.

  53. 53
    boatboy_srq says:

    @Botsplainer: Interesting that the Reichwing is causing us to discuss these items in no small part from their insistence that they (they being ALEC, AEI, Heritage, NOM/FoF et al) need all those Conservatist rubes to send them cheques to defeat the vast angry LibrulSoshulist army arrayed against them. We are actually discussing an organized resistance because they’re behaving like one already exists.

  54. 54
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et al.):

    But beyond that, why do they want to control politics? So they can screw around with the laws to keep more of their pretty, pretty money.

    Nah. That’s not the reason. They want to promote a particular vision of America, i.e., free enterprise. They fear that the nation will embrace something else if they don’t work to change the tide of the times. And money is no object.

  55. 55
    RareSanity says:


    The second that the Koch’s really work outside of and with the intent to subvert Republucan power is the moment when the rules will change and it will all crash in on them.

    This has already happened, it’s too late to do anything about it, and the GOP has no one to blame but itself.

    All those gerrymandered districts, where teatard candidates can get elected without kissing the feet of establishment Republicans for financial assistance, was where the final stand could have taken place. That is no longer an option and the GOP knows it. They said as much during the whole government shutdown fiasco. Ted Cruz was in control of those people, not the GOP.

    I have no idea how all of this will turn out, but I’ll just be sitting here, hoping Democrats actually find some way to find a voice of their own…and rooting for injuries on the other side.

  56. 56
    boatboy_srq says:

    @J R in WV: @Linnaeus: I still say that the Reichwing is mortally offended that they have to pay [for] labor [more than once].

  57. 57
    Mart says:

    Somebody needs to stand up to that all powerful Acorn Voter Fraud Orginazation. (Kidding.)

  58. 58
    rikyrah says:

    it’s Monday.

    The Government will shut down on THURSDAY, unless the House GOP gets its act together.

  59. 59

    @RareSanity: yeah, it’s kind of nuts seeing the party like this. I have no idea how or where it will be resolved

  60. 60


    This has already happened, it’s too late to do anything about it, and the GOP has no one to blame but itself.

    It’s not 100% too late. If the Establishment Republicans really want to do something about it, they could still do so by cutting a deal with the Democrats. That they aren’t is a good sign that they aren’t seriously worried about the Koch brothers’ hold on the party.

  61. 61
    El Caganer says:

    @samiam: Wow. This is like free verse. Only really, really stupid.

  62. 62
    Yatsuno says:

    @samiam: Herp de Durf. Get banned from Twitter again?

  63. 63
    mak says:

    Here’s your thread:
    I’m sure if you go over there, Cole will be along shortly.

  64. 64

    @Amir Khalid:
    In general, the point of mentions of ‘Shariah law’ here is to make fun of conservatives who think it’s the boogyman. They’re so terrified of it, so they should be forced to live under it, kind of thing. However, I can see why throwing it around so casually would be offensive! I will certainly try to avoid making a joke out of it from here on out.

  65. 65
    JMV Pyro says:

    @Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et al.):

    Been said by pretty much everyone, but the Koch’s are less interested in money then they are power at this point. They’ve never not known wealth and prosperity, they’re just of a mindset (they’re father was a founding Bircher, so this runs deep) that says that America’s Golden Age was the one where businesses could do whatever they wanted to anyone and government was beholden to them. The end result is two old fucks who have spent most of their lives trying to send America back to the 1880s.

  66. 66
    Citizen Alan says:

    My own pet theory is that the Kochs are driven by a combination of nihilism and narcissism. They know perfectly well that the policies they support will result in the utter ruination of our environment. But to them, that is a feature rather than a bug. Because they are all rich and powerful and above all old. Charles and David Koch know they’re going to die relatively soon. And they simply cannot bear the thought that the world will continue on without them. So they’re going to do everything they can to kill us all. The human race exists only to be flung onto the bonfire of history so that their immaculate souls can be floated up to heaven.

  67. 67
    Malovich says:

    My, that cancer has metastasized.

  68. 68
  69. 69
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Citizen Alan: They know perfectly well that the policies they support will result in the utter ruination of our environment.

    I actually doubt that they “know” that, since I doubt that they believe it. I’ve been having an ongoing e-mail discussion with a hard-right writer/columnist for a local publication, who seems to be representative of this mindset – even if he acknowledges, for instance, the temperature rise, he does not believe it is anthropogenic; even if he acknowledges the possibility of the exhaustion of fossil fuel resources, he believes that increasing scarcity will lead to higher and higher prices, which will lead to alternatives, because humans are creative. Just as the incipient extinction of sperm whales was prevented by the discovery of petroleum, something will come along to save us when the cost incentives are right. This belief is unshakeable.

  70. 70
    KG says:

    @Citizen Alan: i’ll give you nihilist and narcissistic, but in my experience having dealt with members of the “conservative movement”, they don’t usually believe that their policies will be ruinous. they tend to believe that their preferred policies will actually be better for the world (mainly because they think their policies will be better for themselves and if its better for them then it must be better for everyone). and their answers to almost everything is “free markets!” Don’t like the fact that someone just opened a paper mill next door to your house (and thereby caused the value to drop by 35%)? Don’t sue for nuisance or demand zoning laws to prohibit paper mills in residential areas, just sell your house and move! some will concede that you have a claim for nuisance, but will also probably seek to limit tort damages because tort law is bad for businesses. Others might concede that zoning laws might actually be beneficial, but not until the paper mill is next door to them.

  71. 71
    KG says:

    @Gin & Tonic: dammit, you beat me to it

  72. 72
    RaflW says:

    The way I see it right now, the only real option is to show voters that kicking the Koch’s and all their bought men in the balls will be more fun, satisfying and effective in improving their lives than their current perceived options of (1) staying home or (2) voting against those party-pooper libruls.

  73. 73
    S. Holland says:

    @mai naem mobile: stunningly perfect!!
    @mai naem mobile:

  74. 74
    Tree With Water says:

    Now I know Butch Cassidy felt about E.R. Harriman of the Union Pacific. If the Koch’s would just offer me a fair share of the same money they’re currently paying political marketeers to gain it, who knows how I’d vote?

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