WICHITA, KS—Chuckling and shaking their heads as they described their annual family gift exchange to reporters, Koch Industries executives Charles and David Koch confirmed Wednesday they had unwittingly gotten each other the same election for Christmas this year.
The two brothers and energy industry magnates, who for decades have gathered to share a holiday meal and open presents next to the Christmas tree in Charles’ Wichita home, admitted they were a bit embarrassed to learn they had each given the other U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin’s congressional seat, but said they ultimately shrugged off the coincidence.
“Now that I think about it, I can’t believe this has never happened before. It was probably bound to sooner or later. I guess we just know each other too well!”
“When we realized we both bought New York’s 1st District, we just looked at each other and laughed,” said Charles Koch, who acknowledged that he and David have pretty similar tastes. “Now that I think about it, I can’t believe this has never happened before. It was probably bound to sooner or later. I guess we just know each other too well!”
“At least it’s something we can enjoy using together,” he added.
David Koch explained that he had hoped the present would be a special surprise for Charles, noting that he had taken care to be discreet by telling his brother he was “just heading out to another fundraiser at Lincoln Center” when he was in fact on his way to go purchase the outcome of the election in the eastern Long Island congressional district. In addition, he was reportedly careful not to take any calls from the Zeldin 2016 campaign team while he and Charles were out together at dinner, the ballet, or Cato Institute symposiums.
“A few months ago, we were watching the news, and when one of the pundits on TV mentioned Zeldin’s reelection bid, Charles’ whole face just lit up,” said David Koch, who later admitted he had purchased the district partly because he knew he would want to borrow it for himself from time to time. “Well, it seems like my brother and I both had the same idea about limiting the petroleum industry’s liability for toxic spills and ensuring taxpayers shoulder the majority of cleanup costs. That’s just so us, you know?”
“After he got me Wisconsin’s right-to-work bill last year, I knew I had to get him something really good this Christmas,” David added.
The brothers said they were relieved to have spent the same amount on their gifts, having both made the maximum $2,700 in direct donations to the incumbent representative’s campaign and, through their super PAC Freedom Partners Action Fund, earmarked $2 million to pay for attack ads and mailers to smear Zeldin’s challenger in the key swing district.
“We went in together on Scott Walker a few months back, which was a real letdown, so I wanted to get David something he could really get some use out of,” said Charles Koch, recalling how disappointed his brother had been when the former presidential candidate had stopped working. “We were so excited when we first got Walker, but he turned out to be defective. It would have cost way too much to fix him.”
According to reports, the brothers agreed they would avoid making the same mistake next Christmas by simply giving each other a $25 million gift card that could be spent at any lobbying firm in the United States.