Koch Networks Fueled 2012 Dark Money Machine

How much influence did the Kochs have over 2012? More than you may think.
Koch Networks Fueled 2012 Dark Money Machine

I knew the Kochs were pouring money into 2012, but even I didn't expect it to amount to what it did. According to Open Secrets, Koch-funded organizations represented one-quarter of the dark money spent in 2012. That's one-quarter of all dark money, not just conservative funding.

In 2012 alone, $301 million poured into this system -- $196 million of which was given, in the form of grants, to dark money groups that engaged in federal electioneering. The network includes such well-known groups as Americans for Prosperity, 60 Plus and Americans for Job Security -- copiously funded 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations and 501(c)(6) trade associations, none of which are required to disclose their donors to the public. Some of the entities in the web are simply way stations for cash that is doled out to other, more politically active groups in the system.

On the other side of the ledger, political spending reported by this system's members to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) came to $170 million in 2012. The Center for Responsive Politics estimates that roughly $86 million of that -- or more than one-fourth of all dark money spending reported in 2012 -- came in the form of grants from other Koch-linked groups.

The aggregation here is important, because Open Secrets didn't just focus on groups accountable to the FEC, but pulled in the money trail from all of the related so-called "non-partisan" nonprofit organizations who operate under the guise of being a think tank or policy shop.

Remember this next time someone starts whining about IRS persecution. The only abuse of the system here is on the part of billionaires, not government agencies.

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