The network of shadowy entities created by the billionaire conservative brothers Charles and David Koch raised at least $407 million for the 2012 campaign, according to a new analysis from the Washington Post and the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, outpacing other independent groups on the right and at least matching labor union coalitions on the left.
The Koch brothers, who lead the energy and manufacturing conglomerate Koch Industries, are known for backing Americans for Prosperity and some other high profile conservative nonprofits. Yet by using a network of tax-exempt groups and limited liability companies, they can hide their donations, as well as donations from other conservatives interested in advancing limited-government policies. The Post and CRP pieced together through tax filings a network of 17 Koch-backed entities that raised at least $407 million from the Kochs and other unknown donors.
About a dozen of those groups include LLCs with names like SLAH LLC and ORRA LLC. The network gave money to coalitions with specific aims like youth outreach or Latino engagement, the Post reports, with funds flowing between the advocacy groups, making it hard to trace. Some of the Koch-backed funding was said to be spent on “social welfare,” allowing the groups to maintain 501(c)(4) tax-exempt status.
The IRS in November put forward new rules to limit the political activity of such tax-exempt groups.