Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Koch Brothers and Kansas Politics

When liberals find their support faltering instead of rethinking their ideas they dust off the old Koch brothers fairy tail.  Such was the case when Reuter's Nick Carey decided to analyze the intra-party GOP war being waged in Kansas.

Some also complain about the influence of conservative oil and gas billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, whose Koch Industries is based in Wichita and employs more than 2,900 people in Kansas. Together, the company and Koch family members contributed $60,000 to Brownback's campaign in 2009 and 2010, campaign filings show.
"The influence of Koch Industries is felt daily in this state," said Republican Senate President Steve Morris, who faces a conservative primary challenger.
I'm not sure where Carey gets the $60,000 figure he tries to attribute to the Koch family.  According to official filings, Charles Koch only donated $6,000 to the 2009/2010 Brownback gubernatorial campaign. That contribution didn't even land him in the top 10 of contributors to any Kansas campaign.  In fact, he was out donated by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, BNSF Railway (Warren Buffett's company), and AT&T, just to name a few. [1]

His brother David, contributed just $2,000 to the Brownback campaign, still a far cry from Carey's claims.  Even if all the other Kochs living in Kansas that are listed in official filings are assumed to be related to the Koch brothers, their total family contributions to all 2010 campaigns, not just Brownback's, would be a meager $14,210. [2]

In case you were wondering, the Koch brothers did not individually donate to any other campaign in Kansas during the 2010 election cycle. That makes their $6,000 and $2,000 respective donations the sum total of their individual campaign contributions.

Koch Industries also contributed to Brownback's campaign, as Carey points out.  But their $4,000 contribution is way off from being enough to meet the $60,000 number Carey alleges.  If you expand the scope of Koch Industries' donations to all 2010 Kansas campaigns, its combined contributions total $94,900.  While at first that might seem like a large sum, it's spread out over 74 different candidates, an average of less than $1300 per candidate.  The amounts donated by Koch Industries were hardly enough to sway elections, which as we have already discussed took an average spending of $21,900 in the House and $52,300 in the Senate in order to win. [3]

Koch Industries' donations to Kansas House and Senate campaigns were so insignificant that their total expenditures didn't even land them in the top ten of total contributions for either legislative branch.

We now know the Koch brothers were virtually non-influential in the Kansas 2010 elections.  However, that doesn't necessarily mean they aren't playing a significant roll in the 2012 primaries.  These primaries have now become national news and are something we're told by Carey is reflective of a larger battle for the soul of the Republican party being carried out across the nation.

So, let's take a look at the official filings as of the publication of this article for 2012:

Koch Industries has donated a total of $37,500 to 64 candidates, an average of just $585. [4]  David and Charles Koch's 2012 contributions come to the astounding total of zero dollars. [5]  When you look at all 2012 Kansas contributions, again we find the massive Koch juggernaut being out spent by political heavy weights like the Kansas Optometric Association.

I suppose there is still plenty of time for those Koch donations to come streaming into candidates. After all, the primary election is a long, long ways away, something like a whole 21 days away.


Anonymous said...

What alternate universe have you been living in?

theKansasCitian said...

High on the facts, baby.

FYI, Campaign finance reports were filed yesterday. We will have more up-to-date numbers on the Koch brother's contributions to Kansas campaigns coming soon. Right now we can tell you Koch industries contributed 125,000 to the Kansas Chamber PAC, an amount representing less than half of what the Chamber raised.

Anonymous said...