The Koch Primary
Billionaire Charles G. Koch and his
brother David H. Koch are lightening rods for liberal criticism. The effort by potential Republican
candidates to woo support from the Kochs and their network of donors
came to be termed the Koch primary. The organization at the center the activity
is the Koch-linked Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce. A key event was its winter meeting in Palm Springs, Calif.
in late Jan. 2015. On Jan.
25, Sens. Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio participated an
invitation-only "American Recovery Policy Forum" moderated by ABC News'
Jonathan Karl. Gov. Scott Walker also also attended the meeting,
and according to the New York Times,
former Gov. Jeb Bush was invited but could not make it due to a
scheduling conflict. The Koch primary is not unique; in April
2014 the media reported on the Sheldon primary or the Sheldon Adelson
primary, when a number of Republican presidential prospects trekked to
Las Vegas for the annual meeting of the Republican Jewish
Coalition. On the Democratic side, progressives have the
[Jan. 31, 2015]
Freedom Partners, headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, is a
nonprofit, nonpartisan, 501(c)(6) chamber of commerce that promotes the
benefits of free markets and a free society
Freedom Partners was first established as the Association for
American Innovation in November 2011, and was later renamed to better
reflect the organization’s mission. We have over 200 members and work
with businesses, both large and small, to promote and preserve the
foundations of a free society.
Freedom Partners’ principal goal is to educate the public about the
critical role played by free markets in achieving economic prosperity,
societal well-being, and personal happiness. We seek to build
for a fiscally responsible government, and policies that support
entrepreneurship, spur job creation, and increase opportunities for
all. We focus primarily on four issue areas: health care reform,
federal spending, energy policy, and cronyism.
Freedom Partners believes that the bedrock of the American republic
is the ingenuity of its entrepreneurs and innovators. The free market
is the lifeblood of innovation and a conduit for the infinite potential
of human aspiration. We face a critical juncture in American history,
as an increasingly cumbersome government bureaucracy erodes the
freedoms that support a prosperous society. Only by getting the
government out of the way will individuals be able to build a free and
We cannot do this alone. Partnerships are crucial. Therefore,
Freedom Partners awards grants to organizations to conduct nonpartisan
issue advocacy and bring these important societal and economic issues
to the public’s attention. These relationships give Freedom Partners an
opportunity to reach across the country to build coalitions that
advance our mission.
ed. note: On of the most persistent
critics of the Koch brothers is Sen. Bernie Sanders...
Marc Short is President of Freedom Partners. Previously, Marc served
as chief of staff for the House Republican Conference, chaired by
Congressman Mike Pence (R-IN) and for Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison
(R-TX). In his early career, Marc was the executive director of
Reagan Ranch, where he completed the initial multi-million dollar
capital campaign to preserve the historic property and served as the
executive director of Freedom Alliance from 1995-1998. He was
director of the Virginia Finance Committee for the Oliver North for
U.S. Senate campaign.
Marc graduated from Washington and Lee University in 1992. In 2004,
he received his master’s degree from the Darden Graduate School of
Business Administration at the University of Virginia. He lives in
Arlington with his wife and their three children.
Mark Holden is senior vice president and general counsel of Koch
Industries, Inc. and serves as corporate secretary. He also is
president and COO of the Legal Division of Koch Companies Public
Sector, LLC, which provides legal, and government and public affairs
services to Koch Industries, Inc. and its affiliates.
Before joining Koch in 1995, Mr. Holden was an associate with Akin,
Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld in Washington, D.C.
Mr. Holden earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the
University of Massachusetts. He earned his law degree from the Columbus
School of Law at the Catholic University of America, where he was an
associate editor of the Catholic University Law Review.
Wayne Gable is a business owner, economist, and management
professional with more than 20 years of executive level management,
economic policy analysis, legislative advocacy and nonprofit operations.
