The famously conservative Koch brothers, Charles and David, were among those libertarian-minded conservatives who sat out the 2016 presidential election out of distaste for Donald Trump.
They’ve since bristled at his policies on trade and immigration, as they prefer freer trade and looser borders.
But the brothers’ fortune comes from their Wichita, Kansas, industrial conglomerate, which does a lot of business with the government. And among major spenders on lobbying, their firm, it turns out, boosted its outlays the most this year.
Koch Cos. Public Sector was the eighth-highest spender on lobbying during the first quarter of 2019, spending $4.6 million.
But as a percentage of spending in first quarters of the past five years, the Kochs led the way, spending 27.6 percent of their five-year total this year.
By contrast, the biggest overall spender, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, actually spent a bit less than it typically does on lobbying in the first quarter. Its tally was 19.8 percent of its five-year total.
Two other firms spending much more than they have in years past were Northrop Grumman and United Technologies, both major defense contractors heavily reliant on government contracts.
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the trade group for the drug industry, also is spending more, surely the result of pressure from Trump and Congress to lower prices for medicine.
From the archives: ‘Roll Call’s not printed by the Koch brothers’ — Congressional Hits and Misses