Kochs Plan 60 Percent More Spending In 2018 Elections

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Robert Donachie Capitol Hill and Health Care Reporter
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PALM SPRINGS, Calif. — The Koch network is ramping up spending in the 2018 congressional election cycle dramatically, planning to cough up 60 percent more towards politics and policy than it did in the 2016 presidential election cycle.

“This network is going to have the largest investment we’ve ever had in a mid-term election. 60 percent bigger than what we spent in the 2016 presidential election on politics and policy,” Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity, told reporters Saturday.

The Koch network — which includes nearly 100,000 donors nationwide and grassroots organizations operating in 36 states — announced at the 2016 conference in Palm Springs that it would spend between $300 and $400 million during the 2017-2018 cycle to achieve great strides in all of its key initiatives.

Phillips said Saturday that the network will spend towards the higher end of the $400 million figure in the 2018 cycle, pushing not only for candidates but also for policies, like criminal justice, education and regulatory reform, that the network is already striving to promote. He noted that the mid-term election environment will be “challenging,” pointing out that often the party that controls Congress often loses its majority in one or both chambers in an off-year election.

Koch-affiliated organizations threw hundreds of millions of dollars behind limited-government candidates for the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives in the 2016 election cycle, but notably stayed out of the presidential race.

The network is having its largest ever seminar in Palm Springs this weekend.

James Davis, spokesman for the Koch network, told reporters Saturday that the seminar has over 550 donors (160 first time attendees) this January. Many of the donors have given over $100,000 to various Koch initiatives, in addition to supporting Republican candidates across the nation.

Republicans are already out fundraising Democrats in 2018, racking in well over $100 million more than Democrats. The Republican Party has raised nearly $400 million going into the 2018 cycle and has over $106 million in cash on hand, according to Federal Election Commission data released Sunday.

This post has been updated to include more details on Koch initiative spending habits. 

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