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Koch network: Lawmakers' actions before and after riots will 'weigh heavily' on decisions about future support

Koch network: Lawmakers' actions before and after riots will 'weigh heavily' on decisions about future support
© Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce

The Koch network, a longtime player in conservative politics, pledged to evaluate its future support for lawmakers in light of last week’s riots at the U.S. Capitol. 

“We decide to support candidates based on their record and ability to lead on policy that will help people improve their lives,” Emily Seidel, the CEO of Americans for Prosperity and a senior adviser to the group’s super PAC, said in a statement.

“With that standard in mind, lawmakers’ actions leading up to and during last week’s insurrection will weigh heavy in our evaluation of future support.  And we will continue to look for ways to support those policymakers who reject the politics of division and work together to move our country forward.”

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The pledge was first reported on Wednesday by Politico.

The pledge comes as a growing number of corporations and their political action committees pull support from Republican members of Congress who challenged certification of President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden says Beau's assessment of first 100 days would be 'Be who you are' Biden: McCarthy's support of Cheney ouster is 'above my pay grade' Conservative group sues over prioritization of women, minorities for restaurant aid MORE’s Electoral College victory after a mob of President TrumpDonald TrumpWarren says Republican party 'eating itself and it is discovering that the meal is poisonous' More than 75 Asian, LGBTQ groups oppose anti-Asian crime bill McConnell says he's 'great admirer' of Liz Cheney but mum on her removal MORE’s supporters stormed the Capitol. 

Five people, including a Capitol Police officer, died as a result of the mayhem. The episode has prompted a bipartisan backlash against Trump and his most ardent allies in Congress. On Wednesday, the House voted to impeach Trump for inciting an insurrection, making him the first U.S. president to be impeached twice.

To be sure, the tensions between the Koch network, which has played a major role in boosting Tea Party-aligned candidates, and Trump have been years in the making. 

Charles Koch, the billionaire benefactor of the network, declined to support Trump during both his presidential campaigns in 2016 and 2020, and the Koch network has moved away from partisan giving and has backed some Democrats in both state and federal races in recent years.

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One of the network’s affiliated groups, the LIBRE Initiative Action, supported Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) last year as he faced a primary challenge from his left.

Still, the pledge to reevaluate support for some lawmakers adds to the dilemmas Republicans are facing in the waning days of Trump’s presidency. Over the past week, major corporations, ranging from Marriott and the Walt Disney Company to AT&T and Comcast, have said they will suspend contributions to politicians who objected to certifying the Electoral College results.

--Updated at 10:28 a.m.