Nothing Really Compares to the Koch Brothers’ Political Empire

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This post originally appeared at The Huffington Post.

As billionaire conservatives Charles and David Koch become a focus of Democratic Party attacks for their big spending in the 2014 elections, conservatives have argued back that the Kochs’ “dark money” is puny compared to the shadowy funds spent by an array of wealthy liberal interests and individuals.

Businessman Tom Steyer listens during a meeting to announce the launch of a group called Virginians for Clean Government at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va., Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013. The group was formed to explain the impact of CONSOL Energy not paying royalties to their family and neighbors as well as speaking out against Ken Cuccinelli's acceptance of $111,000 in CONSOL contributions. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Businessman Tom Steyer listens during a meeting to announce the launch of a group called Virginians for Clean Government in Richmond, Va., Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Fingers have been pointed at labor unionsbillionaire investor George Sorosbillionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer and the Tides Foundation as the supposed liberal counterparts to the Kochs.

But the numbers just don’t add up. And these progressive groups tend to operate in the sunshine of public disclosure, unlike the Kochs’ semi-secret political empire.

Let’s start with the misunderstanding — or the deliberate expansion — of the term “dark money.”

Coined in October 2010 by Bill Allison, editorial director at the Sunlight Foundation, “dark money” was meant to describe the funds spent on elections and election-related issue ads by political nonprofits that are not required to disclose the names of their donors. This money skyrocketed following the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision.

The term “dark money” does not apply to every nonprofit that does not disclose its donors — not even to every nondisclosing nonprofit with political goals, broadly speaking, on the left or the right.

The term “dark money” does not apply, however, to every nonprofit that does not disclose its donors — not even to every nondisclosing nonprofit with political goals, broadly speaking, on the left or the right.

“Cato [Institute], Heritage [Foundation] and Center for American Progress aren’t dark money groups, and neither is the March of Dimes, which also does not disclose donors,” Allison said via email. “I think of Dark Money as the money from undisclosed donors spent to influence the outcome of an election.”

What kinds of nonprofits does the term cover? Mainly, “social welfare” nonprofits (organized under section 501(c)(4) of the tax code) and trade associations (organized under section 501(c)(6)), when they spend money to influence electoral outcomes. It can also cover shell corporations that spend on elections and have no other apparent purpose.

Those not included under the “dark money” moniker: public interest nonprofits (organized under section 501(c)(3)), which may be involved in shaping policy but are forbidden to engage in electoral activity and labor unions (organized under section 501(c)(5)), which can participate in elections but must disclose their donors to the Labor Department.

Super PACs must file with the IRS as 501(c)(4)s.

The Koch brothers run most of their political empire through a network of 501(c)(4)s and 501(c)(6) nonprofits.

The Koch brothers run most of their political empire through a network of 501(c)(4) and 501(c)(6) nonprofits, the majority of which spend money directly on elections or fund those that do.

In total, the Koch political empire marshaled $400 million in the 2012 election cycle toward groups and efforts that spent money directly in the electoral arena. Not every group that received money from the empire reported spending on elections, but the vast majority of that money went to groups that spent tens of millions on electoral ads — which must be reported to the Federal Election Commission — and even more on issue ads that targeted candidates but didn’t advocate their electoral victory or defeat — which is not reported. Koch players included Americans for Prosperity, the American Future Fund and the 60 Plus Association.

Already, Koch-linked dark money groups have spent more than $30 million on ads targeting vulnerable Democratic congressional candidates running in the 2014 midterms.

It is the electoral focus of the Koch nonprofits and their sophisticated efforts to shield donors’ identities — plus the vast sums of money they move — that has brought them the unwanted attention of both Democratic Senate leadership and reporters.

There exists no outside network or organization supporting Democratic Party candidates in elections, while not disclosing its donors, that spends money in comparable amounts.

Take the Tides Foundation, a longstanding liberal donor fund that provides money to nonprofits working on the environment, labor issues, immigrant rights, gay rights, women’s rights and human rights. Conservative blogs blasted the foundation as far more influential than the Koch brothers as early as 2011.

