Billionaire megadonor Charles Koch told reporters on Sunday that Republican candidates shouldn't take for granted the donations his political groups make to their campaigns. And Koch made it clear that he'll be watching closely to hold lawmakers accountable for their promises of fiscal responsibility.
What did he say?
Speaking during a donor retreat about the strategies employed to distribute roughly $400 million to support free market principals this election cycle, Koch said there would be a more calculated approach moving forward than in years past.
In a separate speech during the forum, Koch promised an audience, "We are going...to hold people responsible for their commitments."
He later told the media, "I regret some of the [lawmakers] we have supported...we're gonna more directly deal with that and hold people accountable."
Koch specifically expressed concern over the ongoing trade battles the U.S. has engaged in with other countries, saying that "if it's severe enough," President Trump's actions could cause a recession. He said that when it comes to trade, "we should just get rid of all barriers, except for things that will hurt people. We should let all goods in."
One of Koch's top aides, Brian Hooks, took aim at the fact that federal spending has continued to run rampant under GOP control. He said to donors, "Many of you watched in disgust as the most fiscally irresponsible budget in the history of our country was passed...under a Republican government. We supported the election of some of these guys."
And while his political network has traditionally supported Republicans because of their espoused beliefs in free market principles, Koch said he's not afraid to reach across the aisle to support candidates who truly adhere to the cause.
"I'm looking for policies that will move forward a society of mutual benefit, where everybody has the opportunity to realize their objectives, so I don't care what initials are in front or after somebody's name," he said. "I'd like there to be many more politicians who would embrace and have the courage to run on a platform like this."
He added, "I'm happy and our organization is happy to support anyone and we'd love there to be more Democrats that support these values and these issues."
Not everyone is happy with Koch's comments from over the weekend. Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon told Politico in response, "What [the Kochs] have to do is shut up and get with the program, OK? And here's the program: Ground game to support Trump's presidency and program, [and] victory on Nov. 6."
Bannon added, "Charles Koch is a good man, but 100 days before an election that will determine the direction of the country is not the time to tell us that you are prepared to work with Democrats that support parts of your progressive agenda.
"It's wrong, it's stupid and it shows contempt for the hardworking grassroots folks that delivered the victory that go your tax cut."