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Capital Rivals: Koch Brothers vs. George Soros

Cat 2010/09/27 01:04:14



Capital Rivals: Koch Brothers vs. George Soros



Thursday, 23 September 2010 20:21
Spencer MacColl




Ever since Jane Mayer's recent New Yorker piece earlier this month, much of the media has risen to debate how much influence conservative and libertarian-leaning businessmen David and

Charles Koch, the owners of Koch Industries, have in American politics.





Some critics of the article argue that the media cries foul over the Koch brothers, yet largely ignores liberal George Soros, the Hungarian-American currency speculator and
stock investor, who has spent millions of dollars on liberal and
nonpartisan causes (including the Center for Responsive Politics).


OpenSecrets Blog is here to investigate the numbers behind these bold-faced names in our new feature, Capital Rivals.

For starters, both Soros and the brothers Koch (pronounced "coke") are incredibly rich. And their political endeavors are numerous.

Koch Industries, an oil refiner, is the nation’s second largest private
company with about $100 billion in annual revenue. Soros is chairman of Soros Fund Management, a highly successful hedge fund that has provided financial and investment strategies to a variety of funds. As of June 30, 2009, the hedge fund had holdings valued at $4.2 billion.

David and Charles Koch are tied at No. 24 on Forbes top billionaires list with a personal fortunes of $17.5 billion each. Soros is No. 35 on the list with a net worth of $14 billion.

The Koch brothers, Soros and their respective companies have spent millions of dollars on politics, ranging from federal lobbying to candidate support to bankrolling political committees, according to a Center for Responsive Politics review of their political activity.

The Kochs and Soros have also funded think tanks, foundations and political
organizations -- money that is sometimes notoriously difficult to
track.

These individuals aren’t exactly flying under the radar as the Kochs hold leadership positions and are featured on the websites
for the Cato Institute, Reason Foundation and the Mercatus Center among others. Soros also runs the Open Society Institute -- website Soros.org -- as well as the recently created Institute for New Economic Thinking.

Still these individuals have provided major funding to groups that aren't particularly transparent, such as Soros-backed Democracy Alliance, which doesn't provide information on the projects it funds.

David Koch's Americans for Prosperity Foundation has a more detailed website, but it is unclear why Koch is seemingly uninvolved in the similar organization, Americans for Prosperity. David Koch contends that no Koch foundations have provided funding to Americans for Prosperity, the citizen advocacy group organizing Tea Party events around the country. A Washington Post article from January of this year connects the Kochs with the Tea Party
movement, citing records of their foundation giving $3.1 million to
Americans for Prosperity, but according to the Kochs, this is false, as
the money only went to the Americans for Prosperity Foundation.

Below is the Center for Responsive Politics' analysis federal political activity by Soros and the Kochs. Note that
while direct political donations are relatively easily to track, it's
difficult to create a full compilation of the political groups that
these individuals are connected with due to secondary and indirect
affiliations. Therefore, the groups listed at the end of the are the
most well-known organizations linked to these three individuals.



Organization-Driven Political Activity

The Koch brothers’ company, Koch Industries, has been a big player in both campaign donations and lobbying. Koch Industries currently leads the oil and gas industry as the top contributor to federal candidates and parties, and is the fifth highest lobbying spender in the industry this year. Soros’ hedge fund, Soros Fund Management, has also lobbied at the federal level, but employees have not made campaign donations through a Soros-sponsored political action
committee. Because of the notable lobbying involvement of a Soros-funded
think tank, the Open Society Policy Center, this group's data is also included for the purpose of this comparison:

Political Action Committee Spending (1989 to 2010)
Koch Industries: $5,938,993 (83 percent going to Republicans)

Soros Fund Management: $0

527 Group Contributions (2001 to 2010)
Koch Industries: $574,998



Soros Fund Management: $0

Lobbying Expenditures (1998 to 2010)
Koch Industries: $50,972,700

Soros Fund Management: $860,000
Open Society Policy Center (Soros-Funded): $11,930,000

According to federal lobbying reports, Koch Industries’ top issues include energy, environmental, tax and homeland security policies. The Open Society Policy Center has mainly lobbied
on issues relating to foreign relations, civil rights, and law
enforcement policy. The graph below outlines these organizations
lobbying history since 1998 (click on graph for full size):


Koch vs Soros Lobbying Expenditures.bmp

VERDICT: When it comes to to the combination of institutional lobbying, 527 group donations and PAC expenditures, Koch Industries far out-spends Soros’ hedge fund and think tank, $57.4 million to $12.8 million. Most of this money is attributable to lobbying expenditures.




