The billionaire Koch brothers are dangling millions of dollars in campaign donations in front of Gov. Scott Walker and four other Republicans who have said they are seeking or are expected to pursue the GOP nomination for president, USA Today reported Tuesday.
“We’re telling them that if they want our support, one way to get it is articulating a good message to help Americans get a better understanding and a better appreciation of how certain policies … will benefit them and will benefit all America,” Charles Koch said in an interview with the newspaper.
Koch said he and his brother David are focused on five declared or likely candidates whose message they like and who they consider electable: Walker and former Florida governor Jeb Bush, who have not yet declared their candidacy, and Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Marco Rubio of Florida, who have announced they are seeking the GOP nomination.
Charles Koch also said about $300 million of his political network’s $900 million, two-year budget would be spent directly on 2016 federal and state elections. The amount compares to almost $400 million raised and spent by the Republican National Committee in the 2012 election cycle.
The other $600 million would pay for what he referred to as education and research — including university grants, an overhaul of the criminal justice system and other projects he is backing, Koch told the newspaper.
The New York Times reported Monday that David Koch told donors at a Manhattan fundraiser that the brothers thought Walker would win the GOP nomination, but a spokeswoman said he had pledged neutrality in the primary.
The Koch brothers oversee private political operations, including Americans for Prosperity and Freedom Partners, which has an affiliated “super PAC.”