Controversial Koch brothers criticized in new political ad

Charles and David Koch. Koch Industries/MIT

(CBS News) Patriot Majority USA, a group associated with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, has launched a new TV ad that doesn't attack a specific candidate but instead criticizes the wealthy conservative donors David and Charles Koch.

"If you spend $400 million you expect something in return," the narrator says with an image of the billionaire Koch brothers, who are expected to spend hundreds of millions of dollars this election in an effort to defeat Democrats and President Obama. "To buy this year's election and advance this year's agenda."

"What's their payback?" the ad continues. "Politicians who will pass laws that will benefit special interests but hurt the middle class."

The Koch brothers are worth an estimated $25 billion from their energy enterprise, Koch Industries, and David Koch is the founder of the political group Americans for Prosperity, which has spent more than $20 million on campaign ads this cycle, according to media-tracker CMAG.

The group's $500,000 ad buy is part of their new "stop the greed" campaign meant to shine a spotlight on money in politics.

Although many Americans have likely not heard of the Koch brothers or know much about outside spending groups, Patriot Majority's campaign hopes to draw attention to wealthy donors who play a significant role in financing the political discourse, especially on TV.

This ad is the beginning of a larger campaign consisting of online ads, direct mail and citizen outreach that will last beyond the election and into next year focusing on what Patriot Majority President Craig Varoga calls "the greed agenda."

"The Koch Brothers and their special interest friends have been pursuing their Greed Agenda for decades. Just as Rome was not built in a day, it will take a lot more than a few months to stop the Greed Agenda. The effort that we're beginning this week will eventually include all 50 states and will continue at the local, state and federal levels," Varoga said.

Like the Koch-run Americans for Prosperity, Patriot Majority USA is classified as a tax-exempt, non-profit organization and does not have to provide detailed monthly fundraising reports nor does it have to release the name of its donors.

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    Leigh Ann Caldwell is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.

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