At a private three-day retreat in California last weekend, conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch and about 250 to 300 other individuals pledged approximately $100 million to defeat President Obama in the 2012 elections.
A source who was in the room when the pledges were made told The Huffington Post that, specifically, Charles Koch pledged $40 million and David pledged $20 million.
$60 million from the Kochs is an amazing amount of money. It’s over twice what George Soros donated to ACT and The Media Fund in 2004. But the story here is not that they’re pledging that much, but that they’ve reduced their financial commitment to defeating Barack Obama by $140 million?
The billionaire industrialist brothers David and Charles Koch plan to steer more than $200 million — potentially much more — to conservative groups ahead of Election Day, POLITICO has learned. That puts their libertarian-leaning network in the same league as the most active of the groups in the more establishment-oriented network conceived last year by veteran GOP operatives Rove and Ed Gillespie, which plans to raise $240 million.
Maybe Politico’s reporting was erroneous. Maybe HuffPo’s sources were inaccurate, or maybe the Kochs did pledge $60 million now, but intend to spend $200 million over the course of the campaign. Maybe they pledged $60 million to this group but intend to spend another $140 million with other groups. Or maybe they’ve decided to cut back the amount of their money they’re willing to spend to defeat Barack Obama.
Whatever the case, this is yet another example of how ultra-wealthy conservatives learned the right lessons from past elections, but ultra-wealthy liberals, at least to this point, have not.
Last year, reporting on the same annual meeting reported today by HuffPo, Politico said “the billionaire Koch brothers plan to contribute and steer a total of $88 million to conservative causes during the 2012 election cycle.” That would be consistent with their personal pledges totaling $60 million. So that’s evidence that Politico’s later claim of $200 million was wildly inflated.