Koch Network 'Raising Expectations' of Supported Lawmakers

Koch Network 'Raising Expectations' of Supported Lawmakers

President Donald Trump launched an attack on the Koch brothers - powerful political mega-donors with a long history of supporting Republican and libertarian causes - after the billionaires spoke out against Trump's divisive White House.

At a gathering of the Koch-backed Seminar Network over the weekend in Colorado Springs, its co-chairman Brian Hooks lamented the "tremendous lack of leadership" in Washington.

The Koch brothers, who own the Wichita-based Koch Industries, have always been in conflict with Trump's approach to government spending and trade.

U.S. President Donald Trump wrongly claimed that shoppers need to show photo identification to buy groceries and accused Democrats of obstructing his agenda and his Supreme Court nominee during a raucous rally aimed at bolstering two Florida Republicans ahead of the state's primary.

Although the Koch network has not adjusted its spending projections for the midterms, its thematic shift suggests the GOP-aligned group could be contemplating a new power dynamic in Washington and its place in it.

Phillips said AFP has met with Cramer's team to express their concerns, "but maybe he needs to hear from you, give Kevin Cramer a call", Phillips urged a ballroom filled with donors who have contributed a minimum of $100,000 to the network. "Their network is highly overrated, I have beaten them at every turn". The Kochs have gone so far as to say they can not support a Republican in a critical Senate race, refusing to back Republican Kevin Cramer against incumbent North Dakota Democrat Heidi Heitcamp. "But they were willing to support the tax cut and the deregulation, while opposing the heart of Trumpism - trade and immigration".

Phillips cited Cramer's support for the Export Import Bank, the farm bill and the $1.3 trillion spending package for the decision. For now, they don't plan to devote any resources to help take down North Dakota Democratic Sen.




The groups said the move is an indication that it is "raising the bar" for Republican candidates to earn the support of the well-funded political apparatus. Thus, the support for Heitkamp, who took on fellow Democrat Elizabeth Warren from MA and fought to roll back the regulatory measures in the Dodd-Frank regulatory apparatus.

"I don't necessarily think the Kochs splitting a little from the GOP makes it harder to fundraise", said Eberhart, who attended the Koch summit and stands by Cramer.

"We support policies that help all people improve their lives".

Democrats "don't want to give Trump any victory", he said.

Charles Koch (L) and David Koch are seen in this combination picture.

Emily Seidel, CEO of Americans for Prosperity, explained it for The Hill: "I know this is uncomfortable, it's uncomfortable for me too".

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