But according to tax records accessed through, the Tides Foundation allocates little of its money to groups that engage in FEC-reportable spending on elections. Tides gave just $3.1 million of its $136 million in 2011-2012 grants to 501(c)(4) nonprofits that are permitted to engage part-time in politics. An even smaller sum went to such groups that actually reported election spending — i.e., dark money groups.

Some of those recipient groups reported spending large sums on elections, but they received very little of that from Tides: The League of Conservation Voters, which spent $11.2 million on elections, received just $150,000 from Tides. The Michigan League of Conservation Voters spent $860,237 but received only $15,000. Planned Parenthood spent $6.7 million and received $110,000. And spent $3.2 million and received $82,500.

The Advocacy Fund, a former Tides organization that is still run out of the same office, gave more to 501(c)(4) nonprofits in the last election cycle: $11.5 million. But only $5.7 million went to those dark money groups that actually spent money on the elections. Recipients that engaged in electoral spending included America Votes ($1.8 million from the Advocacy Fund), the Campaign for Community Change ($1.3 million), the League of Conservation Voters ($2 million), the National Wildlife Federation Action Fund ($125,000), the NRDC Action Fund ($80,000) and the Sierra Club ($278,000).

So if the Tides Foundation is supposed to be the liberal equivalent of the Kochs, it’s a pale shadow of the conservative juggernaut. Combined, the money from Tides and the Advocacy Fund falls well short of the amounts amassed by the Koch operation.

Another favorite target of conservative comparison making is George Soros, who is indeed a major progressive political donor and operates a large network of nonprofit funds to push his vision of an “open society.” This network holds assets in the billions of dollars.

But again, the Soros foundations direct only a tiny fraction of their funds to groups spending money to directly influence elections. The Open Society Policy Center and the Fund for Policy Reform, the main Soros groups donating to 501(c)(4) nonprofits, gave $12.9 million to those nonprofits in the 2012 cycle, of which just $1 million went to the subset that spent money in elections. Soros himself has publicly stated his opposition to funding attack ads.

In addition, Soros was personally a major donor to Democratic super PACs in the last election, including $1 million to American Bridge 21st Century, $1 million to Priorities USA Action, $675,000 to House Majority PAC and $100,000 to Senate Majority PAC. He has also donated $25,000 to the Ready for Hillary PAC. But unlike whatever funds the Koch brothers pour into their political empire, the Soros donations to super PACs are not “dark,” for they are all disclosed to the FEC in publicly accessible records.

As for Tom Steyer, the former hedge fund investor turned super-environmentalist, the majority of his spending this election cycle has gone through a super PAC, which discloses its donors — or in Steyer’s case, its donor.

Other liberal donor funds — including the Atlantic Advocacy Fund, the Green Tech Action Fund and the Public Interest Projects Action Fund — donated approximately $35 million to 501(c)(4) nonprofits during the 2012 election. But only 19 percent of that went to groups that actually spent money on elections.

As for Tom Steyer, the former hedge fund investor turned super-environmentalist, the majority of his spending this election cycle has gone through a super PAC, which discloses its donors — or in Steyer’s case, its donor. So far, his CE Action Committee has spent more than $1 million to help Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) secure victory in a 2013 special election and more than $8 million to help Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe (D) win his race.

Steyer has declared that he intends to spend up to $100 million in the 2014 elections. Although that would no doubt make him the largest political donor among those backing Democratic candidates, it remains to be seen whether he will follow through. The Los Angeles Times said as much when it wrote that Steyer “may” be the liberal answer to the Kochs.

In the meantime, the Kochs’ dark money empire is not merely a future threat or a possible hope. It is a reality, controlled by two billionaires who chose to operate, as much as they can, in the political shadows.

Paul Blumenthal is a reporter at The Huffington Post covering campaign finance and money-in-politics. His work has appeared on PBS’ Frontline, MSNBC, CNN and The New York Times and been included in Principles and Practice of American Politics: Classic and Contemporary Readings, 5th Edition and in Transparency International’s Global Corruption Report: Climate Change. He previously worked as the senior writer for The Sunlight Foundation.
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  • Doug

    It is absolutely nuts that we allow anyone, Republican or Democrat, to buy elections. I know the Supreme Court said they could, but we can overrule the Court IF we as concerned citizens fight hard enough for an alternative. I propose that we completely do away with the current system of campaign finance, and allow ONLY federal funding for federal elections. My proposed amendment is called the Clean Elections Amendment. This would strip the super-wealthy of they ability to buy elections and politicians. And it would also finally kill the corrosive practice of gerrymandering, by putting redistricting for US House districts under the control of the Judiciary instead of letting every state rig things for the party in power. If this idea ever rose to the level of a possibility, it would have every special interest in the country fighting against it, because buying access to power is what the current system is built on. But WE CAN DO THIS! We have to do this. We have to take back our democracy before it’s too late.

  • ExRadioGuy15

    Doug brings up several good points in his post. The clean elections amendment would be funded by tax money and just might get the Kochs and big corporations to pay their fair share in taxes. But, if we can’t have the CEA, I’d settle for complete disclosure on all donations to any organization that does any political work. No more “dark money”. Let these rich Fascists “own” their political activism and donations.

  • Anonymous

    “allow ONLY federal funding for federal elections.”

    Really? So if you are running for elective office you can’t spend your own money to run?

    If you can spend your own money to run, then Bloomberg, Romney, etc can spend their own money to run.

    And if billionaires are spending their own money to run, then non-billionaires must be able to raise outside money.

    Give it up.

    This is a free speech country. You can NOT restrict my right to spend my money to amplify my speech.


  • Doug

    Lots of people apparently agree with you, but that doesn’t make it right. Some of the wealthiest people in America are walking the halls of Congress today, simply because they have the money. That’s wrong. Put EVERYONE on a level playing field, and let them compete based on their character and their ideas. That’s democracy. Anything else is just an oligarchy.

  • Anonymous

    U.S. Founders and First Vets gave lives to cut “Political Bands” with usurping conservatives of Dark Age thought (King wed to Corporations and demonic Christians) and to establish “equal Station” in life entitled by “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God” as revealed by Declaration of Independence. Both DOI and Preamble to Constitution establish United States as a constitutional Republic based on Egalitarian and Economic Justice for all citizens and to end rule by hereditary Monarchists wed to Corporatecrafters and demonic Christiancrafters. Thomas Paine inspired the American Revolution via Common Sense among other brilliantly written revolutionary pamphlets. Paine’s influence is seen in both the DOI and Constitution. By definition and in letter and spirit the DOI also affirms Deism as true theology in rejection of man-contrived religioncraft in its many evil sectarian forms as false theology as noted by Paine via The Age of Reason–The Comple Edition, consisting of all three parts of TAOR and his essays on morality and the true theology of Deism.

    Most U.S. citizens fail to know that the Great Paine to the hereditary mono-corpo-theocratic State closed his argument for Revolution via Four Letters On Interesting Subjects. Four Letters was written between May 22 and July 2, 1776, just days prior to the DOI on July 4: “As to Corporations themselves, they are without exception so many badges of kingly tyranny, and tend, like every other species of useless pomp, to the oppression and impoverishment of the place, without one single advantage arising from them. They keep up a perpetual spirit of distinction and faction, engross emoluments and advantages to themselves, which ought to be employed to better purposes, and generally get into quarrels and lawsuits with the other part of the inhabitants. They diminish the freedom of every place where they exist….But of all corporations that of Philadelphia is the most obnoxious, its power resembling that of an hermaphrodite, or is at least a kind of aistocratical Corporation made hereditary by adoption.” But grass had yet to cover graves of First Vets when Thomas Paine recognized that “a faction, acting in disguise, was rising in America [during John Adams one-term Presidency known as the “Reign of Terror”]; they had lost sight of first principles. They were beginning to contemplate government as a profitable monopoly, and the people as hereditary property.” Eight Letters 1802-03 In a letter to George Logan dated November 12, 1816 Thomas Jefferson declared: “I hope we shall take warning from the example and crush in its birth the hereditary aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country.” Applicable today is the apparent reality of the well-informed Populist Party of 1892 in recognition that corporate “Corruption dominates the ballot-box, the Legislatures, the Congress and touches even the ermine of the bench. The fruits of the toil of millions are boldly stolen to build up colossal fortunes for a few, unprecedented in the history of mankind; and the possessors of these in turn despise the Republic and endanger liberty.” Today we must recognize that the political corruption has been on-going and is truly “unprecedented in the history of mankind” since amounting to billions and trillions in designed sabotage of our constitutional Republic based on Egalitarian and Economic Justice for all citizens. Not to mention the equity in wage, pension and commons theft stolen from the 99% by the plundering and usurping 1%Rich Criminal Class. The Justice Department must have the political courage to prosecute the Usurpers forthwith. “WeThePeople” must take the lead and demand Justice to do their duty since “Reps” refuse to do so.

