"While the Republican Party focuses on winning elections, the Kochs want to realign American politics, government and society around free enterprise philosophies that they hope to spread more broadly." They want to remake American society in their own image. Which, by the way, would be pretty fucking profitable for them. So it's really nothing for them to drop several hundreds of millions to do so.
But they're not just spending hundreds of millions to acquire elected officials—they're doing it to counter the spending of their "enemies," the big donors backing liberals. To do that effectively, according to what Politico's Ken Vogel is reporting, they have to track their activities. And those of their allies: "public sector unions and academic and media elites." The main focus appears to be the Democracy Alliance, a "a club of wealthy liberal donors and influential operatives" that has steered about $500 million to candidates and causes in the past 10 years. That would be in contrast to the $889 million the Kochs plan to aggregate and spend in 2016, alone.
Now, you might say, that's sort of fair because the Kochs have been a target of the left and there are real and well-funded efforts to expose their activities. On the other hand, there isn't a formal surveillance operation complete with a former CIA-operative on the job. It's a bunch of people looking at, you know, public records. Whereas the Koch surveillance team "tracks people deemed suspicious outside the offices of Koch network groups, circulating be-on-the-lookout photos to internal network email lists, while keeping an eye on the network's own ranks for possible leakers or disloyal employees."
Here's one thing the Kochs are inadvertently doing to actually help American democracy: They're really making the case for getting big money out of our politics.