Rand Paul pens tribute to Koch brothers
© Greg Nash

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulJohnson opens door to subpoenaing whistleblower, Schiff, Bidens Senate GOP waves Trump off early motion to dismiss impeachment charges McConnell discounts quick dismissal of Trump impeachment articles: 'We'll have to have a trial' MORE (R-Ky.) writes that controversial conservative donors Charles and David Koch have "always stood for freedom, equality and opportunity" in a tribute published by Time magazine on Thursday.

“Consistent with their love of liberty, they have become prominent advocates for criminal-justice reform,” the 2016 GOP presidential candidate said in his short piece, published as part of the annual Time 100 list of influential people.

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“The Koch brothers’ investment in freedom-loving think tanks will carry on for generations, reminding all of us that ideas and convictions ultimately trump all else," he added.

The libertarian brothers, who have built a network of organizations to support and develop public policy in line with their political views, have been criticized by liberals as emblematic of the post-Citizens United era of campaign finance. Their network reportedly plans to spend $889 million on the 2016 elections.

Their fortune comes from Koch Industries, the Kansas-based company that they lead.

They, like Paul, have been vocal about their support for criminal justice reform — based largely on a libertarian belief that the justice system has become an example of government abuse that disproportionately affects poor people and minorities.

The comments come as Paul launches his presidential campaign, hoping he can leverage his libertarian message to appeal to new constituencies within the Republican Party.