  • Anonymous

    OK. So, I want to put limits on how many letters/calls to congress members an unemployed person can make, because, as a busy person, I can’t spend the time doing that.

    And I want to restrict home many doors a union member can knock on to get out the vote, to the same number of doors management knocks on.

    Do you see how ridiculous it gets?

    We have the first amendment. And they is nothing you can do, short of repealing it, to make me stop speaking. And that includes speaking to my congress person, putting a video on you tube, putting an add on TV.

    Nothing. All these campaign finance laws do is take the power away from the candidates and parties and transfer it to outside groups.

    The Koch brother are forbidden to give millions to a candidate. Therefore, they spend it independently with no voter accountability.

    You reap what you sow.

  • Anonymous

    You seem to be very angry at the Koch brothers, even though you know what ads they are running and what policies they support.

    Face it. The Democrats, Bill Moyers and you declared war on the 1%. Which is fine.

    Now the 1% are fighting back. And it is giving you heart burn.

  • JonThomas

    The ‘war’, as you call it, started long before any of us were alive and will continue.

    Throughout history there have been people who have used power to exploit the world and it’s people in order to benefit themselves. They watch, and even promote the suffering of others just because they can… and they profit at such suffering.

    The 1% is writhing because finally, after a long sleep, the people who have been abused are waking to see what forces have been selfishly manipulating them and the world.

    People defending the 1% are toady tag-alongs, bootlicker flunkies, brown nosing lackeys, arse-kissing fawners, minions hoping for crumbs.

    Perhaps theses groupies too will one day realize their true position.

  • Anonymous

    Or maybe the groupies are just happier people, not bitter, and are enjoying life, raising their families, taking care of their businesses, or improving their careers.

    Maybe they know that in every natural ecosystem there is an apex predator, alfa males, queen bees, etc and they know that that is a fine state of affairs.

    As opposed to some liberals who believe there should be no queen bee. Well, colonies can’t exist without the huge army of worker bees servicing the queen.

    And human societies can’t exist without leaders that have inordinate benefits. Be it a sports star. TV personality. Financier. President. Union President. Whatever.

    You can be bitter all you want. That is the natural order.

  • JonThomas

    No, actually it’s not the ‘natural order.’

    Humans have reason. We are endowed with compassion, sympathy and empathy. We are graced with LOVE.

    The queen bee as it is erroneously and anthropomorphically referred, does not direct or control anything. It is simply the breeding female.

    The entire notion of ‘alpha’ in the animal kingdom is for entire-species survival. It’s an innate defense to protect against genetic inbreeding.


    The wolf pack for example travels as fast as it’s slowest member.

    What you are regurgitating is a complete and utter misapprehension of the NATURAL world.

    The concept you propose is unnatural… an aberration.

    In creatures which do instinctively follow alpha group structure (actually relatively few creatures do,) competing males simply move on. They leave the group.

    In the meantime, the only way one group of the same species will aggressively attack another is over territory. Even then, fights are never ‘to the death.’ Never will a healthy animal attack another over anything but complete and utter hunger!

    Your complete mischaracterization of these phenomenons, as they are found in certain species, is not even close to a universal trait and is completely off-track when applied to humans.

    Do you think birds have a leader? Do you think ants (and your example of bees) follow the instructions of an egomaniac?

    Animals do not even suffer from egotism!

    A dog will nurse a rodent!

    It is upsetting to see such complete ignorance of the natural world, and frustrating to see people try to use this illiterate tripe to forge their worldview.

    Humans survive because of their ability to reason, to communicate, to work together. They learn and evolve as a species not by leaving their oldest and weakest to the forces of nature, but by expressing, love, concern, and care.