Individual-Funded Political Activity

Soros and the Koch brothers have all donated to federal political campaigns and committees. While Soros has far out-spent the Koch brothers in donating to 527 groups, especially
when considering his incredible $23.7 million in donations to the groups
between 2003 and 2004, the Koch brothers have donated more money to
federal candidates and committees.

The Koch brothers give almost exclusively to Republicans just as Soros donates predominately to
Democrats and Democratic organizations. Overall, Soros has spent $34.24
million and the Kochs have spent $4.06 million. (Note: This study only
covers donations to federal candidates - to see donations to state
candidates, go to Followthemoney.org and search for Soros and Koch. For example, as Ben Smith of Politicowrote recently, David Koch and his wife have given $74,000 to a Democrat, Andrew Cuomo, New York's StateAttorney General.)


Individual donations to federal candidates, parties and political action committees (1989 to 2010)

Koch Brothers: $2.58 million
George Soros: $1.74 million

David Koch: $2,224,170


Charles G. Koch: $363,100



George Soros: $1,748,627



David Koch’s Favorite congressional members:
$17,100 – Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.)
$7,600 – Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.)
$7,200 – Mark Foley (R-Fla.)
$6,600 – James Inhofe (R-Okla.)
$5,000 – Sam Brownback (R-Kan.)

George Soros’ favorite congressional members:
$6,500 – Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.)
$6,200 – Jon Cranley (D-Ohio)
$6,000 – Ken Salazar (D-Colo.)
$6,000 – Dan Maffei (D-N.Y.)
$5,500 – Tom Perriello (D-Va.)


Individual donations to 527 organizations (2001 to 2010)
George Soros: $32.5 million
Koch Brothers: $1.5 million


So-called 527 groups are non-profit, tax-exempt organizations that are allowed to raise money for political activities including voter
mobilization efforts, issue advocacy and other actions. They are allowed
to raise unlimited amounts of money from individuals, corporations and
unions. Until earlier this year, they could not use these unlimited
contributions to expressly advocate for the election or defeat of a
federal candidate. Federal court rulings -- including Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission andSpeechNow.org v. Federal Election Commission -- have broken down that restriction. For more information gohere, here and here.

As mentioned previously, Soros spent $24 million in under two years and
did so in his determination to defeat George W. Bush in 2004. He told
the Washington Post in November 2003, "America under Bush, is a
danger to the world. I'm willing to put my money where my mouth is."
Since December 2008, Soros has only donated $4,000 to these types of
groups. On June 30th of this year, David Koch made a $1 million donation
to the Republican Governors Association, his largest one-time donation
to date.

David Koch: $1,472,000



George Soros: $32,506,500



Soros certainly wins the 527 group spending battle, beating the Koch brothers $32.5 million to $1.5 million. A graph below show the history these donations (click on graph
for full size):


Soros vs Koch 527 donations CORRECT.bmpVERDICT: Soros rules this category, having poured more than $34.2 million into political channels, compared to $4.06 million for the Koch brothers.




Think Tanks and Political Organizations


In addition to donating directly to political candidates, parties and committees, the Kochs and Soros have funded numerous political think tanks and advocacy groups. These groups
are not required to reveal their donors, therefore making it hard to
come up with a comprehensive list of organizations that have financial
ties to these individuals. The institutions mentioned are those most
well-connected with the Koch brothers and George Soros.

Charles Koch co-founded the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, along with Edward Crane
in 1977. Charles and David Koch, along with Richard Fink and Jay
Humphries, co-founded the Citizens for a Sound Economy in 1984. In 2004, CSE broke off into two groups: Koch-linked Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks, headed by former congressman Dick Armey. According to its website,
Americans for Prosperity "is committed to educating citizens about
economic policy and a return of the federal government to its
Constitutional limits." In addition to those mentioned above, Charles
Koch has helped to build the Institute for Humane Studies, the Bill of Rights Institute and the Market-Based Management Institute.

David Koch is currently on the board of directors at Cato, as well as the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, a research center dedicated to “market-oriented ideas.” He is a trustee at the libertarian Reason Foundation whose goal is to advance “free minds and free markets.”

