An official with the arch conservative Koch Industries delivered a stinging rebuke to Sen. Patty Murray of the DSCC for attempting to solicit a contribution:
For many months now, your colleagues in the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee leadership have engaged in a series of disparagements and ad hominem attacks about us, apparently as part of a concerted political and fundraising strategy. Just recently, Senator Reid wrote in a DSCC fundraising letter that Republicans are trying to “force through their extreme agenda faster than you can say ‘Koch Brothers.’”
So you can imagine my chagrin when I got a letter from you on June 17 asking us to make five-figure contributions to the DSCC. You followed that up with a voicemail* indicating that, if we contributed heavily enough, we would garner an invitation to join you and other Democratic leaders at a retreat in Kiawah Island this September.
I’m hoping you can help me understand the intent of your request because it’s hard not to conclude that DSCC politics have become so cynical that you actually expect people whom you routinely denounce to give DSCC money.
To rub it in, they posted the audio of Murray’s voicemail online.
This got the beltway media chuckling, but only because they have short memories. It’s like they can hide their own Easter Eggs. Such fun!
Dan Amira of New York Magazine puts the spat in perspective:
But the pearl-clutching reaction from Koch Industries is entirely phony. KochPAC, the political action committee of Koch Industries, donated $30,000 to the DSCC just last year, when the Democratic assault on the Brothers Koch was in full swing, and gave another $30,000 to the DSCC during the 2008 election cycle. This, as the Fix points out, is why Murray was calling them in the first place, reading what was obviously a script used on past donors.
Philip Ellender, the official who made a show of rebuking Murray, isn’t just some anonymous bean counter. He’s a notoriously aggressive political operative charged with protecting the public image of Koch Industries. He’s not above playing to the cheap seats.
Nor is the DSCC above bashing Koch Industries one day and returning for a contribution the next. It’s hard to say who’s the bigger hypocrite.
All this bad faith posturing should remind us of a much deeper problem with our political system, namely, that the really big players typically spread their contributions around so that they can buy influence no matter who wins. I’m sure the DSCC response will be muted. After all, they’re probably hoping to hit up Koch Industries next year.
[Photo credit: Supergiball, Creative Commons.]