    At the expense of generations of progress we once again see the type of self-serving foolishness that fostered and perpetuated the dark ages.

    So, unless you are affirming that just like animals it’s acceptable to use violence upon, and against those whom you see as competitors, then sit down and learn something about the world you live in.

    To use an illustration from the natural world… while the groupies are picking and eating dingle berries from the silver back’s rump, those of us who use our minds will move into the future.

    The court jester type trolls who spout ridiculous theories, like the one you just did, will soon belong in the history books as infamous examples of how people once acted toward other humans.

    These groupies are cannibalistic sellouts of their own species, something the lowliest of rats won’t do.

    Human societies have often existed without the types of leaders of which you conceive. To say that “human societies can’t exist without leaders that have inordinate benefits” exposes your utter lack of education.

    You may benefit from staying away from ethnocentric propaganda. Read a book, watch a documentary. Come back when you actually can discuss issues without platitudes based on fictional hero worship.

  • Anonymous

    Oh boy. You are off the deep end in denial.

    I predict that you will always be incredibly bitter.

    Because you are revolting against the way things are and will always be.

    Let us know when the US reaches the “utopia” you seek, and you are no longer bitter.

    Meanwhile, on planet earth, the U. S. of A., people will go on enjoying the tremendous progress we have achieved as a species with our non-utopian ways.

    Excuse me as I lead my family on a beautiful hike to the mountains in this beautiful country of ours.

    Good luck with your bitterness complex.

  • JonThomas

    Okay, Nero.

  • musicandart

    “In the meantime, the only way one group of the same species will aggressively attack another is over territory. Even then, fights are never ‘to the death.’ Never will a healthy animal attack another over anything but complete and utter hunger!”
    Actually that is not quite true. The species bring up here is chimpanzees, which conduct regular territorial patrols and will kill any interloper chimps they find in their territory. Individuals will kill infants fathered by their rivals or sometimes even themselves.

  • JonThomas

    I wonder if they learned that from humans? Lol.

    Thank you for the insight. Looks like I fell right into the… ‘never say never…’ trap. :-(

    Either way, seems it’s fairly clear it’s the exception rather than the rule.

    Again, ty.

  • JerryJian

    “For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come toward the light so that his works might not be exposed”

  • JerryJian

    Corporate personhood without accountability is dangerous- Citizens United Against Citizens United.

  • Anonymous

    You want an army of worker bees servicing the queen? I think this is what China is about. Maybe you’d like to live there.

  • Bruce Miller

    I think the TV season is going to be a festival of never ending negative political ads, robo phone calls, etc ad nausea (or whatever the original latin is) but “ad” nausea about covers it. Thankfully you personally may not watch or no longer can afford tv, cable, etc. Internet ads and news will replace cable political ads but at least there is an alternative. Then the billions spent on these tactic only benefit the coffers of MSM. That why some people believe Main Stream Media has become irrelevant. Don’t they realize that we understand their TV ads are lies whether Rep. or Demo. Only public funding of all elections and a two week election cycle as in Europe will change this paradigm. See Bernie Sanders et al.

  • Doug

    Can I address your “fatal flaws”? Because I did try to address all of the loopholes that people could use to get around this. First, it doesn’t stop campaign volunteers from any volunteer activities. If anyone want to. If volunteers gather in someone’s home to discuss strategy, no problem. But if someone tries to donate anything of value…something that they would ordinarily have to pay for, like official campaign office space, then that’s would not be permitted.

    No, a sitting president could not use public funds for campaigning, but that’s already the case. When the president uses Air Force One and there are campaign stops, his campaign has to reimburse the Treasury. That’s already the law, and would continue to be.

    News media can be a sticky situation, but here’s how I believe it would be sorted out. We cannot muzzle or censor the news media. Freedom of the press will be respected. Whether it’s Fox News or MSNBC, all news outlets will be free to report the news from their perspective, even if partisans on the other side believe it’s slanted.

    However, I inserted a clause in Section One that says: ” Paid advertising of
    any kind by any independent group or individual on behalf of any
    candidate shall be prohibited. This includes donations of unpaid ad
    space in any medium that would otherwise need to be purchased.” In other words, if the owner of a media company wanted to get around the “paid” advertising rules by claiming that he/she was “giving” the advertising at no charge, that would not be permitted.

