The Koch brothers and George Soros continue to bankroll the upcoming 2014 midterm elections. Much has been made in recent years about the role of outside contributions, political action committees (PAC,) and the individuals that finance them. The 2014 midterm elections look to continue this trend as powerful backers are already lining up on both sides of the political aisle to pour money into the election. The sources of this financing are many and diverse, but much of the attention and criticism this election cycle is falling on the Koch brothers and George Soros.
Charles and David Koch are outspoken conservative businessmen and financiers. They are the founders and primary contributors to a conservative PAC called Americans for Prosperity (AFP.) This PAC was founded in 2004 and its activities were considered to be a major factor in the Republican takeover of the House of Representatives in the 2010 midterm elections. The recent activities of the group have been focused on opposition to the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) and the Democratic politicians who supported it. The recent special election in Florida in which Republican David Jolly defeated Democrat Alex Sink was considered a “test case” for the strategy of AFP in the 2014 midterms. AFP was responsible for a significant advertising presence in the contest, highlighting Sink’s support of ObamaCare.
Building on the strategy developed in the Florida special election, AFP and the Koch brothers are making large advertising purchases in a number of 2014 contests. The majority of these activities are focused on vulnerable Senate Democrats as the Republican Party attempts to regain a majority in that chamber to go along with their control of the House. AFP has already spent $8.2 million on advertisements in the state of North Carolina hoping to unseat incumbent Democrat Senator Kay Hagan. If they maintain that pace through Election Day, AFP will have spent nearly $27 million on that contest alone. Democratic leaders have sharply criticized the role of the Koch brothers, calling the influence of a couple of rich businessmen “undemocratic.” They too have their own sources of outside financing however. Both the Koch brothers and George Soros are in a position to bankroll the 2014 midterm elections.
Billionaire currency trader George Soros stands as liberal version of the Koch brothers. He is similarly outspoken in his political views and his willingness to spend money on the electoral process. His political activity in the United States also dates to 2004. That year he called the effort to defeat President George W. Bush “a matter of life and death” and that he would give up his entire fortune if it would guarantee Bush’s defeat. He was one of the founders of the Center for American Progress, a liberal PAC, and supports many liberal and progressive organizations through his Open Society Foundation.
His more recent political activity has included contributions to President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign in 2012 as well as a donation to a group that is seeking Hillary Rodham Clinton’s nomination for the presidential election in 2016. It is expected that Soros’ contributions to liberal PAC’s and Senate campaigns will be essential for those groups to offset the influence of conservatives such as the Koch brothers. This would be in keeping with Soros’ history as he has a record of significant contributions to not only the Center for American Progress but other advocacy groups such as MoveOn.org as well as the Democratic National Committee.
The role of outside political contributions has increased significantly over the past decade. Financiers both liberal and conservative alike continue to pour money into the electoral process in ever increasing amounts. This upcoming election will prove no different as both the Koch brothers and George Soros bankroll the 2014 midterm elections.
By Christopher V. Spencer