Billionaire businessman Charles Koch announced Tuesday he has no immediate plans to back a candidate for the Republican Party's 2016 presidential nomination, USA Today reported. This year, the known GOP megadonor has reportedly donated $48 million to nonprofits but none to candidates vying for the White House.
“If they start saying things we think are beneficial overall and will change the trajectory of the country, then that would be good, but we have to believe also they’ll follow through on it, and by and large, candidates don’t do that,” Koch said, according to USA Today.
However, Koch said it’s likely he’ll help a Republican candidate in the general election.
Koch had said in April his well-heeled political network could enter the Republican primary for the first time, as they were deliberating whether to support one or more candidates from these five: former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. Now, however, it is unlikley he will back any candidate before the party picks a nominee for the general election.
— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) November 11, 2015
The billionaire also recognized the large policy and political network he helps oversee might exceed his fundraising expectations prior to the presidential and congressional elections. Recently, Koch said his donors might raise only $750 million, which was significantly less than an earlier estimate of $889 million over two years. Only a share of the two-year budget will go toward presidential and congressional races. A spokesman for Koch's umbrella organization said it is on track to hit the original target of $889 million.
“We are on pace to meet our fundraising goals," James Davis, a spokesman for the Koch network's umbrella organization, Freedom Partners, told the Hill Wednesday.
Prior to the 2014 midterm election, Koch donated $106 million to charities and $5 million to political ventures. He said it’s “not assured” he will repeat his $5 million donation for the 2016 election.
“I want to see whether somebody is going to make a difference,” Koch said in a USA Today interview.
Charles Koch and his brother David are the leaders of the most powerful network of conservative donors in American politics, according to the Hill.