IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Is Charles Koch Feeling the Bern?

Billionaire conservative activists Charles Koch poses this question in an opinion piece in the Washington Post Friday: "Is Charles Koch feeling the Bern?"
Image: Charles Koch
Charles Koch stands for a portrait after an interview with the Washington Post at the Freedom Partners Summit on Aug. 3, 2015. The Washington Post / The Washington Post/Getty Images

Billionaire conservative activist Charles Koch poses this question in an opinion piece in the Washington Post: "Is Charles Koch feeling the Bern?"

"Hardly," Koch writes, but he does point out one area where he does agree with the self-identified Democratic socialist: "A political and economic system that is often rigged to help the privileged few at the expense of everyone else."

Koch continues: "He believes that we have a two-tiered society that increasingly dooms millions of our fellow citizens to lives of poverty and hopelessness. He thinks many corporations seek and benefit from corporate welfare while ordinary citizens are denied opportunities and a level playing field."

On those points, Koch writes, "I agree with him."

At the Koch brothers' donor seminar in January, Charles Koch also talked about Sanders. He told a captive crowd of 500 attendees that "Bernie Sanders is so popular because a lot of what he says is true.”

Where they differ, of course, is how to address the problem. While Sanders supports expanding the government safety, Koch supports a free market with limited government interference and regulation.

"Whenever we allow government to pick winners and losers, we impede progress and move further away from a society of mutual benefit," Koch write. "That’s why Koch Industries opposes all forms of corporate welfare — even those that benefit us."

They also disagree on the role of money in politics. While Sanders wants to minimize the role of money in elections and is opposed to super PACs and other third-party groups that play in electoral politics, Koch is supportive of spending large sums of money to impact the outcome of elections. His network spent $400 million in the 2012 election and could spend as much this election cycle.

Related: Koch Brothers' Network Considering Anti-Trump Campaign