Christie Defends Koch Brothers in CPAC Speech

The pugnacious New Jersey governor slammed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for attacking the “two entrepreneurs.”

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie speaks during at CPAC, March 6, 2014 at National Harbor, Maryland.
National Journal
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Adam Wollner
March 6, 2014, 8:10 a.m.

New Jer­sey Gov. Chris Christie rose to the de­fense of the Demo­crats’ fa­vor­ite boo­gey­men, Charles and Dav­id Koch, on Thursday — even though he didn’t men­tion them by name.

Near the top of his speech at the Con­ser­vat­ive Polit­ic­al Ac­tion Con­fer­ence , Christie cri­ti­cized Sen­ate Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Harry Re­id for “rail[ing] against two Amer­ic­an en­tre­pren­eurs who have built a busi­ness, cre­ated jobs, and cre­ated wealth and phil­an­thropy in this coun­try,” re­fer­ring to the Koch broth­ers.

“Harry Re­id should get back to work and stop pick­ing on great Amer­ic­ans who are cre­at­ing great things in our coun­try,” Christie said.

The Koch broth­ers have helped fund Amer­ic­ans for Prosper­ity, which has spent more than $30 mil­lion on ads at­tack­ing Demo­crats in the 2014 elec­tion cycle, and have been a fre­quent tar­get of Re­id re­cently. Earli­er this week, Re­id said on the Sen­ate floor, “Sen­ate Re­pub­lic­ans are ad­dicted to Koch.”

Demo­crats have vil­i­fied for the Koch broth­ers for years, but Re­pub­lic­an of­fice­hold­ers rarely men­tion them pub­licly, des­pite be­ne­fit­ing from their polit­ic­al spend­ing. This elec­tion in par­tic­u­lar, Demo­crats are hop­ing to turn the Koch broth­ers in­to a li­ab­il­ity for the GOP. Just today, the Demo­crat­ic Sen­at­ori­al Cam­paign Com­mit­tee launched a new on­line ef­fort seek­ing to tie Re­pub­lic­an can­did­ates to the wealthy in­dus­tri­al­ists.

Aside from their vast net­work of ad­vocacy groups, the Koch broth­ers have also been gen­er­ous donors to the Re­pub­lic­an Gov­ernors As­so­ci­ation, which Christie chairs. Dav­id Koch con­trib­uted $1 mil­lion to the RGA in 2013 and $2 mil­lion dur­ing the 2012 elec­tion cycle. 

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