Charles Koch, head of Koch Industries.
Bo Rader | Wichita eagle | Tribune News Service | Getty Images
After years of influencing the federal government, the powerful political advocacy group of the Koch billionaire family and the industrial conglomerate still have to deal with President Joe Biden’s White House a lot.
Records show that the group known as the Koch Network, which is partially funded by Charles Koch, and Koch Industries, which has been owned by the Koch family since the 1940s, has not lobbied the White House since Biden earlier this year Became president.
With the exception of a few Democratic contenders, the Koch group has generally supported the Republican candidates and their economic policies. They saw some major political achievements during the Trump administration and worked with President Barack Obama’s administration on criminal justice reform for a while, despite having conflicting elements on his agenda.
Koch himself said in several publications after the election that he intended to work with the Biden government on several issues.
“I look forward to finding ways to work with them to break down the barriers that hold people back, be it in business, criminal justice, immigration, the Covid-19 pandemic or anywhere else,” Koch told in November the Wall Street Journal.
Instead, the Koch network’s main political arm, Americans for Prosperity, has campaigned against many of Biden’s early initiatives, including its $ 1.9 trillion Covid Relief Bill and its $ 2 trillion infrastructure proposal.
The network publicly supported Biden in announcing the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and Vanita Gupta as assistant attorney general. And it has asked the administration to improve the immigration system.
A person familiar with the matter also noted that the network plans to enlist former New Jersey attorney general Anne Milgram as Biden’s director of the Drug Enforcement Administration. This person declined to be named as the group has not yet made the decision public. The Charles Koch Foundation previously supported her work on criminal law reform.
A spokesman for Americans for Prosperity did not deny, however, that there has so far been a lack of direct engagement with the Biden White House.
“We have been consistent in our commitment to support policies that improve people’s lives and to oppose those who don’t – with this and previous governments. Just five months after the Biden administration, we supported their decision to end the war in Afghanistan and advocate better immigration policies and police reform, “AFP spokesman Bill Riggs told CNBC in an email sent statement.
“However, massive spending bills disguised as infrastructure are not going to help people improve their lives and so we reject them. But we have also offered better policy options to address these concerns and we would like to work with Congress and We have a long way to go in this administration and this session of Congress. We are open to working with anyone to do what is right for the American people Playing groups against each other, “added Riggs.
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According to the records, Americans did not lobby the White House for prosperity for the first three months of the year. The group spoke to members of the House and Senate.
Last week, the group launched a seven-digit campaign against the Biden infrastructure plan, initially targeting 27 lawmakers, including some Democrats, in 16 states.
The effort spans more than 100 events across the country, including town halls, rallies, and elections. It will also include a paid media strategy that focuses on direct mail and digital advertising. Among other items in Biden’s economic plans, the group opposes increasing corporate and individual taxes for those who earn over $ 400,000.
A person familiar with Americans’ continued struggles for prosperity said there was no evidence that the group had not yet come into direct contact with senior officials in the Biden White House and instead tried to get the government through To influence communication with moderate Democrats in the Senate. This person declined to be named to speak freely about the situation.
Koch Industries also had no lobbying contact with the Biden White House for the first three months of the year, records show. During the first quarter, lobbyists from Koch Industries contacted the Treasury Department on various bills, and outside lobbyists from the company worked with the environmental protection agency.
CNBC reported in March that Americans for Prosperity wanted to publicize temperate Sens. Joe Manchin, DW.Va., Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., And Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., About the group’s own health plan as “personal.” Option “intended to counteract the democratic proposals for a statutory health insurance option.
The Koch Plan is a collection of policy proposals for the private sector that focus on tax breaks, expanding health savings accounts and reducing regulations. Americans for Prosperity and other right-wing groups spent millions against Obama’s Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
Representatives from Manchin, Sinema and Kelly did not respond to inquiries about whether these conversations took place. The White House and the cooking industry did not respond to requests for comment.
Changing political realities
The turbulent transition from Trump’s government to Biden’s government has also meant significant changes for the Koch network.
The network has said it is open to working with the Democrats as long as the organization does not compromise its principles of opposing what it believes to be open government spending and interference.
Following the deadly January 6 riot on Capitol Hill, Koch Industries proposed changing its campaign strategy after more than 140 Republicans questioned the 2020 election results.
Then, in March, the Koch Industries PAC announced at least five House MPs questioning the election results, according to federal electoral commission records. Of over 50 contributions made this month, only about six checks went to the Democrats, including $ 5,000 to the moderate Blue Dog Coalition PAC. In April, the PAC wrote two checks for $ 5,000 for Senator John Kennedy’s re-election campaign in 2022. Kennedy, a Republican from Louisiana, questioned the results of the presidential election.
Koch also enjoyed certain perks during the Trump administration that apparently didn’t show up in the early days of Biden’s tenure. At the beginning of Trump’s tenure, Koch had allies in key government positions.
A study by the Checks and Balances Project found that at least 16 high-ranking officials in the Trump White House had ties to the Kochs.
Marc Short, who was former Chief of Staff to former Vice President Mike Pence, was previously President of the Koch Network’s Political Arms. White House attorney Don McGahn was, according to the study, a senior attorney for one of the Koch policy groups. Pence himself saw campaign contributions from Koch Industries when he was governor of Indiana. According to Reuters, Pence met privately with Charles Koch in 2017 at one of the network’s donor retreats.
Americans for Prosperity worked directly with the Trump administration on criminal justice reform. They saw victories in the passage of the Trump tax reform plan and major victories in the judiciary, with several preferred candidates making their way to the Supreme Court.
The network disagreed with Trump when it came to trade and immigration, which led to a reprimand from Trump in late 2018. “The globalist Koch brothers, who have become a total joke in real republican circles, are against strong borders and powerful trade.” said the former president in a tweet rant. In particular, the network decided not to participate in the 2020 presidential elections.
Koch Industries, records show, spent millions from late 2017 to 2020 influencing the Trump administration. His efforts included working with the Trump White House Office, which is run by the Chief of Staff.
In the fourth quarter of 2017, lobbying forms from Koch Industries indicate attempts were made to sway the White House office on tax reform laws that were later signed by Trump in December of that year.
Biden is now trying to reverse several of those tax cuts to pay for his expansive agenda.