The donor network created by the billionaire industrialist brothers Charles G. and David H. Koch is preparing to get involved in the presidential primaries in 2024, with the aim of turning “the page on the past” in a thinly veiled rebuke of former President Donald J. Trump, according to an internal memo.
Americans for Prosperity’s super PAC spent nearly $80 million during the 2022 midterm elections, but that is likely just a fraction of the network’s overall spending, much of which was undertaken by nonprofit groups that will not be required to reveal their finances until this fall.
The network, which consists of an array of political and advocacy groups backed by hundreds of ultrawealthy conservatives, has been among the most influential forces in American politics over the past 15 years, spending nearly $500 million supporting Republican candidates and conservative policies in the 2020 election cycle alone. But it has never before supported candidates in presidential primaries.
One of the lessons learned from primary campaigns in the 2022 midterm election cycle, the memo says, in boldface, “is that the loudest voice in each political party sets the tone for the entire election. In a presidential year, that’s the presidential candidate.”
The potential move against Mr. Trump could motivate donors to line up behind another prospective candidate. Thus far, only the former president has entered the race.
The memo is set to go out to the affiliated activists and donors after a weekend conference in Palm Springs, Calif., where the network’s leaders laid out their goals for the next presidential election cycle. At various sessions, they made clear they planned to get involved in primaries for various offices, and early.
“The Republican Party is nominating bad candidates who are advocating for things that go against core American principles,” the memo declares. “And the American people are rejecting them.” It asserts that Democrats are responding with “policies that also go against our core American principles.”
The memo’s author is Emily Seidel, chief executive of the lead nonprofit group in the network, Americans for Prosperity, and an adviser to an affiliated super PAC. But the principles sketched out in the memo are expected to apply to some other groups in the network, which is now known as “Stand Together.”
Though the memo did not mention Mr. Trump’s name, leaving open the possibility that the network could fall in behind him if he won the Republican nomination, its references to a “new chapter” and leaving the past behind were unmistakable.