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 »
Spicer Excludes NYT, CNN, BuzzFeed from Press Gaggle
6 hours ago
NRA Chief: Leftist Protesters Are Paid
7 hours ago
Trump: Agencies Should Recommend Regulations to Repeal
8 hours ago
Trump Still on Campaign Rhetoric
10 hours ago
Trump Rails On Obamacare
10 hours ago

After spending a few minutes re-litigating the Democratic primary, Donald Trump turned his focus to Obamacare. “I inherited a mess, believe me. We also inherited a failed healthcare law that threatens our medical system with absolute and total catastrophe” he said. “I’ve been watching and nobody says it, but Obamacare doesn’t work.” He finished, "so we're going to repeal and replace Obamacare."


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.