Charles and David Koch are striking back against television commercials that portray them as out-of-state billionaires interested in manipulating elections for their own financial and political benefit, Politico
Philip Ellender, a spokesman for Koch Industries, described the anti-Koch ads as an attempt to silence private citizens because their conservative message disagreed with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, the Obama administration, and the policies they champion. He said Reid was trying to intimidate "political opposition" and squelch dissent, Politico reported.
Ellender said that Reid-affiliated Democrats are spending $3 million in Colorado, North Carolina, Arkansas, Michigan, and Louisiana, under the auspices of the Senate Majority PAC, on "negative, cynical, divisive, and dishonest attacks" against the Koch brothers.
Americans for Prosperity
, which is backed by the brothers, has spent heavily to attack Democratic senators for their support of Obamacare, taxes, and placing "barriers to entrepreneurship."
Senate Majority PAC decided to spotlight the Koch brothers and the causes and candidates they are backing. Democratic ads, set to run for two weeks, aim to portray GOP Senate candidates as beholden to the billionaires.
According to Ty Matsdorf, a spokesman for Senate Majority PAC, the ad campaign is designed to show Republican Senate candidates as siding with "out-of-state billionaires over middle-class families in their state," Politico reported.
One ad challenges criticism of Colorado Democratic Sen. Mark Udall and urges: "Take a closer look at those ads against Mark Udall. Those behind the attacks? Insurance companies and out-of-state billionaires."
Others have stood up to support the right of the brothers to spend money in defense of ideas they believe.
Sen. David Vitter, R-La., defended the brothers, characterizing them as "patriotic Americans." Political scientist Charles Murray,
has challenged Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos on Twitter to pay attention to the reporting about them in his newspaper. Journalist Brit Hume
also tweeted about the Post's reporting, and Mark Hemingway wrote on the subject in The Weekly Standard
The Koch brothers are also going back to the airwaves
to defend the veracity of the claims they've made in ads. A website
to respond to attacks against them is also active.
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