Koch Industries, Kansas Chamber of Commerce trying to knock off moderate Republicans

? The Kansas Chamber of Commerce, fueled by a six-figure contribution from Koch Industries, has funneled more than $280,000 into the Republican Party primary, much of which has been spent to try to knock off moderate Republicans on Aug. 7.

The spending is detailed in the Chamber’s political action committee campaign finance report that was released Monday and covers the period from Jan. 1 through Thursday.

During those seven months, the Chamber PAC collected $228,475 in contributions to add to the $111,692 it already had on hand. Of the $340,157 in available funds, the PAC spent $281,600.

According to the report, almost all of that money was spent between June 21 and July 24.

On July 19, Wichita-based Koch Industries dropped $125,000 into the PAC.

The finance report reveals a full-speed-ahead strategy by the Chamber, endorsed by Gov. Sam Brownback, to defeat moderate Republicans in order get control of the state Senate.

From July 18-24, the Chamber PAC paid $130,000 to Victory Enterprises of Davenport, Iowa for radio and cable production.

Among those receiving assistance, according to the report, $21,628 was spent on Michael O’Donnell, who is challenging state Sen. Jean Schodorf, R-Wichita, and $18,470 on Joe Patton, who is challenging state Sen. Vicki Schmidt, R-Topeka.

During July 18-19, the Chamber PAC paid approximately $100,000 to Singularis Group, based in Shawnee Mission, for printing and postage of campaign material for a number of conservative GOP candidates.

For example, $8,942 in printing and postage was spent on Patton, and $8,272 was spent on Tom Arpke, a conservative Republican from Salina, in his fight against moderate Republican state Sen. Pete Brungardt.

Meanwhile, moderates Republicans received significant funding from what is called the Kansas Job PAC, which raised $181,000 and spent $156,035.

Of that money raised, $100,000 came from the Senate Republican Leadership Committee.

And $50,000 came from the Kansas National Education Association PAC.

Another $30,000 came from union PACs, including International Brotherhood of Teamsters and Carpenters District Council.

The PAC is helping state Sens. Tim Owens of Overland Park, Roger Reitz of Manhattan, and others who are facing conservative challengers. It is also helping moderate challengers to conservative senators, such as Miranda Allen of Kiowa, who is trying to unseat Sen. Steve Abrams of Arkansas City.