    So yes, there are hard questions that have to be thought through and answered. But at the end of the day, the whole purpose of this proposed amendment is to create a level, fair, equal playing field for all candidates to run their campaigns. Only then can We the People get the candidates and the elected officials who are not beholden to the agendas of the corporations and billionaires.

  • Bruce Miller

    Greed anger and stupidity are called the 3rd lowest worlds in Buddhism. That is two up from the world of hell at the lowest and the world of animality in which the larger prey on the weaker and then themselves faun on those over them. These are considered the 3 evil paths in Buddhism. Our nation (full of itself) finds these “worlds” similarly in our daily life. We have gone beyond greed anger and stupidity and are on to the lower paths in our apathy to the rest of the world around us. We prey on the sick,hungry, and less well off. We worship wealth and their “success” and bow to those with more money than us. This materialism is sliding into hell. Does it make you happy to have your walk in the mountains, your families wealth is an illusion. Sadly we have not conquer the birth,old age, sickness and death which are called the 4 sufferings.Some feel they can avoid their Karma by “buying” certain “better” circumstances. However as we the world descent into “the burning house” of hell on earth we continue with our games as the house burns arounds us. We have drunk these “poisons” deeply and are deranged in our minds and refuse to believe that this evil house is collapsing around us. Only the “fine medicine” of enlightenment can help us escape. Love, compassion, wisdom, and the welfare of our fellows and the other creatures on our planet can save us from “the burning house”. We are connected, we are all in the same house.This “fine and excellent medicine” is available. Please take it before it is too late for the earth. Paraphrased from the “Lotus Sutra”

  • Anonymous

    Do we really need to list the thousands of times “the way things are and will always be” went away? We could start with god-kings and go to empires and monarchies and feudalism and slavery and just keep on going forever, y’know? And every one of those, every evil and every bad thing that We the People have overcome and left behind had people like you who’d swear it was the Will of God and the Greatest Thing Ever and wouldn’t, couldn’t, ever be changed or improved on.

    And every single time you’ve been wrong. Every. Single. Time. Think about that. Not ONCE in all of history has “the way things are” been “the way things will always be.” Your people are wrong. Every. Single. Time.

    Because the only constant is change.

    And those changes usually are for the better. The overall arc of those changes IS for the better. Always.

    You are of course free to stand in front of history and yell “STOP!” as much as you want… Personally I’d want a better future than “hood ornament” but it’s your life, and if you chose to waste it being completely wrong about everything, feel free.

    Way back in the glory days of Rome (The Eternal Empire… remember those guys?) one of the many guys who wrote things worth remembering said “History leads he who will. He who will not, it drags.”

    You can go with history or you can be run over by it, but you won’t ever stop it.

  • Anonymous

    Wake me up when humans by and large stop seeking their own (and their loved ones) self interest.

    As far as I know, that has never changed. Ever.

    So people like you will be forever bitter. Because there will always be humans in the top 1%. It is a mathematical certainty.

    You can call them kings or presidents, barons or senators, dukes or congressmen, land lords or CEOs. Pomp will always be accorded to the tiny elite in any society.

    And yes, even Jesus let 12 apostles.

    So yes – go on believing that things really have changed so much.

    I forecast bitterness with a chance of disillusionment.

  • Doug

    You’re starting to repeat yourself. So let me repeat what I said: You can’t censor the news. Even if you think it’s propaganda “in the guise of news” as you said. You can’t. But you CAN stop paid ads, which are “ads” that you “pay” for. If you spend money for an ad (under my proposal) the money you use has to come from the pool of money given to the candidate for that purpose.

    Nobody else can pay for an ad to run for any candidate or against any candidate. Yes, free postings on Facebook and You Tube will still be with us, and anyone could post their thoughts. But no one but the campaign could PAY for extra Facebook ads beyond the distribution to those who “Like” their page, assuming it’s to be paid for with their federally allotted funds.

    If this is all you’ve got, I’m afraid you’re going to have to admit that the Clean Elections Amendment is OK after all. Of course, maybe you’re unaware that people can actually AGREE with one another on these comment pages :)

  • Anonymous

    In this case, I think we need to agree to disagree. Even if you could get the amendment passed, which will not happen, all you’d be doing is favoring the “media connected” or “media owning” candidates vs everyone else.

