Koch Industries Acting Like It’s Never Given Money to the Democrats Before

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Photo: Clint Spaulding/PatrickMcMullan.com

If you've been listening to the Democratic Party and liberal activists over the past couple of years, then you've heard that Charles and David Koch, the wealthy industrialist brothers who have placed their inestimable financial muscle behind conservative causes and candidates, are democracy's rapists. So it may seem a bit strange that Washington senator Patty Murray, the head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, recently solicited Koch Industries for a donation. An executive for Koch Industries, Philip Ellender, replied to her with an indignant letter, which he helpfully posted online as well:


For many months now, your colleagues in the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee leadership have engaged in a series of disparagements and ad hominem attacks about us, apparently as part of a concerted political and fundraising strategy. Just recently, Senator Reid wrote in a DSCC fundraising letter that Republicans are trying to “force through their extreme agenda faster than you can say ‘Koch Brothers.’”

So you can imagine my chagrin when I got a letter from you on June 17 asking us to make five-figure contributions to the DSCC. You followed that up with a voicemail* indicating that, if we contributed heavily enough, we would garner an invitation to join you and other Democratic leaders at a retreat in Kiawah Island this September.

I’m hoping you can help me understand the intent of your request because it’s hard not to conclude that DSCC politics have become so cynical that you actually expect people whom you routinely denounce to give DSCC money.

Burn. And fair enough — this is embarrassing for the DSCC. The parallel would be the GOP trying to hit up the ACLU for campaign cash after years of ACLU fear-mongering in order to scare cash out of other people. But the pearl-clutching reaction from Koch Industries is entirely phony. KochPAC, the political action committee of Koch Industries, donated $30,000 to the DSCC just last year, when the Democratic assault on the Brothers Koch was in full swing, and gave another $30,000 to the DSCC during the 2008 election cycle. This, as the Fix points out, is why Murray was calling them in the first place, reading what was obviously a script used on past donors.

So, no, it actually is hard to imagine Ellender's "chagrin" at this bizarre request for money. The DSCC asked for donations from Koch Industries because Koch Industries often donates money to the DSCC. It's one of those wild new fund-raising strategies the DSCC is experimenting with this year.

Letter to Senator Patty Murray, Chair Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee [Koch Facts]