Nonprofit, independent journalism. Supported by readers.


Matt Bai says the Koch Brothers are smart spenders

They are better then liberal donors at making their money count

Writing for Yahoo News, Matt Bai (who made his name writing about politics for the NYTimes Magazine) makes the case that the righty Koch Brothers are smarter than rich lefties at making their money count.

The basic argument is that the Kochs understand leverage. While Democratic donors obsess on presidential candidates, the Kochs pick lower-level races where a relatively (only relative to billionaires) small amount can be a game-changer.

While 59 rich liberals in 2013 contributed the maximum $25,000 to “Ready for Hillary,” to support an undeclared and unopposed candidate for a race three years ahead, only four of them gave to SuperPacs involved in the 2014 campaigns for the House and Senate. The Kochs, by contrast, put six- or even seven-figure amounts into knocking out specific vulnerable Democratic House incumbents. Writes Bai:

“Think about it: You can spend $30 million trying to get a president elected, and it will make some difference for sure, but only some in a campaign where each side will spend something like $1 billion, clogging up every obscure cable channel with every imaginable kind of ad. But if you drop, say, $1 million into a competitive congressional race where ads are cheap and where the candidates and party committees might end up spending all of $3 million combined, you can basically own the conversation.”