    Thanks but no thanks.

    I want at least as much media time paid for opposing candidates as the New York Times, CNN, Washington Post, LA Times, etc combined provide to their “anointed favorite”.

    And your idea that “less speech”, “less paid ads”, “less contributions” is the answer is not logical.

    Please tell me again what is wrong with George Soros battling out with Charles Koch by funding their respective advocacy groups. More speech, more open debate, more engagement. Both sides get a fair airing of their views. Voters decide.

    The way I see it, on both sides of most issues contested campaigns, big money is available on both sides.

    So voters win. You have a hugely high threshold to convince me that government regulated “less speech” is needed.

  • Anonymous

    Yup. Wrong on everything. Every. Single. Time.

  • Anonymous

    But very happy, enjoying this beautiful country, building a better future for those close to be – in summary, living the American dream.


  • Doug

    If that’s all that was going on…Soros and Koch funding “more open debate” that would be one thing. But the problem is after the election…what does the winning candidate owe to his or her benefactor? All of the billions in tax break and special treatment, that’s what bothers me.

    Agree to disagree…that’s what it looks like. You won’t be able to convince me that kind of money doesn’t buy massive and unfair influence over American life and policy. It’s corrosive.

  • Anonymous

    Having a blast working to get rid of the people who are continuously wrong about reality and history. Every. Single. Time.

    That’s you.

  • rg9rts

    Anyone ever notice the David Koch funding in PBS science programing??

  • Jim Greenfield

    I believe it was also T Paine that coined the phrase “It is the duty of the Patriot to protect and defend his country from its Government”

  • Eugene Patrick Devany

    Mr. Koch donated $100 million to a NYC hospital There is a heart behind the politics.

  • Anonymous

    Perfectly describes democrats.

  • Don

    Please stop with the idea that the working people of America wants their taxes spent on political campaigns. Out taxes are higher than most other countries in the world now. If I want to support a particular candidate, I will donate my money to the person of my choice, not the governments choice. Government now has too much control of our money now. Just think about it, another agency to decide where more of my money goes, just more corruption. When will it end, enough is enough, PERIOD.

  • Essu Daru

    the donation was to secure the backing of 13 doctors for political initiatives in New York… pay attention…

  • Essu Daru

    Actually it best describes Ron Paul.. and most of the GOP

  • NONAZITeabaggers!

    Exactly you nailed it. Ron Paul sowed the proto-fascist seeds for his base to be passéd to his son for the coming 2016 showdown.

    Now: whether people like to hear the truth or not, Rand Paul will win (unfortunately) in 2016 because he is the Anti-Christ predicted in the book of revelations.

    1. Rand Paul adds up to 666 in the original Greek/Aramaic Numerology

    2. “Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first (Obama Era), and the man of lawlessness is revealed (Tea Party 2010 Rand Paul announces “were here to send a message to DC that were hear to take our country back), the son of destruction”

  • Anonymous

    If Ron Paul and the GOP were democrats, then yes.

  • Anonymous

    It is the duty of patriots to overthrow the traitors in designed sabotage of our constitutional Republic safeguarding Egalitarian&Economic Justice for all citizens. “The people [99% v. 1% Usurpers] are the masters, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert it.” Abraham Lincoln. The 1%Usurpers use Government as a monopoly to amass personal wealth only for themselves. Yet to earn a single dollar that isn’t tainted by their culture of greed and corruption. 1%Rich and Corporations have dependency on “legalized” corruption, tax-evasion and welfare billions to amass personal wealth to the impoverishment and inequality of the economic interests of the 99%.

  • Patrick Thompson

    steyer only reaches that “may” status when he’s got dozens of propaganda firms spreading the same lies, as the kochs do.

  • Patrick Thompson

    that’s a lie, in the real world.
    middle class taxes are higher than our super rich, but they are lower than almost any other country.

  • Spawn_of_Santa

    Yeah, so much for PBS and their integrity.

  • Anonymous

    We haven’t seen this level of big money in electoral politics since J.P. Morgan sabotaged Cleveland’s second term by orchestrating the “Panic of 1893″, and backing McKinley in 1896 and 1900.

