A prominent Democratic senator doesn’t want to talk about contributions she received from David and Charles Koch, the billionaire brothers who have been targeted for abuse and attacks by Democratic politicians and liberal media.
Louisiana’s Mary Landrieu, a vulnerable incumbent facing a tough challenge in the November midterm elections, declined to respond to questions about her ties to the Kochs, successful businessmen and philanthropists who have become personae non gratae among Democrats and have been subjected to a series of tirades from the Senate floor by Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Though Reid, New York senator Chuck Schumer, and others have gone to great lengths to publicly berate the brothers ahead of this fall’s midterms, Landrieu has been accepting campaign contributions from the Kochs for more than a decade.
Earlier this year, the Washington Free Beacon reported that the Landrieu had received $35,000 from KochPAC since 2000, including $15,000 that had come in this election cycle. Since 2007, the year before her most recent election, Landrieu ranks second among Democrats in receiving contributions from the brothers’ PAC.
Landrieu’s $31,000 haul since 2007 puts her just behind Arkansas senator Mark Pryor, who raked in $35,000, according to Gannett’s Paul C. Barton, from the donors Reid denounced as “un-American” during a February Senate speech.
National Review Online reached out to Landrieu’s campaign to ask if the senator would return KochPAC’s donations but had not hear back at the time of publication.
Despite Landrieu’s ties to the Kochs, a recent attack ad launched by Senate Majority PAC, a Harry Reid–associated group aimed at electing Democratic Senate candidates, prominently features the brothers as “out-of-state billionaires, spending millions to rig the system and elect [Republican challenger Representative] Bill Cassidy.” The ad prominently, and nearly exclusively, features Charles and David Koch, while also blasting Cassidy for his connections to them.
The ad was widely panned for its disingenuous portrayal of the Kochs. For example, the Washington Post’s fact-checker Glenn Kessler gave the ad “Four Pinocchios” for its hypocrisy, for “setting up a straw man,” and for its representions of the Kochs’ as well as Cassidy’s positions.
While the Senate Democratic leadership shows no signs of backing down on the Koch assault, at least one “blue dog” senator has started to speak. Earlier this month, a “disappointed” Joe Manchin of West Virginia said Reid’s approach “does not help us move this country or move the agenda forward.”
But Landrieu’s campaign did not comment when asked whether she agreed with Manchin’s assessment that Reid is in the wrong to go after the Kochs and whether Reid should stop.
Several polls show the candidates locked in a close race, including a Harper survey from earlier this month giving Cassidy a lead of 47 to 43 percent when matched up against Landrieu.
— Andrew Johnson is an editorial associate at National Review Online.