Just days after the House passed its version of the federal tax law slashing corporate tax rates, House Speaker Paul Ryan collected nearly $500,000 in campaign contributions from billionaire energy mogul Charles Koch and his wife, according to a recent campaign donor report.
Koch and his brother David spent millions of dollars to get the tax law passed and are spending millions more in a public relations campaign in an attempt to boost support for the law, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Koch Industries, one of the largest private corporations in the nation, operates refineries and manufactures a variety of products. The new tax law — which slices corporate tax rates from 35 percent to 21 percent, slashes estate taxes and includes a special deduction for oil and gas investors — is expected to save the Koch brothers and their businesses billions of dollars in taxes.
Just 13 days after the tax law was passed, Charles Koch and his wife, Elizabeth, donated nearly $500,000 to Ryan’s joint fundraising committee, according to a campaign finance report filed Thursday.
“It looks like House Speaker Ryan is quickly being rewarded for passing this legislation that overwhelmingly benefits the Kochs and billionaires like them,” Adam Smith, spokesman for campaign finance reform nonprofit Every Voice, told the International Business Times, which first reported the Koch contributions.
The Koch donations were paid into Team Ryan, which raises money for the speaker, the National Republican Congressional Committee and a PAC run by Ryan. On the same day, Charles and Elizabeth Koch also each donated $237,000 to the NRCC.
The Koch brothers, worth an estimated $100 billion together, have become the gorillas of dark money contributions distorting American democracy since the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC, which opened the door to unlimited campaign contributions from corporations, unions and wealthy individuals to outside groups. The brothers are using their massive wealth to push a political agenda that’s the “most hard-line libertarian philosophy” in America, according to Jane Mayer, author of Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right.
Ryan reportedly has indicated to confidants that he won’t run again when his term is up this year, according to Politico, though he hasn’t made an official announcement. If he doesn’t run, his contributions would be redirected.
Clarification: Language in this story has been updated to better describe the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. FEC.