    It truly is a new Gilded Age.

  • Anonymous

    If you had a $100,000 bank account, the Koch’s $100 million is like $100 to you, except they get a huge return on their investment.

  • Anonymous

    Kochs donation also assures that PBS don’t advocate too much for mitigating global warming. It gets them a seat at the table to influence the editing of content.

  • ExRadioGuy15

    NybbleMe: Warren Buffett is a Vampire Capitalist? Wow…such propaganda…

    You’re thinking about the Godfather of Vampire Capitalism, Mittens the Liar Rmoney, and his ilk. They practice Vampire Capitalism.

    Thanks for playing….no parting gifts…you lose with the Fascist GOP propaganda.

  • ExRadioGuy15

    Okay, then:

    So, the Republicans on here keep repeating the same old debunked Fascist propaganda, BS, and talking points. Pathetic.

    Please: call the GOP’s unofficial Propaganda Minister, Frank Luntz, and get new Fascist propaganda, talking points and BS. The stuff you’re spewing now is laughable. LMAO

    Here are a few examples of debunked talking points, etc. the GOPers are spewing:

    Soros and Steyer equal the Fascist Koch brothers….LMAO. Soros and Steyer aren’t worth anywhere near what the Kochs are…not even CLOSE. The Kochs’ fortune has skyrocketed from $16 BILLION in 2002, when they left the Firebagger (Libertarian) Party and became Republicans. Now, their worth is approaching $90 BILLION, thanks to the upward wealth redistribution polices of the GOP, the black heart of which are the Bush 43 tax policies, which cost this country $1.5 TRILLION in lost federal tax revenue per year. The Soros/Steyer = the Kochs talking point is better known as false equivalency.

    Spending on political activities by Soros and Steyer equals the Koch brothers’…..NDFL (nearly dead from laughing). Back in 2012, I inadvertently started a now well-known meme when I correctly pointed out that ALEC is a “slimy tentacle of the octopus known as the Koch brothers”. The Liberal media (the real Liberal media, not the Con-controlled 90%) picked up on that and began calling the Kochs’ sphere of influence “the Kochtopus”. The Kochs spend millions on political activism for the Fascist policies of the GOP. In fact, just this year, they announced that they’re going to spend nearly a BILLION dollars on the 2016 cycle! Soros and Steyer might spend as much as $5 million combined, and that’s a generous estimate.

    The Kochs aren’t Republicans; they’re Libertarians…..NDFL…as I correctly noted in the last paragraph, they left the Libertarian Party in 2002 to become Republicans. Even their wealth at the time couldn’t prop up the ridiculous nonsense that is the philosophy of the Firebagger Party. The Kochs are FASCIST REPUBLICANS!

    Here’s a good one and an example of “projection”, a psychiatric ploy and the worst form of hypocrisy: “Socialism picks winners and losers in society and finance”. NDFL, again.
    Sorry, guys….you’re thinking of FASCISM, not Socialism. A Socialist society picks no winners nor any losers; a Fascist regime picks very few winners (the 1%) and everyone else loses.

    FFS and seriously: you need new talking points, Fascist GOP propagandists.

  • Anonymous

    I love how leftists throw around the word fascism without understanding what it actually means.

  • Anonymous

    My heart breaks that Steyer’s 100 million was spent in vain and had zero effect on the 2014 midterms. A year later I’m amazed that this article was actually written with a straight face. Or maybe it wasn’t. Meanwhile Soros and Co. just announced a plan to spend 50 million a year to overthrow the House and Senate, but let’s keep paining the Koch Brothers as the devil incarnate while the Devil himself laughs.

  • Anonymous

    First, the entire premise of the article that “Nothing compares to the Koch brothers” is a lie. Look at the author’s reference “Open Secrets.Org” The first name on the list is Thomas Steyer. His $74.020 Million exceeds the Koch brothers combined $7.825 million by 9.5 times! The Democratic party gets votes by giving money earned by the middle class to illegal aliens to get their votes. Why do you thin Obama wants so badly to achieve amnesty for million of illegals. Americans who support this infringement of the Constitution are those who wouldn’t know what work was if it bit them in the ankle. You know, people like you.