Democratic groups are planning to pounce on the announcement that the conservative Koch brothers have set aside nearly $1 billion for the 2016 campaign cycle, The Washington Post
That kind of budget places industrialists Charles and David Koch in the same financial league as the Democratic and Republican parties, according to The New York Times
The Democrats plan to call attention to what they refer to as the "hidden agenda" of Kochs and to "shame" politicians who take their money, the Post reported.
A similar strategy to paint the Kochs as villains during the 2014 campaign cycle appeared to fall flat. Democratic operatives believe they will have better luck in a presidential year, according to the Post.
"I think the Koch brothers dumping a billion dollars on the elections is definitely something the American people are interested in learning about," said New Mexico Rep. Ben Ray Luján, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
The pro-Clinton Priorities USA Action PAC plans to accuse the brothers of attempting a "hostile takeover" of the government, the Post reported.
Forty-seven percent of people surveyed in an October NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll were unfamiliar with the brothers; 17 percent said they held "neutral" attitudes toward the men, the Post reported.
Advocates who want to cap and make campaign spending more transparent are also likely to point to the announcement by the Kochs. Many of the nonprofit groups backed by the Kochs are not obligated to reveal their donors, the Times reported.
The Kochs' decision to spend $889 million on the 2016 elections was made public Monday by Freedom Partners. Some of the money will comes from other donors working in tandem with the Kochs, according to the Times.
Freedom Partners spokesman James Davis told the Post: "Democrats' past attempts to divide America by demonizing job creators didn't work too well. We remain focused on advancing free-market principles."
Brookings Institution scholar Darrell West agreed that targeting the Kochs "clearly didn't work in 2014," and that Democrats "need to recalibrate the message" by linking attacks on the brothers to "substantive issues in a way that resonates with voters," the Post reported.
News of the Kochs' planned spending levels could spur on billionaires who back Democratic causes, including Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg, the Post reported.
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