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Friday, October 21, 2016

By Evan Halper, Tribune Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON — As Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid resumed his polemic against the Koch brothers Tuesday, Republicans were quick to respond, noting they are not the only ones with a generous billionaire in their corner.

The debate on the Senate floor quickly turned to Tom Steyer, the former San Francisco hedge fund manager who is seizing on the same loose campaign finance laws as Charles and David Koch to funnel millions of dollars into campaigns. Only in the case of Steyer, profiled recently in the Los Angeles Times as the emerging liberal counterweight to the Kochs, the spending is geared toward defeating candidates skeptical of global warming.

“I noted with interest the majority leader was hammering the Koch brothers again today, and I wondered why he left out billionaire Tom Steyer, who plans to spend as much as $100 million pushing the issue of climate change in the 2014 election and appears positioned to rival the deep-pocketed Koch brothers,” said Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. “It strikes me as curious that if we are going to demonize people for exercising their constitutional rights to go out and speak and participate in the political process, we would just pick out the people that are opposed to us and leave out the people who are in favor of us.”

The remarks came after Reid spoke for more than 10 minutes about how Senate Republicans are “addicted to Koch.” Reid has ratcheted up his attacks on the billionaire Republican contributors amid Democratic concern that spending by groups the Kochs fund could cost the party its Senate majority.

Last Wednesday, the Nevada Democrat delivered two floor speeches questioning the veracity of new advertisements from Koch-backed groups that feature individuals sharing stories about hardships they say they have faced because of the Affordable Care Act. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., is leading an effort to counter what Democrats say is a misinformation campaign against the law.

On the Senate floor Tuesday, Murphy said the Kochs are in a different category than the California billionaire.

“I certainly understand the concern of those on the Republican side about an individual who has proposed to spend a certain amount of money supporting a global warming cause,” he said. “But it pales in comparison to the money already spent by the Koch brothers, who poured hundreds of millions of dollars and will continue to pour hundreds of millions of these dollars into these races, completely dwarfing any amount of money spent on the other side.”

Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr

  • mackenzie wunderlich

    my Aunty Amelia got a new blue
    Land Rover LR4 only from working part time off a home computer… helpful hints

  • kukisvoomchor

    McConnell misses the point — or far more likely, deliberately obscures it. It’s not about spending lots of money. The Koch brothers are out to help their own company and other billionaires, at literally everyone else’s expense. You can’t say that about Steyer.

  • Bill Thompson

    What the American public needs to understand is that the Republicans have engaged in a program of fear and destruction. It is far cheaper to scare and lie to people and destroy then it is to fix and heal and educate. For example it’s much easier to push the car off the cliff then it is to recover it and repair it. Truth and education are a up hill battle and need to be reinforced constantly. The Democratic leadership needs to develop a program and speak in simple terms, in a united voice if we are to combat the powers that be.

  • disqus_ivSI3ByGmh

    Here is the major difference between Tom Steyer and the Koch brothers. Steyer has not implied that his employees could find themselves on the wrong side of the unemployment line for voting against their boss’ interest.

  • Water Dude

    Eight key characteristics of liberals:- Liberals tend to be whiny- Liberals eschew responsibility- Liberals constantly blame others- Liberals demand that others provide for them- Liberals demand that others abide by their desires- Liberals have little impulse control- Liberals are unable to consider potential consequences- Liberals are a mercy of their emotions

    • latebloomingrandma

      This adds nothing to the conversation. You could easily substitute conservatives in place of liberals and find examples to support it.

  • latebloomingrandma

    I had to turn the channel this morning on Morning Joe. There was discussion on the Koch brothers and their influence, and Harry Reid’s offensive remark.
    Joe kept bringing up what great philanthropists the Kochs are, and how many billions they have given to the arts and education. That’s great. In fact, that’s what ridiculously rich people should be doing. In the Kochs’ case, I’m sure all this charitable giving helps them to pat themselves on their self-righteous backs in hopes that this mitigates their multitude of other sins. Joe was asked specifically if the fact that the Kochs give so much money secretly to political influence, if this isn’t dangerous to democracy. He refused to answer the question, preferring to champion their philanthropy. There is a big difference in giving money to transparently try to right a wrong or educate publicly on a science based public health issue and to buy politicians to aid a plutocrat’s agenda to enrich his business and profit making further.
    Just my humble opinion.

  • johninPCFL

    So in McConnell’s mind, drop a brand new $50 Buffalo gold coin from Koch onto one side of the scale, then drop a $2 bill from Steyer on the other side and the scales balance.
    What an ass.