WASHINGTON — The political network overseen by billionaire Charles Koch took in nearly $147 million last year as it worked to help Republicans successfully retain their grip on the U.S. Senate and control of statehouses around the country, newly released tax returns show.
The tax filings by the Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, the group at the center of Koch’s political activity, show Freedom Partners doled out a little more than half of its 2016 haul to 13 groups largely aligned with the free-market ideas espoused by Charles Koch and his brother David Koch.
The Koch brothers oversee Koch Industries, a Kansas-based industrial conglomerate with interests in everything from oil pipelines and iPhone components to Brawny paper towels and Lycra gym wear, and they are among the country’s richest men and biggest players in Republican politics. The new information about their 2016 political spending comes as Koch Industries’ private-equity arm, moves to put up $650 million to help media company Meredith Corp. buy Time Inc., which publishes Time magazine.
Some media analysts question whether the Kochs’ conservative views will influence editorial content at Time or other titles owned by the company. Koch spokesman Steve Lombardo this week cast the deal as a “passive investment” that does…