A spokesman for Charles and David Koch told Reuters on Wednesday that the shadowy industrialists working tirelessly to shape American politics will not fund an attempt to block Donald Trump’s march to the Republican nomination. (Maybe not so tirelessly, then.)
The Kochs spent $400 million in the 2012 election cycle and had previously said they planned to spend $900 million in the run up to 2016, but the apparent inevitability of a Trump nomination has seemingly changed that.
“We have no plans to get involved in the primary,” James Davis, a spokesman for Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, the central financial node in the Koch brother’s dark money network, said, responding to speculation that the Kochs would embark upon a “Trump Intervention.” From Reuters:
He would not elaborate on what the brothers’ strategy would be for the Nov. 8 election to succeed Democratic President Barack Obama.
Three sources close to the Kochs said the brothers made the decision because they were concerned that spending millions of dollars attacking Trump would be money wasted, since they had not yet seen any attack on Trump stick.
The Koch brothers are also smarting from the millions of dollars they pumped into the failed 2012 Republican presidential bids of Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney, the sources said.
In 2013 and 2014, according to tax filings, Freedom Partners cumulatively raised $162 million and dispersed $106 million, largely in the form of grants to fund things like the development of an intelligence operation tasked with monitoring the Left. (Freedom Partners and the majority of its grantees are not required to disclose their donors’ names.)
Pundits have speculated with increasing fervor whether the Kochs would deploy their network’s ample resources against the Republican frontrunner, Donald Trump, who they consider threatening to their agenda. They even seemed to have begun to do so: One Koch-affiliated group, the American Future Fund, announced in late February that it would begin running critical ads on the alleged Trump University scam.
However, after Trump nearly swept Super Tuesday (and Rubio got nearly blown out), it seems that the Kochs are just going to cut their losses. Spending big against the real estate developer from Queens would only alienate him further and play into his message of being an outsider against whom the establishment has arrayed itself. More to the point though, the Kochs choosing not to actively oppose Trump likely sounds the Rubio campaign’s death knell.
Rubio, incidentally, just cancelled a rally planned for Friday in Baton Rouge.