Conservative Koch Industries Makes Top 100 Political Influence List for the First Time
Koch Industries is known to be a major funder of groups associated with the “anti-establishment” Tea Party. But that doesn’t mean the Kansas-based oil and gas giant has given up on beltway politics. Far from it.
A new report by the watchdog group Center for Responsive Politics places Koch Industries for the first time on its list of “Heavy Hitters,” made up of the 100 organizations spending the most to influence policy. The company debuts on the list at #86.
“Koch Industries has emerged as one of the most powerful political forces in Washington and shows no sign of abating,” says Dave Levinthal, a Center spokesman.
With its roots in early success helping the Soviet Union exploit its oil and gas reserves, the company is today run by brothers David and Charles Koch, who are nearly as well known for their right-wing politics as for their large profit margins. According to the Center report:
Koch is one of the Republican Party’s most reliable donors. In every election cycle since 2000, people and political action committees associated with the company have donated at least 83 percent of their cash to Republican candidates and committees.
So far in 2010, the conglomerate’s support for GOP-connected candidates and PACs approaches the amount it gave in 2004, a presidential election year.
“The lopsided giving patters are relatively rare for industrial organizations at this level,” says Levinthal. “But [Koch] can get away with it because they are a privately held company—the largest privately held company in the country, in fact.”