Harry Reid’s ‘Koch Brothers’ Addiction — in Two Charts

Democrats are name-dropping the billionaire brothers on the floor of Congress.

National Journal
Shane Goldmacher
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Shane Goldmacher
April 9, 2014, 6:09 a.m.

On Feb. 26, Sen­ate Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Harry Re­id took to the Sen­ate floor and de­clared that bil­lion­aire Re­pub­lic­an busi­ness­men Charles and Dav­id Koch were “un-Amer­ic­an.” He’s barely been able to stop talk­ing about the “Koch broth­ers” ever since.

On March 4, Re­id de­clared that Sen­ate Re­pub­lic­ans were “ad­dicted to Koch.” On March 13, Re­id men­tioned the “Koch broth­ers” in a floor speech 25 times. This week, he said Re­pub­lic­ans should wear Koch in­signia on their suits — like NAS­CAR drivers.

It’s all part of Re­id and the Demo­crats’ cal­cu­lated ef­forts to sum­mon a suit­able vil­lain in 2014. Re­id be­lieves that the Kochs, the fin­an­ci­ers at the cen­ter of a na­tion­wide GOP net­work that is spend­ing mil­lions of dol­lars on cam­paign ads against Demo­crats, are the per­fect foil.

The good folks at the Sun­light Found­a­tion have cre­ated a tool, Cap­it­ol­Words, to show just how much Re­id and his fel­low Demo­crats are push­ing the “Koch broth­ers” mes­sage.

The “Koch broth­ers” — who run Koch In­dus­tries, the Kan­sas-based firm that For­bes ranks as the second-largest private com­pany in the United States — went un­men­tioned on the House and Sen­ate floors between Feb­ru­ary 1998 and Decem­ber 2010.

But in March 2014, their names were called out 79 times — and no one cited them more than Re­id. Already, the Koch broth­ers have been name-dropped 38 times in April.

“They may be­lieve that who­ever has the most money gets the most free speech,” Re­id de­clared in mid-March. “That is wrong, it is un­fair, and it is un­true. I will do whatever it takes to ex­pose their cam­paign, their cam­paign to rig the Amer­ic­an polit­ic­al sys­tem to be­ne­fit the wealthy at the ex­pense of the middle class.”

The volume of the Demo­crats’ Koch broth­ers mes­saging is cranked so high that its rise rivals con­gres­sion­al men­tions of Rus­si­an Pres­id­ent Vladi­mir Putin, even amid the in­cur­sion in­to Crimea and the in­ter­na­tion­al stan­doff over Ukraine. In fact, so far in April, Sun­light’s data show that “Koch broth­ers” has been said more than “Vladi­mir Putin.”

What We're Following See More »
Trump Wants to Slash Corporate Rate to 15%
17 minutes ago
Trump Tax Reform Package Coming Next Week
18 minutes ago

President Trump today said he'll be releasing his tax reformpacakge next week around the 100-day mark of his presidency. He promised that "businesses and individuals will receive a 'massive tax cut ... bigger I believe than any tax cut ever."

Mulvaney: Tax Reform Details Won’t Be Released This Week
19 minutes ago

Despite President Trump's announcement that his tax reform proposal would be released this week, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney now says it will be ready in June. This week's announcement will be limited to "specific governing principles."

Trump To Sign Order Calling For Expanded Drilling
4 hours ago

Donald Trump is expected Monday to sign an executive order which will mark his administration's first action on offshore oil and gas drilling. The order is expected to call for a "review of the locations available for offshore oil and gas exploration and of certain regulations governing offshore oil and gas exploration."

Pence Cuts Asia Trip Short For Big Week
5 hours ago

Vice President Mike Pence has cut his Asia trip short "to race back to Washington, where the Trump administration faces a critical week on tax reform and a funding plan to keep the government running, an aide said on Sunday." Pence will return to Washington on Tuesday morning instead of Wednesday. Trump has a busy week ahead, as he plans to roll out a tax reform on framework, sign a number of executive orders, and works to keep the government open past Friday.


Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.