George Soros founded the Open Society Institute which is his primary philanthropy organization. According to the
website, "The Open Society Foundations fund a range of programs around
the world, from public health to education to business development."
While the foundation spends much of its resources on democratic causes
around the world, OSI has also contributed to political advocacy groups such as the Tides Foundation. In 2004, Soros pledged $3 million to the progressive think tank, Center for American Progress. Soros is also a majorfinancial backer of the Democracy Alliance, an organization committed to drive progressive activist funding and the recently formed Institute for New Economic Thinking, which was jump started by a $50 million pledge from Soros.

Both the Koch brothers and Soros have given generously to nonpartisan
charitable organizations. David Koch, who is still receiving treatment
for prostate cancer
has donated $120 million to cancer research at the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology, $40 million to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer
Center, $100 million to renovating
New York City Ballet and Opera Theater, and $20 million to the American
Museum of Natural History, among other donations. Soros recently pledged $100 million to Human Rights Watch, and he has made many other charitable donations such as $50 million for the Millennium Promise initiative to eradicate extreme poverty in Africa. In 2003, PBS estimated Soros had donated more than $4 billion since the 1980s.


VERDICT: Given the difficultly in tracking donations to nonprofits and charitable organizations, it's almost impossible to quantify whether the Koch
brothers or Soros dominate this political realm. That said, both the
Kochs and Soros have spent incredible riches and this area with no sign
of stopping.


Capital Rivals is OpenSecrets Blog's ongoing series that plays political foes against one another on the playing field of money in politics.




http://www.rightsidenews.com/2010092411717/us/politics-and-ec...

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  • MelA 2010/09/27 01:30:08
    MelA
    +5
    I have seen the Koch brothers foundation at work for PBS.....but I had NO idea the breadth or depth of who they actually are. I am truly sheltered and truly poor but this poor soul knows that Soros is a greater threat.....Him and his 527 entities(obama being one).....Soros isn't an American. He hates what we stand for. It pisses him off. I'll take Big Oil over a greezzy progressive anyday. Thank you Cat...very nice and informative!

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  • concerned 2010/09/29 20:36:31
    concerned
    KOCH brothers r a real part of the mess republican/ tea party created ... they r the large greed in the uSA ... and help created the poverty we have today ... and will enlarge our poverty if the tea party they support get into office .. we do not need or want the KOCH brother controlling our country
  • Rodney 2010/09/27 03:12:07
    Rodney
    Huh? Most interesting. I am happy to see the right has a major money backer and someone (in this case some two) helping in putting up a conservative front against the evil of George Soros.
  • Boudicca 2010/09/27 01:56:09 (edited)
    Boudicca
    +3
    I'm overwhelmed. Brilliant post, Cat!!! Absolutely brilliant! (I looked @ NY News & Features and read the following - I confess, quite readily, it was WAY over my head and I needed some "dumb down" and fast):

    NY News describes David Koch as New York's second richest man (behind Michael Bloomberg) and the Liberal press calls him "The Tea Party's Wallet." The always delightful Rachel "Rabid Because I Had It Tough In High School Just Like Michael Moore" Maddow calls him "The Tea Party's Puppet Master" No comment from The Tea Party, but, hey, I'm guessing they might need a wallet right about now.

    I can't say much about Soros. (Most folks on this site have forgotten more than I ever knew in the first place on Georgie). But I do wonder if he ever ever gets out of the sack he apparently shares with our guy Obie.

    Back to the Koch brothers. They've apparently been under a great deal of personal pressure and have had what NY News described as a failling out. NY News went on to say that, earlier this year, David found himself at the center of a raging storm as he was attacked for being the "financial engine" of "the largely white, largely male, very angry crowds that were gathering in towns across the country—a few waving overtly racist or menacing anti-Obama signs—to protest the pr...








    I'm overwhelmed. Brilliant post, Cat!!! Absolutely brilliant! (I looked @ NY News & Features and read the following - I confess, quite readily, it was WAY over my head and I needed some "dumb down" and fast):

    NY News describes David Koch as New York's second richest man (behind Michael Bloomberg) and the Liberal press calls him "The Tea Party's Wallet." The always delightful Rachel "Rabid Because I Had It Tough In High School Just Like Michael Moore" Maddow calls him "The Tea Party's Puppet Master" No comment from The Tea Party, but, hey, I'm guessing they might need a wallet right about now.

