Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 12, 2016

Joe Manchin: Koch Brothers ‘Not Breaking the Law’

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Joe Manchin III, D-W. Va., sounds like no fan of the top Senate Democrat’s attacks on the Koch brothers.

Asked by Fox News about the drumbeat of criticism of the billionaire businessmen and donors to conservative campaigns and causes from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., Manchin replied, “You don’t beat up people.”

“I mean, I don’t agree with their politics or philosophically, but you know they’re Americans, they’re doing — paying their taxes,” Manchin said.

“They’re not breaking the law. They’re providing jobs,” Manchin added. “Whether you like their politics or not. There’s people that don’t like the extreme Democrat politics or extreme Republican politics. We’ve got to start being Americans again.”

Of course, there’s no reason to expect Reid to listen to Manchin. The Nevadan continued blasting the Koch brothers opening the Senate Thursday morning.

“We’re not going to be intimidated by these Koch surrogates in the media or here in this chamber. We’ll continue to fight. We’ll do it even harder to protect Americans from the greedy grasp of these billionaire oil barons,” Reid said. “Senate Democrats will continue to pull the ladder from the Koch brothers’ fingers so every American family has a fair shot at climbing to the top.”

Manchin, a coal-state moderate Democrat, also repeated his familiar complaint about the current system in which lawmakers are constantly raising campaign cash to the detriment of the counterparts on the other side of the aisle.

“I’m in an environment right now, every day we’re expected to go out and raise money to be spent against our colleagues,” he said, while also attempting to work together during the week on Capitol Hill.

Manchin actually made his own fundraising effort in an email to supporters Thursday morning.

“I truly believe the best way forward for West Virginia and our country is for Democrats and Republicans to put aside our political parties and work together to do what’s best for all of us. If those are values you’re fighting for, too, click here to call on Congress to stop bickering and get to work,” Manchin said in the campaign funding pitch.

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