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Charles Koch complains that he doesn’t have enough political power

Charles Koch.
Charles Koch.
Patrick T. Fallon for The Washington Post via Getty Images
Andrew Prokop is a senior politics correspondent at Vox, covering the White House, elections, and political scandals and investigations. He’s worked at Vox since the site’s launch in 2014, and before that, he worked as a research assistant at the New Yorker’s Washington, DC, bureau.

Do you feel the American political system doesn't do a good job representing your views? Well, you're not alone. Billionaire Charles Koch — the sixth-richest person in the world, who's helped steer hundreds of millions of dollars from his political network to conservative causes — recently complained that he doesn't have enough influence on the political process.

Koch made the comments during a lunch with the Financial Times's Stephen Foley, and explained that despite his best efforts to get the Republican candidates to support his policies, he's ended up "disappointed," because he'll have to support a candidate he doesn't agree with on every issue.

Despite his best efforts to lay out a very specific agenda that he wanted all the candidates to embrace, Koch continued, they stubbornly refused to follow his lead. His efforts didn't "seem to faze them much," Koch told Foley. "You'd think we could have more influence."

This is a pretty common complaint among the superrich. When billionaire financier Ken Griffin was asked in 2012 whether the "ultrawealthy" had "an inordinate or inappropriate amount of influence on the political process," Griffin responded by saying, "I think they actually have an insufficient influence." And hedge funder Cliff Asness complained in 2009 that "hedge funds really need a community organizer." (Both Griffin and Asness have helped fund the Koch political network.)

Though many may have little sympathy for these billionaires, Koch is correct that none of the leading candidates shares his exact set of issue views. Elsewhere in his interview with Foley, Koch asserts that military intervention abroad doesn't make us safer and that Donald Trump's idea of registering Muslims would "destroy our free society." He's also supported criminal justice reform, which the Republican field is split on. Maybe another hundred million dollars or so would do the trick.

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