Billionaire Koch network to unleash attack ads targeting senators who voted against Trump's spending cuts  

Key Points
  • Political network backed by Charles Koch is planning to release attack ads targeting seven senators for voting against President Trump's $15.4 billion spending cuts package.
  • The six-figure digital, radio and direct mail ad blitz from Americans for Prosperity will target five Democrats who are up for re-election in 2018 and two Republicans who are not.
Charles Koch
Patrick T. Fallon | The Washington Post | Getty Images

Starting over Fourth of July weekend, the political network funded by billionaire industrialist Charles Koch is planning to release attack ads targeting seven senators who voted against President Donald Trump's $15.4 billion spending cuts package

The six-figure digital, radio and direct mail ad blitz from Americans for Prosperity will focus its wrath on five vulnerable Democrats who are trying to maintain their seats in the midterms: Sens. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and Montana's Jon Tester.

The campaign will also admonish the two Republicans who voted against the proposal but are not up for re-election this year — Sens. Richard Burr or North Carolina and Susan Collins of Maine.

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Heitkamp, Donnelly and McCaskill are in races that are considered toss-ups by Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball, while Baldwin and Tester are in states marked as leaning Democrat.

The bill failed to pass through the Senate by 50 to 48.

“The failure to cut less than a half a cent from every federal dollar spent is indicative of a rampant overspending problem that unfortunately often has bipartisan support, Americans for Prosperity spokesman Bill Riggs said in a statement. “If these senators couldn’t even bring themselves to cut a sliver of unspent or expired funds, how can anyone expect them to take on our larger fiscal challenges?”

Americans for Prosperity will also be sending a letter to the leaders of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees demanding a freeze on federal spending in 2019 by keeping costs at 2018 levels.

“Freezing discretionary spending for FY2019 would be a down payment toward solving our larger spending problem,” the goup’s chief of government affairs, Brent Gardner, said in the letter. “To fix the rest of the budget, comprehensive reforms must be made to mandatory spending, including Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid — these programs are the biggest drivers of spending over the next 10 and well beyond."

It’s the latest move by the Koch network to go after lawmakers from both parties for not backing free market initiatives or to sometimes reward those who do.

On Monday, Freedom Partners, an organization that’s part of the Koch political network, launched a six-figure television and radio ad campaign that rages against the import tariffs being implemented by Trump.

Earlier this month, Americans for Prosperity published digital ads thanking Heitkamp for co-sponsoring the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protect Act, which rolls back Dodd-Frank regulations mainly on community banks or those with less than $100 billion in assets.

The bill recently passed in Congress with bipartisan support.