Koch brothers add to K Street force

Charles and David Koch are bulking up their representation in Washington as Democrats seek to tighten the rules for how money can be spent in politics.

Koch Companies Public Sector — formerly known as Koch Industries — hired the Nickles Group to work on campaign finance issues, according to recently filed paperwork.

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The lobby firm is run by former Republican Sen. Don Nickles (Okla.), who appears on the account. Also working for Koch are Hazen Marshall, who worked on the Senate Banking and Finance Committees and for Republican leadership, and another former Senate banking panel alum, Stacey Hughes.

Koch Companies Public Sector was among the top lobbying spenders last year, shelling out more than $10.4 million dollars on influence efforts. The private company has eleven other lobby firms at its disposal, including the high-powered Clark Geduldig Cranford & Nielsen and K Street all-star Capitol Counsel.

Disclosure forms say Nickles Group has been working for Koch since last month and intends to also lobby on a tax credit for wind energy.

Koch Companies Public Sector is the second largest private company in the United States, earning $115 billion in revenue last year, and is involved in several sectors, including energy, trading, manufacturing and investment.

Democrats have chided the billionaire Koch brothers for the millions they contribute to conservative non-profits and super-PACs.

Senate Democrats are pushing an amendment to the Constitution aimed at curbing the amount of money in politics, giving Congress more power to regulate political spending.

It would largely supersede the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision handed down by the Supreme Court in 2010, which gave corporations and unions the ability to spend unlimited amounts of money from their general treasury funds on elections.

Last week Senate leadership Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) battled it out on the amendment in testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Reid blasted the Koch brothers in the hearing and charged them with running 15 "phantom" or "phony" campaign funding organizations.

McConnell hit back.

"Given how incredibly bad this amendment is, I can't blame my friend, the majority leader, from wanting to talk about the Koch Brothers or what I may have said over a quarter century ago," he said, referring to Reid’s comment that McConnell had supported campaign finance reform in 1988.