Though they have stayed quietly in the shadows of the 2016 election, pretending as if they were reserving their strength rather than losing it, the Koch brothers’ political empire seems to be crumbling – and it’s all their own doing.
Just a few short years ago, the Koch brothers had it all. In addition to the massive wealth they enjoyed, they had finally succeeded in turning that money into political clout and seemed poised to shape and decide elections for the next several years. Their cash put several Tea Bag Republicans into office and they were preparing to have even more power in elections to come.
But the army of right-wing tea-baggers they awoke quickly turned on their establishment masters and foisted their power out of the system, making way for Donald Trump to trample the Republican party.
Though the Koch brothers lean Libertarian (and in fact virtually invented the party), their most common vehicle for political influence has been the Republican party. The Kochs were expected to endorse and support a Republican candidate in 2016, the same as they did in 2012 with Mitt Romney, but the success of Donald Trump put a bad taste in their mouth. They vowed publicly to support down-ballot races, but it appears that was merely a cover-up for their foundation’s swift decline.
In recent months, fundraising for the brothers’ SuperPAC Freedom Partners Action Fund has plummeted as the Kochs’ organization stopped asking for donations.
When a story broke that the organization was giving up all federal political activity, the organization responded sharply in denial, afraid that their donors would lose interest. The man suspected of leaking the information was swiftly fired in response.
So are we hearing less from the Kochs because they don’t like Trump, or is there something more going on behind the orange curtain? And what does their weakness mean for the future of the conservative party which will need so much support to rebuild after the reign of Trump comes to an end?
Investigations by Politico indicate that the brothers’ organizations are shrinking partly in fear of Democratic senate majority.
“The tumult — combined with a handful of high-profile departures and widespread concerns that the network could find itself facing congressional investigations if Democrats retake the Senate — has some employees on edge, according to a handful of people around the network.”
“Earlier in the month, the network held a document clean-up and retention week during which shredding bins were brought to the offices of various network groups, and employees were encouraged to identify sensitive files for destruction. Since there is no evidence of any active investigation into the Koch network, there’s nothing prohibiting the groups from destroying old files.”
Insiders say that the shredding of material is unrelated to the Kochs’ anxiety of a Democratic Senate investigation, but we aren’t so convinced.
The writing on the wall is clear: as the American people are waking up to money’s corrupting influence in politics, the political currency a dollar can buy is stretching further and further. May this merely be the beginning of a mass exodus of cash from campaign.