Koch network launches super PAC ahead of midterm elections

Koch network launches super PAC ahead of midterm elections
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The political network backed by billionaire activist Charles Koch launched a new super PAC on Monday to elect candidates that share their conservative and libertarian-leaning values.

Americans for Prosperity (AFP), the political arm of the Koch network, has created AFP Action, which will coordinate with Libre Action, an Hispanic outreach super PAC, and Concerned Veterans for America Action to “advocate for candidates who share our commitment to breaking internal and external barriers that prevent people from realizing their full potential.”

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The new super PAC will be able to draw on a deep network of wealthy conservative and libertarian donors, although officials declined to say how much the group intends to spend ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.

The Koch network as a whole will spend more than $400 million this cycle on politics and policy.

“Americans for Prosperity has been a difference-maker supporting policy champions in tight races, and AFP Action is a new tool that will allow us to expand those efforts and make an even larger impact,” said AFP Action spokesman Bill Riggs.

The new super PAC comes as the Koch network reevaluates its political strategy amid frustrations with President TrumpDonald John TrumpAustralia recognizes West Jerusalem as Israeli capital, won't move embassy Mulvaney will stay on as White House budget chief Trump touts ruling against ObamaCare: ‘Mitch and Nancy’ should pass new health-care law MORE and the GOP-controlled Congress.

The network opposes Trump’s tariffs and senior Koch officials have criticized the president for his rhetoric and tone. They’re also furious with Republicans for passing a $1.3 trillion spending package that Trump signed into law in March.

At a donor retreat earlier this year, the network announced that it would be more selective in choosing which candidates to support, even as Republicans try to retain their narrow 51-49 majority in the Senate and Democrats are favored to win a majority in the House.

AFP made an example out of Rep. Kevin CramerKevin John CramerDem senators Heitkamp, Donnelly urge bipartisanship in farewell speeches North Dakota New Members 2019 Rick Scott appears with GOP senators, ignores voter fraud question as recount continues MORE (R-N.D.), who is challenging Sen. Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampHatch warns Senate 'in crisis' in farewell speech Dem senators Heitkamp, Donnelly urge bipartisanship in farewell speeches House passes bipartisan bill aimed at reversing rising maternal mortality rates MORE (D-N.D.) in a state Trump won easily in 2016. AFP announced it would not support Cramer’s Senate bid, citing his support for the spending bill, the farm bill and the Export-Import Bank.

The network has spent money this cycle on ads and mailers chastising Republicans on spending and thanking some Democrats who have voted with them on key issues including criminal justice reform and the "right to try" experimental drug laws

The Koch network is also seeking Democratic partners on a pathway to citizenship for "Dreamers."

Still, most of the network’s spending has been in support of GOP candidates or conservative causes. They’ve spent millions of dollars on ads promoting the confirmation of Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh.