Harry Reid blames Koch brothers for holding up Ukraine legislation

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
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WASHINGTON — Senate Democrat leaders accused Republicans of holding up legislation to help Ukraine in favor of helping billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch.

Senators are still quibbling over a proposed aid package to Ukraine that passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and must now be taken up by the full Senate. The package includes reforms to the International Monetary Fund that a number of Republicans oppose.

CNN reports that “some Republicans” have floated the idea of trading the IMF reforms for a delay in proposed regulations by the Internal Revenue Service that would change the definition of “political activity” by tax-exempt groups, like some of the tea party groups that say they were improperly targeted by the IRS in 2012.

“This is hard for me to comprehend, how in clear conscience [Republicans] could say, ‘Ukrainians, we probably can’t help you because we’re trying to protect the Koch brothers,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said at a press conference Thursday. “And not only that, they’re saying to the American people that protecting the Koch brothers is more important than protecting our country.”

“Can you believe that?” blasted New York Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer. “501(c)4s are having money undisclosed in the multimillions cascade into our races. Everyone agrees except a handful that is perverting our politics. And our Republican colleagues hold up this IMF funding for that?”

“It’s not fair, it’s not right, it has nothing to do with Ukraine,” he said.

Piling on, Majority Whip Dick Durbin declared: “If you submitted that plot line — that you can’t protect Americans and our friends overseas unless we protect the Koch Brothers — to [Netflix series] ‘House of Cards,’ they’d reject it” for being too “incredible.”

Reid and Democrats have been relentlessly attacking the billionaire brothers, known for donating huge amounts of money to Republican causes and philanthropic efforts, over the past several weeks.

Americans for Prosperity, one of the super PACs the Kochs back financially, has been on the air attacking Democratic Senate incumbents and candidates facing election in November.

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