A group affiliated with David Koch and his brother Charles has begun purchasing ad time in states with tight Senate races. | AP Photo The announcement comes as a report questions the Kochs’ commitment to politics.
Key groups in the Koch brothers’ political network on Monday began reserving $30 million in advertising buys in key Senate races in August and September, a network official tells POLITICO.
The television and digital ad buys, from Freedom Partners Action Fund and other groups, are expected to target Democratic Senate candidates or boost Republican ones in Florida, Nevada, Ohio and Pennsylvania, the official said.
The ad reservations come on the same day that National Review reported that the brothers’ network, which had intended to spend $889 million in the run-up to the 2016 elections, was scaling back its political involvement in the face of disappointing results and concerns about damage to the brothers’ multinational industrial conglomerate Koch Industries. The story caused a major buzz in Republican finance circles, with some fundraisers predicting that donors would reduce their giving to the Koch network in favor of other groups promising a more politically aggressive approach to spending.
But the network official said that the buys were unrelated to the story, downplayed its central thesis and signaled support for the GOP Senate majority.
“The network is, and will continue to be, fully engaged in 2016 political and policy battles,” said the official, who requested anonymity. “We want to maximize the number of freedom-oriented senators in terms of free speech, in particular. The current majority is preferable to the alternative.”
The official pointed out that Freedom Partners Action Fund and other groups in the network have has already spent more than $12 million on ads in key Senate races, asserting that was more than any other outside group. On Tuesday morning, the super PAC launched a $2.2 million television and digital targeting former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland’s Senate campaign.
And the official said that other core groups in the Koch network — Americans for Prosperity, the LIBRE Initiative and Generation Opportunity — grew their field staffs by 50 percent last year and had made twice as many voter contacts at this point in the 2016 cycle than at a comparable point in the 2014 cycle.