Koch network launching PR firm

Koch network launching PR firm
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The conservative network helmed by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch is launching a for-profit public relations agency.

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The new agency, called In Pursuit Of, will be run by top Koch official James Davis and will lead marketing and communications efforts across the Koch network.

The PR agency will collaborate with Koch network groups, but may potentially serve other private sector clients. It’s similar to the way the Koch-owned data firm i360 has been working with outside groups and conservative candidates.

The formation of the PR firm comes at a time of great change for the Koch network. It announced recently that it was merging three of its groups – Concerned Veterans for America, Generation Opportunity and Libre – into its main grassroots organization Americans for Prosperity.

Some in the media interpreted this as a sign the Kochs were scaling back their political ambitions. The network denies that is the case.

The Koch brothers decided not to spend a penny on presidential politics this year, because they disagreed profoundly with the Republican nominee Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpOver 100 lawmakers consistently voted against chemical safeguards: study CNN's Anderson Cooper unloads on Trump Jr. for spreading 'idiotic' conspiracy theories about him Cohn: Jamie Dimon would be 'phenomenal' president MORE on key policy positions. The network instead supported a number of Senate candidates, including Ohio’s Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanSenate passes bipartisan bill to curb opioid crisis Overnight Health Care: Opioid legislation passes overwhelmingly | DOJ backs Cigna-Express Scripts merger | Senate passes ban on pharmacy gag clauses This week: Allegations inject uncertainty into Kavanaugh nomination MORE and Pennsylvania’s Pat Toomey, who share their goals of cutting taxes, repealing ObamaCare and reducing the size and scope of government.

Davis insists there is no change in the Koch network’s political ambitions; in fact he says the group wants only to expand its influence.

It currently has a presence in 36 states, though the recent reshuffling of the network means officials will likely terminate 81 of the 1,700 full-time employees.

Davis told The Hill on Wednesday those roles will no longer be required, as a result of efficiencies gained through the merger.

“These changes help position the network to drive on policy both on the state and federal level,” Davis told The Hill in a telephone interview.

He added that the network sees opportunities to work with President-elect Trump in the new Congress “on a variety of issues, including comprehensive tax reform, repealing and replacing ObamaCare and reducing the regulatory burden.”

Davis said the Koch network is already analyzing Senate candidates for the 2018 midterms. The network may get involved in as many as 10 races.

“There are also a number of pro-freedom governors that we may choose to support,” he said.