“The 1980 campaign was instructive in helping them learn what ideas resonated,” said Robert A. Tappan, a Koch Industries spokesman, “and at the same time, giving them an understanding of the implications of the electoral political process.”It also taught them that money is everything, and that a completely unfettered campaign spending environment was what they needed.
“The development of a well-financed cadre of sound proponents of the free enterprise philosophy is the most critical need facing us today,” he said, according to a copy of his speech in a Libertarian Party archive at the University of Virginia, one of thousands of documents reviewed by The New York Times for this article. […]Ultimately, the Libertarian Party ticket tanked, getting barely 1 percent of the vote, a far cry from the 3 percent that Koch said would constitute a "moral victory." And that taught the Kochs another important political lesson: if they really wanted to succeed, they couldn't do it with a third party. So they bought themselves the GOP. The success of that project definitely remains in question, but it won't be for a lack of money.
But a Clark presidential campaign needed money and a running mate. The Kochs could provide both. If one of the brothers joined the ticket, he could—thanks to the Buckley loophole—donate as much as he wanted to the campaign, finally giving the ticket enough cash to run ads and seek a ballot spot in all 50 states. David Koch announced his candidacy in August 1979.
The post-Watergate campaign finance law “makes my blood boil,” Mr. Koch wrote in a letter to party members. He had a simple proposal: “As the Vice-presidential nominee of the Libertarian Party I will contribute several hundred thousand dollars to the Presidential campaign committee in order to ensure that our ideas and our Presidential nominee receive as much media exposure as possible.”