Luke’s Log- Every time you say “Koch Brothers” you’d better also say “George Soros”

moneyinthefridge

Americans of a populist persuasion like to pull out the name ‘Koch Brothers’ whenever the discussion of campaign finance reform (aka ‘money in politics’) starts to require hard empirical evidence. And it’s true- Charles and David Koch are documented to have spent hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars on political causes over the last couple of campaign cycles.

However, ye progressive-minded zealots out there, it must be born in mind that conservatives aren’t the only ones playing dirty in the campaign finance game (and for that matter, the Koch Brothers fund libertarian causes, not conservative ones.) Progressive liberals George Soros and the oodles of cash flowing out of his pocket, and according to a recent article published by the Independent Voters Network, Team Soros is every bit as fiscally vicious as Team Koch:

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Political Action Committee (PAC) Spending (2000 to 2014)

Koch Industries: $16.03 million

Soros Fund Management: $0

Lobbying Expenditures (2000 to 2014)

Koch Industries: $97.95 million

Soros Fund Management: $260,000

Open Society Policy Center (Soros-Funded): $42.55 million

Individual Donations to Federal Candidates, Parties, and PACs (1989 to 2014)

Koch Brothers: $2.58 million

George Soros: $1.74 million

Individual Donations to 527 Organizations (1989 to 2010)

Koch Brothers: $1.5 million

George Soros: $32.5 million

Totals

Koch: 118.06 million

Soros: 77.05 million

All figures are courtesy of OpenSecrets.org.

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OK, so Soros caps off at $77 million on his own while the Koch Brothers combined go all the way to $118 million. But after so many tens of millions, does it really matter anymore? And moreover, if these three men happen to be the most generous of the ultra-rich donors, how many more ultra-rich donors does it to take to donate even more hundreds of millions to various political causes?

The verdict is clear. There’s a lot of money in politics these days, and it comes from both the right and the left, funneling into the campaign coffers of politicians of various stripes and to the budgets of thought-organizations as diverse as the Center for American Progress and the Cato Institute.

Joel Kotkin’s narrative of the rival oligarchies has never seemed more right. We have yet to see if a populist, anti-elitist movement of statesmen will rise up and seriously challenge the power of Mammon over Caesar; and however it rises it will have to come from either from the center or from both the right and the left, but neither the left or right on their own, lest the movement be (rightly) accused of hypocrisy. If history is any guide, we’ll last a while under the rule of the rich. But such plutocratic power invariably leads to decadence and decay, and therefore it is in the broader interest of the American nation that the interests of wealth be checked sooner rather than later.

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