Koch Brothers to Democrats: Stop Asking us For Money

Koch Industries, the wealthy industrial corporation run by right-wing activist billionaires David and Charles Koch, recently got a standard-issue voicemail solicitation from Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee chair Sen. Patty Murray, asking for money. A simple "no, sorry" wouldn't suffice. The company's PR chief had to publish an arch letter condemning Murray for hypocrisy, along with a recording of her voicemail.

You can listen to the voicemail here, on the Koch PR website "Koch Facts." And here's the snippy letter from Koch public affairs president Philip Ellender:

Senator Patty Murray, Chair
Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee

Dear Senator Murray:

For many months now, your colleagues in the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee leadership have engaged in a series of disparagements and ad hominem attacks about us, apparently as part of a concerted political and fundraising strategy. Just recently, Senator Reid wrote in a DSCC fundraising letter that Republicans are trying to "force through their extreme agenda faster than you can say ‘Koch Brothers.'"

So you can imagine my chagrin when I got a letter from you on June 17 asking us to make five-figure contributions to the DSCC. You followed that up with a voicemail indicating that, if we contributed heavily enough, we would garner an invitation to join you and other Democratic leaders at a retreat in Kiawah Island this September.

I'm hoping you can help me understand the intent of your request because it's hard not to conclude that DSCC politics have become so cynical that you actually expect people whom you routinely denounce to give DSCC money.

It is troubling that private citizens taking part in the discourse have become the targets of White House and DSCC fundraising missives, and we would certainly encourage you to rethink that approach. Ultimately, I expect voters will see through that and will weigh the issues on the merits alone. But in the meantime, if you could provide me some insight on what exactly you are asking of us and why, I would be most grateful.

Sincerely,

Philip Ellender
President, Government & Public Affairs
Koch Companies Public Sector, LLC

Pretty embarrassing! And yet, it's not like Murray called up and said, "Dave, Chuck: I know some of us Democrats have been talking shit about youse guys for most of the past year, but that was just pandering to our dumb constituents, so pony up already." She's clearly working from a script that's read to all previous large-scale donors — and KochPAC had, indeed, donated $30,000 to the DSCC in each of the past two election cycles. So Murray is simply going down a list of previous donors and asking each, Wanna do it again? Murray wouldn't be much of a fundraiser if she started skipping the names of every asshole whom the Democrats have pilloried in public, for fear of hurting their feelings. Most of them would understand that it's all rhetoric, and top Democrats never have any intention of actually doing things that might, in some way, hurt rich people.

[Via TPM; images of Charles (left) and David (right) Koch via Getty]