The Kochs pledge to spend $900 million in 2016. Here’s one thing they’re buying

The "socially liberal" David Koch has a history of bankrolling anti-choice groups and candidates

Published January 27, 2015 8:42PM (EST)

David Koch                                      (AP/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
David Koch (AP/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Charles and David Koch have pledged to spend an astounding $889 million on the 2016 elections. As my colleague Luke Brinker pointed out earlier today, that level of spending is unprecedented, surpassing the dollar amount of any previous campaign cycle. For comparison the Republican National Committee and the GOP’s two congressional committees spent a combined $657 million in 2012 -- $232 million less than the Kochs plan to spend next year.

So what’re they buying, exactly? Years of pain for women who will be denied essential healthcare, among other things.

David Koch has said before that he considers himself socially liberal but economically conservative. “I’m basically a libertarian, and I’m a conservative on economic matters, and I’m a social liberal,” Koch said last year in an interview with Barbara Walters.

And on the matter of what he hopes to accomplish by flooding money into political campaigns, Koch said, “What I want these candidates to do is to support a balanced budget. I’m very worried that if the budget is not balanced that inflation could occur and the economy of our country could suffer terribly.”

But the Kochs also bankroll the organizations and candidates who are dismantling the new healthcare law, restricting access to abortion, putting affordable contraception out of reach for millions of women, fighting for fetal personhood and standing in the way of basic care for millions of women.

Back in 2013 in a report for RH Reality Check, Adele M. Stan examined the Kochs’ available records to reveal how the billionaire brothers are funding groups like the Susan B. Anthony List, Americans United for Life and the Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee:

RH Reality Check, examining [the Koch-funded Center to Protect Patient Rights’ (CPPR)] tax filings, confirmed reporting by NARAL Pro-Choice America and American Bridge that in 2010, it granted more than $1 million to the Susan B. Anthony (SBA) List, about half of the $2 million the group spent that year on advertising for anti-choice candidates and against pro-choice candidates in state and federal races across the country. The CPPR grant accounted for nearly 15 percent of the group’s overall revenues that year. [...]

CPPR’s generosity to groups that push for laws restricting access to reproductive health care and limit women’s rights in pregnancy doesn’t end with the SBA List. In 2010, it provided Americans United for Life Action (AULA) with 39 percent of the group’s operating budget that year. It’s likely that the $559,000 AULA received from CPPR accounted for the $425,374 that it spent, according to AULA’s tax filing, on elections that year. CPPR also gave an additional $45,000 in 2010 to AULA’s sibling organization, Americans United for Life.

In 2011, CPPR gave $1.5 million to the Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee (CWALAC); that more than filled the $500,000 hole Mother Jones’ Stephanie Mencimer reported the organization dug for itself after spending $2 million in the 2010 elections—with a cool $1 million left over for the committee’s anti-choice lobbying in state legislatures, and millions more to come from Freedom Partners, another Koch-linked group. CWALAC was deeply involved in pushing the passage of the Texas anti-choice law.


By Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at

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Koch Brothers Kochs Reproductive Rights Women's Health