    I can't say much about Soros. (Most folks on this site have forgotten more than I ever knew in the first place on Georgie). But I do wonder if he ever ever gets out of the sack he apparently shares with our guy Obie.

    Back to the Koch brothers. They've apparently been under a great deal of personal pressure and have had what NY News described as a failling out. NY News went on to say that, earlier this year, David found himself at the center of a raging storm as he was attacked for being the "financial engine" of "the largely white, largely male, very angry crowds that were gathering in towns across the country—a few waving overtly racist or menacing anti-Obama signs—to protest the president’s proposed health-care bill and other issues. Koch denies being directly involved with the tea party—'I’ve never been to a tea-party event. No one representing the tea party has ever even approached me'—but he and his brother Charles were being accused of supporting the group through an affiliated conservative organization. David Kock (sic) adds: 'The radical press is coming after me and [my brother] Charles,' he said. 'They’re using us as whipping boys.' Burnishing his reputation was no longer his concern; now, it seemed, he needed to save it.

    WTH? Soros dumps truck loads of cash into Obama's money pit every ten minutes and we're supposed to be cool with that? Soros has tons of political influence and god knows what else and we're supposed to "act correctly." Koch gifts to the Right and he needs to "save his reputation?" Cat, we are so ******! Seriously, how did it get this far? OUR MEDIA ARE PROPAGANDISTS. (No new discovery, but it is SO shameful that a FREE PRESS would happily sit still for a muzzle that Americans should be screaming the house down. One of our most important liberties has been utterly and totally hijacked - and it was our liberty - not the Media's to "give away" in the first place).

    I'm sure I long ago got off track here, but I remain truly puzzled, despite nearly two years of "President SideShow Bob", by a lot of things - but I'll whittle 'em down to four. (IT IS YOUR POST). #1 How does Washington, together with our politicians, really, really, really operate behind closed doors; #2 Why is it cutting edge when the Left does it and rancid spin and racial hate when the Right does it - this probably includes even using the lavatories on Capitol Hill; #3 When did our Country become so enfeebled that we we found ourselves in chains to the insanity of that shabby liberal invention called "political correctness;" and, #4 How are we sensibles, we conservatrives EVER going to find ANY candidate that conservatives can agree on?

    'Cause one thing I do know is that a lot of the names that are being floated so hopefully right now will not BEAT The Clown Prince.

    Cat, seriously and with respect, you're way too bright for me. But you did hip me to the EXISTENCE of the Koch brothers - I couldn't have told you a thing about them - and you did make me feel a bit more at peace just knowing The Tea Party now has some gal-darned money to throw at Soros' machine. It might be like David throwing a rock at Goliath and getting that one in a million lucky throw, but that's better than the nightmare we're living under, hey?
    http://nymag.com/news/feature...
    (more)
  • Boudicca Boudicca 2010/09/27 01:59:05
    Boudicca
    +2
    Was going to add something but SH is just not, well, working anymore. I miss it, don't you?
  • BlueMax372 Boudicca 2010/09/27 02:13:12
    BlueMax372
    +1
    Yeppers. ;-)
  • Mike Boudicca 2010/09/27 02:00:02
    Mike
    +3
    The first thing we need to do when we take back our country is arrest Soros and charge him with high treason! There will be many more on the list as the truth comes out as to who did what to undermine and usurp the constitution!
  • BlueMax372 Mike 2010/09/27 02:12:54
    BlueMax372
    +2
    Damn it, Mike, I'd recommend summary execution. But, oh well, have it your way. Whatever!
  • Mrs. V Mike 2010/09/27 02:13:50
    Mrs. V
    +3
    Yes, he should be hung.
  • BlueMax372 Boudicca 2010/09/27 02:11:19
    BlueMax372
    +2
    You didn't get "off track" at all. In fact, you're right on the money, hon! I love it! LOL!

    track money hon love lol
  • Boudicca BlueMax372 2010/09/27 02:37:58
    Boudicca
    Nope - thanks to Cat and her meticulous research. Any thumbs up my way goes to the New York News and Features section... And they are NOT a conservative publication. But at least they came as close as liberal media ever comes to being fair. Couldn't miss their comment, though, about "the largely white, largely male, very angry crowds that were gathering in towns across the country—a few waving overtly racist or menacing anti-Obama signs... in protest.

