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Kochs Reward Laxalt with Another $1.5 Million for Pushing their Special Interest Agenda

Today, the Koch network’s Freedom Partners Action Fund announced another $1.5 million ad campaign to support Republican Adam Laxalt’s gubernatorial bid. This comes on top of a previous million-dollar ad buy from Freedom Partners last fall — their first of the 2018 cycle — and an additional “across the board” investment for Laxalt by another Koch super-PAC, Americans for Prosperity (AFP). On Monday, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that Laxalt secretly added Nevada to a California lawsuit last year in support of allowing AFP to hide the identities of their top donors.

The Koch network has been guiding Laxalt’s gubernatorial campaign all along. He spent a late January weekend at a “restful sanctuary” in California courting 550 of his closest pals from the Koch network of conservative mega-donors to secure unprecedented piles of cash for his gubernatorial bid. In return for his loyalty to the Koch agenda, the special interest network named him a “rising star” at the retreat.

Nevada State Democratic Party spokeswoman Helen Kalla released the following statement:

“It’s no surprise that the Koch network is pouring millions into electing their hometown hero, Adam Laxalt. Laxalt is a willing puppet of the right-wing dark money machine, eager to fight their legal battles for them and push their extreme agenda onto Nevadans. Now the Kochs are rewarding him with yet another seven figure investment so he can continue doing their dirty work. Nevadans want a governor who will put their priorities first, not those of wealthy special interests backed by secret corporate donors.”

See how Laxalt’s platform on the key issues of education and health care is right out of the Koch playbook:

  1. Laxalt and the Kochs both want to repeal Gov. Sandoval’s legacy education investment that provides hundreds of millions of dollars biannually to Nevada public schools. Laxalt has campaigned on repealing the bipartisan school funding mechanism and offered no plan to replace it, putting him at odds with both his running mate and the current Republican governor. Meanwhile, the Koch network has opposed the education investment from the beginning and even “[took] the lead” on gathering signatures for two separate referendum efforts to repeal the school funding.
  2. The Kochs are spending six figures to push vouchers in Nevada, one of Laxalt’s top education priorities. Laxalt is “committed” to implementing Education Savings Accounts, a voucher system that uses tax dollars meant for public schools for expensive private school tuition. This election cycle, the Koch network is spending six figures to sell the program to Nevada voters.
  3. The Kochs support Trump’s efforts to sabotage the Affordable Care Act, including denying coverage for pre-existing conditions, while Laxalt has been silent in the face of attacks on Nevadans’ health care. The Kochs backed a proposed rule change to allow short-term insurance plans that would reject people with pre-existing conditions, something Nevada’s health insurance exchange director is “deeply concerned” about. Meanwhile, Laxalt has taken zero actions as attorney general to stop Trump’s sabotage of our health care system.
  4. The Kochs praised the Trump administration for ending cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments to keep health insurance affordable, and Laxalt snubbed a state request to sue over keeping them in place. The state’s health insurance exchange asked Laxalt to join a lawsuit aimed at protecting state insurance markets from attempted sabotage by the Trump administration, but Laxalt ignored the request.  
  5. Laxalt and the Koch network both opposed Gov. Sandoval’s move to expand Medicaid in Nevada. In February, Laxalt admitted he would have turned away billions in free federal dollars to cover hundreds of thousands of Nevadans. The Koch network “voraciously opposed” Medicaid expansion and called Sandoval’s decision to expand it “flatly wrong.” The Koch network also sees Medicaid as an easy program to cut to get voters on board with slashing Social Security and Medicare.