How Sean Noble moved the Kochs' cash into politics and made millions
by Kim Barker and Theodoric Meyer, PROPUBLICA
For a brief, giddy moment, Sean Noble—a little-known former aide to an Arizona congressman—became one of the most important people in American politics.
Plucked from obscurity by libertarian billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, Noble was tasked with distributing a torrent of political money raised by the Koch network, a complex web of nonprofits nicknamed the Kochtopus, into conservative causes in the 2010 and 2012 elections.
Noble handed out almost $137 million in 2012 alone -- all of it so-called dark money from unnamed donors -- from his perch atop the Center to Protect Patient Rights, a group run out of an Arizona post office box.
Much of it was channeled to obvious destinations: Groups supporting Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, for example.
...With Noble as ringmaster, Koch money also poured into efforts that didn’t surface until long after Election Day: To a political committee backing Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker against a recall attempt; to a group blaming President Obama for high gas prices; even to a legal challenge to Arizona’s redistricting plan.
“I must tell you that Sean Noble from your group has been immensely helpful in our efforts,” a California multimillionaire wrote to Charles Koch in October 2012, asking Koch to give several million to support an anti-union initiative in the state. “Thanks for any consideration.” [MORE]
Interactive Feature: How Dark Money Flows Through the Koch Network