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Koch Network Willing to Back Dem. Candidates In 2020

David Koch in 2012 (Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

Americans for Prosperity (AFP), the political arm of the billionaire Koch brothers’ sprawling influence network, which has traditionally confined its support to Republicans, plans to pursue a “bipartisan approach” when determining which candidates to back in the 2020 election cycle.

In a memo distributed to employees Thursday and obtained by CNBC, AFP CEO Emily Seidel announced that the group will evaluate candidates entirely based on their support for its preferred policies without respect to party affiliation.

“AFP or AFP Action [the group’s super PAC] will be ready to engage contested U.S. Senate, U.S. House, and state-level primary races, including Republican, Democrat, Independent or otherwise, to support sitting legislators who lead by uniting with others to pass principled policy and get good things done,” Seidel’s memo said.

The Koch network, collectively referred to as “Stand Together,” has struggled to find a political home since President Trump took office.

While the group did endorse the bipartisan criminal-justice-reform package signed last year, it has staunchly opposed the administration’s restrictionist immigration preferences — especially its approach to the status of so-called Dreamers — as well as the protectionist trade policies that have increasingly captivated the congressional Republicans.

According to Seidel’s memo, the network has created four new PACs to address these issues and provide support to any candidate, Democrat or Republican, who shares its goals. The Economic Opportunity PAC, for example, will back candidates opposed to increased regulation on business, while the Uniting for Free Trade PAC will support candidates giving voice to Americans harmed by tariffs.

It remains unclear whether the network’s intention to support candidates irrespective of party will materialize, since Charles Koch himself expressed the same sentiment ahead of the 2018 midterms, during which his group went on to back only Republicans.

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