Wayne previously served as a managing director of international
government affairs at Koch Industries, Inc., where he conducted country
risk analysis and intergovernmental relations for Koch Industries’
business development department. Today Wayne owns and operates several
franchises of America’s Swimming Pool Company, the nation’s largest
swimming pool maintenance and repair company.
In his early career, Wayne managed multiple DC-based non-profits,
serving as the CEO of the Tax Foundation through 1991 and later as
board chairman. Wayne graduated with a bachelor’s in economics from
Auburn University and received his Ph.D. in economics from George Mason
University in 1987.
Kevin Gentry serves as vice president for special projects –
development, at Koch Companies Public Sector, LLC. Kevin also works to
build the fundraising and marketing capabilities for organizations that
are dedicated to advancing a free society.
Previously, Kevin served as vice president of the Institute for
Humane Studies and the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, and
prior to that he served as executive vice president of the Leadership
Kevin and his wife, Anne, are both graduates of the College of
William and Mary, and they live in Virginia with their two children.
They are also active members of The Falls Church Anglican, where Kevin
has served on the vestry and presently serves as stewardship chairman.
Nestor Weigand, Jr. joined the firm of J.P. Weigand & Sons, Inc.
in 1961 and has been deeply involved in the company ever since. He
served as president from 1983 through 2001 and is now the chairman of
the board & CEO. Nestor brings 53 years of real estate experience
in residential, commercial, industrial, investment and counseling.
Since 1978, he has served as a director of the National Association of
Nestor was past chairman of the Board of the Institute of Logopedics
(renamed Heartspring), and has also served on the boards of the Kansas
Health Foundation, Kansas Highway Commission, Wichita Area Chamber of
Commerce, and Wichita Symphony Society.
Presently, he is chairman of the board of Wesley Medical Center and
a member of the Board of Directors of Regal Entertainment,
headquartered in Knoxville, TN. Nestor graduated from St. Thomas
Academy in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1956 and he received his BBA in
Finance from the University of Notre Dame in 1960.
PRESS RELEASE from Sen. Bernie Sanders
The Koch Brothers Primary
BURLINGTON, Vt., Jan. 24 – Potential Republican presidential candidates
are hobnobbing this weekend with politically potent billionaires at an
invitation-only gathering in Palm Springs, California, that U.S. Sen.
Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and others have called “the Koch brothers
Four Republican hopefuls – looking to line up benefactors to bankroll
their campaigns – are participating in mostly closed-door meetings of
millionaires and billionaires assembled by Charles and David Koch, the
industrial tycoons who control the second largest family fortune in the
“Americans used to think Iowa and New Hampshire held the first caucus
and primary in the nation every four years. Not anymore. Now the ‘Koch
brothers primary’ goes first to determine who wins the blessing and
financial backing of the billionaire class. This is truly sad and shows
us how far Citizens United has gone to undermine American democracy.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Rand
Paul (R-Ky.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) are all speaking at the winter
meeting of the so-called Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce.
To end the ability of billionaires to buy elections, Sanders on
Wednesday introduced a constitutional amendment that would undo the
2010 Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election
Commission. That narrow 5-4 decision and subsequent court cases struck
down decades-old laws that had limited how much money wealthy
individuals and corporations may contribute to campaigns.
Vermont and 15 other states along with voters and city councils in more
than 600 cities and towns already have passed measures supporting a
constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. “People across
the political spectrum are demanding that billionaires not be able to
buy American democracy,” Sanders said.
The influence of money in politics was on vivid display this week in
the Senate, where Republicans promoting the interests of a giant
international oil conglomerate blocked Sanders’ proposal to put
Congress on record acknowledging the scientific consensus that burning
fossil fuels causes global warming. “The issue was whether we listen to
the scientists or listen to the powerful fossil fuel industry.
Sadly, the Republicans sided with the special interests and campaign
contributors who promote the myth that climate change is not caused by
carbon emissions,” Sanders said.
Contact: Michael Briggs (202) 224-5141