    I'm so done with all this "white is evil" nonsense. White male = even worse. Angry white male = end of world scenario and/or Klan member, surely. Conservatives daring to gather in protest = threat to America as we know it. Overtly racist = code for "anything remotely anti-Obama." "Menacing" = the same thing, except that it might be criticism with the sting of truth in its tail. And just how many are "a few"? Three? If there WERE just a "few," surely we could be told EXACTLY what those "few" signs said. A picture (or a few pictures) would be even better!

    Liberal drift = BS. This Country has been turned upside down so hard the change is coming out of our pockets. Good is bad, bad is good, what we paid for is OWED to others for free, legal is bad, illegal is good; criminal government housing gang-banging punks dealing crack and ...
    Nope - thanks to Cat and her meticulous research. Any thumbs up my way goes to the New York News and Features section... And they are NOT a conservative publication. But at least they came as close as liberal media ever comes to being fair. Couldn't miss their comment, though, about "the largely white, largely male, very angry crowds that were gathering in towns across the country—a few waving overtly racist or menacing anti-Obama signs... in protest.

    I'm so done with all this "white is evil" nonsense. White male = even worse. Angry white male = end of world scenario and/or Klan member, surely. Conservatives daring to gather in protest = threat to America as we know it. Overtly racist = code for "anything remotely anti-Obama." "Menacing" = the same thing, except that it might be criticism with the sting of truth in its tail. And just how many are "a few"? Three? If there WERE just a "few," surely we could be told EXACTLY what those "few" signs said. A picture (or a few pictures) would be even better!

    Liberal drift = BS. This Country has been turned upside down so hard the change is coming out of our pockets. Good is bad, bad is good, what we paid for is OWED to others for free, legal is bad, illegal is good; criminal government housing gang-banging punks dealing crack and shooting innocent children are "underpriviledged" while people going lawfully about their daily business are "overprivileged fat cats." Where does the insanity stop? The kind of rhetoric the Left uses daily to inflame the ignorant is going to get GOOD people HURT OR WORSE. Can't they see that?
    (more)
  • BlueMax372 Boudicca 2010/09/27 02:49:23
    BlueMax372
    +1
    I think they see it, Boudicca, but they don't care because it doesn't fit their agenda. Things are about to CHANGE for the better, but it just might hurt for a while because it just might be less than peaceful. We the People have been pushed too far and the TEA Parties are a peaceful manifestation of this. If the left pushes harder, they'll get overrun in no uncertain terms!
  • Boudicca BlueMax372 2010/09/27 02:52:37 (edited)
    Boudicca
    +1
    Hearing that from you is good info - not good news. Why? You of all people know just how thin that line is... (God bless you in every way, BlueMax372).
  • BlueMax372 Boudicca 2010/09/27 02:56:10
    BlueMax372
    +1
    Thin but capable. Stay well, my good friend. ;-)
  • Cat Boudicca 2010/09/27 02:19:35
    Cat
    +2
    WELL, I must confess, I get a little edge. I am as I brag a BUNCH, an OKLAHOMAN! KOCH OIL, Oklahoman Company. James Inhoff OKLAHOMAN Senator. my little income is oil royality. I know these guys. Thank so much Boudicca. I DO TRY MY HARDEST to light the way in my own post.
  • Boudicca Cat 2010/09/27 02:43:10
    Boudicca
    +1
    You do shine a light, with every post, and you have a lot of folks who look to you for the inside track. God bless you, Cat!
  • BlueMax372 Boudicca 2010/09/27 02:56:57
    BlueMax372
    +1
    AMEN to that! ;-)
  • Ms. Mom... Boudicca 2010/09/27 03:27:09
    Ms. Mom - profits employ, taxes destroy
    In overall money Soros whips the Koch brother's booties.
  • MelA 2010/09/27 01:30:08
    MelA
    +5
    I have seen the Koch brothers foundation at work for PBS.....but I had NO idea the breadth or depth of who they actually are. I am truly sheltered and truly poor but this poor soul knows that Soros is a greater threat.....Him and his 527 entities(obama being one).....Soros isn't an American. He hates what we stand for. It pisses him off. I'll take Big Oil over a greezzy progressive anyday. Thank you Cat...very nice and informative!
  • Cat MelA 2010/09/27 02:21:09
    Cat
    +3
    You are so very welcome I HOPE PEOPLE WILL READ, please encourge them to. I am NOT getting much support of late. I feel this is important

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