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The Koch network and other Trump allies are quietly backing his biggest GOP critic: Rep. Liz Cheney


Republican Rep. Liz Cheney has amassed a bunch of political consultants with ties to former President Donald Trump and the expansive Koch network as she mulls a run for the White House after losing within the GOP primary for her Wyoming House seat.

Cheney’s role as vice chair of the committee investigating Trump’s actions within the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol has cost the third-highest rating Republican within the U.S. House her standing within the GOP and her seat in Congress. She lost the Republican nomination in a landslide race last week to certainly one of Trump’s picks, Wyoming lawyer Harriet Hageman.

Cheney’s now considering running against Trump for president in 2024, she told NBC News, and has quietly put together a team of top GOP advisors to assist her ensure he doesn’t ever get back within the White House.

“I think that Donald Trump continues to pose a really grave threat and risk to our republic. And I believe that defeating him goes to require a broad and united front of Republicans, Democrats and independents, and that is what I intend to be a component of,” she said in an exclusive interview with Savannah Guthrie on NBC’s “TODAY” show last week.

Immediately after her loss, she launched a leadership political motion committee titled The Great Task which can allow her to maintain her political aspirations alive while taking over the previous president. Trump, whose home and personal club Mar-a-Lago in Florida was raided by the FBI just days before the first, has not ruled out running for president again in two years.

Cheney is using a few of Trump’s own consultants and allies, including those from the powerful Koch network, to try to maintain the previous president from winning a second term within the White House. A few of them appear to have used limited liability firms that shroud their identity from the general public.

“These individuals are going to be persona non grata after the Cheney loss,” a senior GOP strategist near Trump said when asked if the president and his associates will work with the previous Cheney advisors again. Jeff Miller, a longtime lobbyist and ally of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., has told vendors to not work with Cheney’s team, in keeping with The Recent York Times.

Miller and a spokesman for Trump didn’t return a request for comment. A spokesman for Cheney didn’t return a request for comment.

Billionaire and conservative political backer Charles Koch helps Cheney through i360, an information and technology company owned by his conglomerate, Koch Industries, in keeping with financial database PitchBook and Federal Election Commission filings.

The filing shows two PACs, Conservatives for a Strong America and Wyomingites Defending Freedom and Democracy, paid i360 to assist deploy pro-Cheney ads through text messages. Axios reported that the leader of Wyomingites Defending Freedom and Democracy is former Trump White House aide Julia Griswold Dailer, who didn’t return a request for comment.

A nonprofit partially funded by Charles Koch, Americans for Prosperity, paid $11 million to i360 for data services, in keeping with the nonprofit’s 2020 tax disclosure.

While Koch didn’t back Trump during either his 2016 or 2020 campaigns, his political network worked with the Trump administration to support a number of the former president’s key initiatives, including cutting regulations for businesses and extensive tax cuts.

Americans for Prosperity recently ran an ad campaign targeting Democratic lawmakers, including moderate Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., to oppose the greater than $400 billion Inflation Reduction Act, which President Joe Biden signed into law this month.

FEC records show that i360 also has worked this election cycle with Dr. Mehmet Oz, who Trump endorsed for Pennsylvania’s open Senate seat, in addition to Rep. Peter Meijer, R-Mich., who voted to question the previous president and lost in his recent primary.

Representatives for the pro-Cheney PACs, Koch Industries, i360 and Americans for Prosperity didn’t return requests for comment.

Trump and the Koch family haven’t at all times been close, even after the previous president adopted long-sought tax cuts and the nomination of various conservative-leaning Supreme Court Justices. Trump ripped the Kochs in 2018, saying in a tweet that they seem to be a “total joke in real Republican circles, are against Strong Borders and Powerful Trade.” The Koch network didn’t help Trump in what could be his failed 2020 bid for reelection versus Biden.

People near Trump told CNBC that the previous president and people aligned with him could move to halt future work with those that were employed by Cheney’s team.

FEC filings show that certainly one of the Cheney campaign’s top vendors within the 2022 election cycle was an organization called Red Right Media. That company was paid greater than $1 million for promoting and media services by Cheney’s campaign during her 2022 primary run, including greater than $300,000 in July, in keeping with FEC disclosures.

Though it doesn’t appear to have a public website, Virginia business records say that Red Right Media is a an alternate name for an organization called X/Roads Communications. In accordance with state business records, X/Roads Communications is run by Mike Dubke, a veteran Republican strategist who once worked in Trump’s White House as communications director. Dubke was a managing partner of X/Roads Communications before taking over the role with Trump in 2017, in keeping with financial disclosures filed while leading the White House communications team.

Dubke resigned from the White House communications post in 2017 after lower than 100 days on the job. Since then, Red Right Media has been getting paid thousands and thousands of dollars by Republican groups for consulting work, in keeping with data from the nonpartisan campaign finance watchdog OpenSecrets. Records show that a brilliant PAC called DefendArizona paid greater than $4 million for Red Right Media’s services.

The super PAC supported Martha McSally when she ran a failed campaign against Sinema in the course of the 2018 election. DefendArizona was funded partly by Citadel CEO Ken Griffin and the Senate Leadership Fund, a brilliant PAC aligned with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

Black Rock Group, a media consulting firm Dubke co-founded that is not affiliated with investment firm BlackRock, was previously paid greater than $100,000 by Cheney’s campaign in 2018. Dubke and Black Rock Group didn’t return requests for comment.

Other past Trump consultants that worked with Cheney during her primary run and who previously aided Trump include SCM Associates, a fundraising and unsolicited mail consulting group based out of Recent Hampshire. The Cheney campaign paid greater than $600,000 for SCM’s help with unsolicited mail promoting. The Trump campaign paid SCM greater than $8 million in the course of the 2020 election cycle, in keeping with campaign finance data.

TAG Strategies, a political marketing firm that worked for Trump within the 2020 campaign and a number of other of his endorsed candidates within the midterms, was paid almost $380,000 by Cheney’s campaign for digital and marketing services, including over $100,000 in May, in keeping with FEC records. Trump’s campaign paid TAG Strategies greater than $200,000 in the course of the 2020 election cycle.

Erin Perrine, a vice chairman at TAG who also worked communications for Trump’s reelection bid, told CNBC in an email that the firm’s work for Cheney was a “one-off service at one point in the course of the primary.” She said that “TAG is a Republican firm and we do work for America First, Conservative, and center-right candidates.”

SCM didn’t return a request for comment.

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