According to a report on Thursday by the Daily Caller, billionaire industrialist David Koch is set to contribute “tens of millions of dollars” to the presidential campaign of likely Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson.
Particularly, if the combination of the former New Mexico governor and former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld as vice-president “emerges from the [Libertarian] convention, a pathway is in place for significant funding from Koch, [Steve] Wynn and other large donors,” according to the source.
A Johnson campaign insider made the claim, but both the candidate and a Koch Companies spokesman denied its legitimacy, the latter stating that David is not “supporting any third-party presidential candidate.”
A more likely contributor to the Libertarian presidential campaign in 2016 is the billionaire hotel and casino magnate Steve Wynn, who is close to Bill Weld and which the Johnson campaigner confirmed will “be a very important supporter”.
In an interview with the Washington Post Friday, Johnson stated the following:
“To my knowledge, (a Koch contribution is) not happening. That’s not to say it isn’t, but it would be a surprise to me. We tried to talk to Kochs during the last cycle, and we couldn’t do it. There are a lot of people who are expressing interest . . . but I’m not naming names.”
David Koch was the Libertarian Party’s vice-presidential nominee in 1980 when the party ran its most successful presidential campaign in history, securing over one percent of the vote nationally with the help of a $2 million personal donation by Koch himself.
The younger Koch brother is also sits on the board of the Cato Institute, a Washington, D.C., based libertarian think-tank.
While an injection of cash by a billionaire donor would surely be welcomed to help compete with the two major party candidates in a general election campaign, Koch’s political tactics aren’t viewed favorably in some libertarian circles.
“Koch explicitly wants to run the movement like a corporation,” said paleolibertarian activist Murray Rothbard, an Austrian School economist who died in 1995.
Rothbard claimed that Koch’s presence in the 1980 presidential campaign led the party “sliding down the slippery slope to opportunism and sell out of libertarian principle.”
A Fox News poll released Wednesday shows 10 percent support for Gary Johnson’s candidacy nationally in a presumed three-way race with Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
[Daily Caller] [Washington Post] [Fox News]