Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

36 hours left in this Mid-Year Campaign. This is our hour of need.
If you value independent journalism, please support Common Dreams.

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

Striving for 'Best Plutocracy Money Can Buy,' Koch Brothers Plan to Dump $400M in 2018 Midterms

"This is why we need to overturn the terrible Citizens United Supreme Court decision and move to public funding of elections."

Jake Johnson

Activists hold a protest near the Manhattan apartment of billionaire and Republican financier David Koch in New York City. (Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Fresh off the passage of tax legislation that could net them over a billion dollars a year in additional profits, the oil moguls Charles and David Koch have now set their sights on the 2018 midterms, during which they are reportedly planning to spend around $400 million promoting right-wing candidates and priorities.

"The Koch Brothers want the best plutocracy that money can buy. And for $400 million, one can buy a lot of plutocracy."
—Steven Greenhouse

The news came as the Kochs and others within their sprawling network of deep-pocketed donors and politicians were preparing to gather for a secretive weekend conference in Indian Wells, California.

Tim Phillips, president of the Koch-funded group Americans for Prosperity, declared on Saturday that the Koch network is "all in" for the 2018 midterm elections, which many have predicted will favor Democrats thanks to the historic unpopularity of President Donald Trump.

"This network is going to have the largest investment we've ever had in a midterm election in 2018," Phillips added in a statement, acknowledging the substantial grassroots opposition the Kochs' agenda will face in the coming months. "The left is energized, there's no question about that."

Ben Wikler, Washington director of MoveOn.org, wrote on Twitter Sunday that the Koch brothers' plans "should light a fire under anyone on our side who is tempted to take these elections for granted."

"Nothing's inevitable," Wikler added. "We have to fight for every vote."

The $400 million mark is significantly more than the $250 million the Kochs spent during the 2016 presidential cycle, as CBS News notes. While many in the Koch network—including the Koch brothers themselves—frequently claimed to be skeptical of Trump and declined to endorse him in 2016, Phillips praised the Trump administration on Saturday and celebrated what he called a "good partnership."

In addition to deploying their wealth to influence the midterm elections, the Kochs are also planning to spend around $20 million in an effort to convince Americans that the tax bill Trump signed into law in December will substantially benefit the working class over the long-term—and not just, as most Americans and analysts believe, the very wealthy.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

Just ONE DAY left in our crucial Mid-Year Campaign and we might not make it without your help.
Who funds our independent journalism? Readers like you who believe in our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. No corporate advertisers. No billionaire founder. Our non-partisan, nonprofit media model has only one source of revenue: The people who read and value this work and our mission. That's it.
And the model is simple: If everyone just gives whatever amount they can afford and think is reasonable—$3, $9, $29, or more—we can continue. If not enough do, we go dark.

All the small gifts add up to something otherwise impossible. Please join us today. Donate to Common Dreams. This is crunch time. We need you now.

NARAL Pro-Choice Endorses Fetterman—Who Vows to End Senate Filibuster to Protect Abortion Rights

"We know we can count on him to boldly fight for abortion rights and access," said the head of one of the nation's largest reproductive rights advocacy groups.

Jon Queally ·


'We Will Fight! We Will Win!': Nearly 200 Abortion Rights Defenders Arrested in DC

"If people don't see the rage," said one woman at the protest, "nothing changes."

Jon Queally ·


Federal Abortion Ban Desired by GOP Would Increase Maternal Deaths by 24%: Study

"Pregnancy shouldn't kill people—in fact, in other rich countries it very rarely does," said the lead author of the new analysis.

Jake Johnson ·


Naomi Klein: The US Is in the Midst of a 'Shock-and-Awe Judicial Coup'

"The rolling judicial coup coming from this court is by no means over," warned the author of "The Shock Doctrine."

Jake Johnson ·


Markey, Bowman Join Climate Coalition in Urging SCOTUS Expansion

"We cannot sit idly by," said Markey, "as extremists on the Supreme Court eviscerate the authorities that the government has had for decades to combat climate change and reduce pollution."

Brett Wilkins ·

Common Dreams Logo