The political network led by conservative industrialists Charles and David Koch plans to spend close to a billion dollars on the 2016 elections, the brothers’ group announced at a retreat with donors Monday in the California desert.
The $889 million spending goal would pay for everything from advertising and data gathering to grassroots activation and massive donations to like-minded conservative groups.
It’s an astonishing amount of money, even in the post-Citizens United world, when astonishing sums of money have become routine – and even for the Kochs, who spent half that much in 2012.
If they turned on the money spigots today, it would mean spending about $1.36 million a day, every day, from now until November 8, 2016. That’s $56,899 per hour, and $948 per second.
It’s almost a quarter of what was spent in the 2000 election by all candidates, parties and groups, bothRepublicans and Democrats, combined, when adjusted for inflation.
It dwarfs the $404 million spent by the Republican National Committee during the 2012 presidential election, which was the most expensive election on record, and more than either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney raised for their campaigns.
“No one presidential candidate, even in the post-Bush, post-Citizens United era, has raised this much money in a race,” Doug Weber, senior researcher at the Center for Responsive Politics told msnbc.For that amount of money, you could come close to buying almost every one of the 400 Bugatti Veyron supercars ever sold, at $2.5 million a pop. You could outfit a small air force with 20 F-16 fighter jets ($14 million per unit), four B-52 bombers ($53 million), five A-10 Warthogs ($18 million), 5 C-130 cargo plans ($30.1 million), and a fleet of 20 UH-1 Huey helicopters ($4.7 million) and still have close to $100 million left over.
It’s larger than the GDP of 14 countries, according to the World Bank, and could pay for almost 90 million mosquito nets at about $10 per unit for regions that suffer from malaria. Or it cover the full tuition, room, board and fees of four years at Harvard for 3,792 students.
Everyone assumed 2016 would be the most expensive election on record. Allies of Hillary Clinton, for instance, are expecting to need to spend well over $1 billion, between the campaign and outside groups. But so much money coming from a single outside group could push those numbers even higher.
At least Democrats will now have a foil to use when asking for money.