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
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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.”

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