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EDITORIAL: Money in politics

For years, Democrats have obsessed over the Koch brothers and their political donations. Merely mentioning the names of the two billionaires, who made their money in chemicals and other endeavors, may trigger panic attacks and even seizures in susceptible progressives.

“The Koch brothers are a symbol of a greater problem of the power of money in politics,” huffed the folks at OurFuture.Org, a leftist website. “In particular, the ability of some uber-rich people and large corporations to put their massive thumbs on the scale of democracy in ways that manipulate and ultimately overwhelm the will of the people.”

Who knew that advocating for the cherished American principles of individual liberty and free enterprise, which form the foundation of the libertarian outlook espoused by the Koch brothers, represented such a threat to the republic?

Listening to the overheated rhetoric from OurFuture.Org and company, one would think that big political donors are a uniquely Republican phenomenon. But that would be false.

Tom Steyer, a private equity 1 percenter, has thrown millions at the political process to pressure Democrats to support his environmental views. And then there’s George Soros, the wealthy Democratic patron who supports a host of liberal causes. The Washington Free Beacon reported this week that Mr. Soros, through his various foundations, spent as much on lobbying during the first six months of this year as he did in all of 2016.

Unlike the Koch brothers, however, Mr. Steyer and Mr. Soros are relatively unknown. Why would that be?

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that individuals have a First Amendment right to spend their own money in pursuit of their own political ends. This is still a free country, after all. But the next time you hear someone wringing his hands over the “evil” Koch brothers and their political activity, it’s worth remembering that Democratic concerns over money in politics never seem to extend to their own wealthy benefactors.

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