The Koch Network and other Trump allies tacitly support his biggest GOP critic: Rep. Liz Cheney | Panda Anku

Republican Rep. Liz Cheney has assembled a group of political advisers with ties to former President Donald Trump and the sprawling Koch network as she ponders a run for the White House after losing the GOP primary for her Wyoming House seat would have.

Cheney’s role as vice chair of the committee investigating Trump’s actions in the January 6 attack on the US Capitol has cost the third-highest ranking Republican in the US House of Representatives her standing in the GOP and her seat in Congress. She lost the Republican nomination last week in a landslide race to one of Trump’s picks, Wyoming Attorney Harriet Hageman.

Cheney is now considering running against Trump for president in 2024, she told NBC News, and has quietly assembled a team of top GOP advisors to help her ensure he never returns to the White House.

“I believe that Donald Trump continues to pose a very serious threat and danger to our republic. And I think it will take a broad and united front of Republicans, Democrats and independents to defeat him, and I want to be a part of that,” she said in an exclusive interview with Savannah Guthrie on the NBC show last week, ” TODAY”.

Immediately after her loss, she formed a political leadership action committee titled The Great Task, which will allow her to keep her political ambitions alive while she takes on the former President. Trump, whose home club Mar-a-Lago in Florida was raided by the FBI just days before the primary, has not ruled out running for president again in two years.

Cheney is using some of Trump’s own advisers and allies, including those from the powerful Koch network, to try to stop the former president from winning a second term in the White House. Some of them appear to have used limited liability companies that conceal their identities from the public.

“These people will be persona non grata after Cheney’s loss,” said a senior GOP strategist close to Trump when asked if the president and his staff would work with the former Cheney advisers again. According to the New York Times, Jeff Miller, a longtime lobbyist and ally of House minority leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., has told the sellers not to work with Cheney’s team.

Miller and a Trump spokesman did not respond to a request for comment. A spokesman for Cheney did not respond to a request for comment.

Billionaire conservative political backer Charles Koch is helping Cheney through i360, a data and technology company owned by his conglomerate Koch Industries, according to financial database PitchBook and Federal Election Commission filings.

The filing shows that two PACs, Conservatives for a Strong America and Wyomingite’s Defending Freedom and Democracy, paid i360 to help deliver pro-Cheney ads via text messages. Axios reported that the leader of Wyomingite’s Defending Freedom and Democracy is former Trump White House adviser Julia Griswold Dailer, who did not respond to a request for comment.

A nonprofit partially funded by Charles Koch, Americans for Prosperity, paid $11 million for data services to i360, according to the nonprofit’s 2020 tax return.

While Koch did not endorse Trump during either his 2016 or 2020 campaigns, his political network worked with the Trump administration to support some of the former president’s key initiatives, including cutting regulations on businesses and sweeping tax cuts.

Americans for Prosperity recently ran an ad campaign targeting Democratic lawmakers, including moderate Sens. Joe Manchin, DW.Va., and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., to speak out against the more than $400 billion anti-inflation bill that President Joe Biden signed into law this month.

FEC records show i360 also with Dr. Mehmet Oz, whom Trump backed for the Pennsylvania open Senate seat, as well as Rep. Peter Meijer, R-Mich., who voted to impeach the former president and lost in his recent elementary school.

Representatives from the pro-Cheney PACs, Koch Industries, i360 and Americans for Prosperity did not respond to requests for comment.

Trump and the Koch family weren’t always close, even after the former president passed long-awaited tax cuts and the nomination of scores of conservative-minded Supreme Court justices. Trump tore up the Kochs in 2018, saying in a tweet that they are a “total joke in real Republican circles, opposed to strong borders and powerful trade.” The Koch network did not help Trump in his failed run for re-election in 2020 against Biden.

People close to Trump told CNBC that the former president and those associated with him may stop working with Cheney’s team members in the future.

FEC filings show that one of the top contributors to the Cheney campaign in the 2022 election cycle was a company called Red Right Media. That company received more than $1 million in advertising and media services from Cheney’s campaign during its first run in 2022, including more than $300,000 in July, according to FEC disclosures, according to FEC disclosures.

Although it does not appear to have a public website, Virginia business records say that Red Right Media is an alternate name for a company called X/Roads Communications. According to state business records, X/Roads Communications is headed by Mike Dubke, a veteran Republican strategist who once worked in the Trump White House as communications director. Dubke was a managing partner of X/Roads Communications before taking on the role at Trump in 2017, according to financial statements filed while heading the White House communications team.

Dubke resigned from the White House communications post in 2017 after less than 100 days in office. Since then, Red Right Media has received millions of dollars from Republican groups for advisory work, according to data from nonpartisan campaign finance watchdog OpenSecrets. Records show that a super PAC named DefendArizona paid more than $4 million for Red Right Media’s services.

The Super PAC supported Martha McSally as she ran a failed campaign against Sinema during the 2018 election. DefendArizona was funded in part by Citadel CEO Ken Griffin and the Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC working with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

Black Rock Group, a media consultancy Dubke co-founded and not affiliated with investment firm BlackRock, previously received more than $100,000 from Cheney’s 2018 campaign. Dubke and Black Rock Group did not respond to requests for comment.

Other previous Trump advisors who worked with Cheney during her first run and who have previously supported Trump include SCM Associates, a fundraising and direct mail advisory group based in New Hampshire. The Cheney campaign paid more than $600,000 for SCM’s direct mail help. According to campaign finance data, the Trump campaign paid SCM more than $8 million during the 2020 election cycle.

TAG Strategies, a political marketing firm that worked for Trump and several of his recommended midterm candidates during the 2020 campaign, received nearly $380,000 from Cheney’s campaign for digital and marketing services, including over $100,000 in May, according to FEC records . Trump’s campaign raised more than $200,000 for TAG Strategies during the 2020 election cycle.

Erin Perrine, TAG’s vice president who also oversaw communications for Trump’s reelection bid, told CNBC in an email that the firm’s work for Cheney was a “one-time service at a point during the primary.” She said, “TAG is a Republican company and we work for America First, conservative and center-right candidates.”

SCM has not returned a request for comment.


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