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Make Me Smart with Kai and Molly

Episode 114: Antitrust the process

May 21, 2019

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Koch brothers’ 2016 war chest is $889 million

Kai Ryssdal Jan 27, 2015
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Conservatives Charles and David Koch’s big Monday announcement: A network of political groups the brothers back plans to spend $889 million ahead of the next election. To put that in context, this would put their political organization in league with the two major parties financially. Their spending goal would be more than twice what the Republican National Committee spent in 2012. 

The news comes out of the Freedom Partners annual winter meeting held outside of Palm Springs, California.

“We’re talking about a few hundred people here who have committed to give money to this network ahead of the campaign,” says Marketplace’s David Gura.

Much of that money will go to ads, but the Koch brothers have also heavily invested in data and technology.

So what does all of this money – being raised by a private organization and being spent by a private organization – say about the fate of the two national parties: Democrats and the Republicans?

“They’ve both got to be worried,” says Gura. “You’ve got these outside groups who are setting the message, they’re controlling the message to an extent, and I think even more fundamentally, they’re doing things that parties used to do or that they have been doing. I mentioned the ground game and collecting data – that was the providence of parties for a really long time.”

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