$$$: Koch brothers network to spend big bucks in 2016. Freedom Partners, a group spearheaded by Charles and David Koch, has announced a budget of $889 million for the 2016 elections. By comparison, the group spent $299 million in 2014. Moreover, the new Koch budget is more than double the $400 million the Republican National Committee spent in 2012. The conservative brothers’ fortune is based on oil refineries, cattle, asphalt, and a number of consumer products, including Dixie Cups, reports USA Today ……. Virginia: McDonnell avoids prison for now. He was supposed to begin his two-year sentence for corruption on Feb. 9, but former Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) got a stay from the US Court of Appeals, which ruled Monday that he could remain free on bond until his appeal was heard. The court said McDonnell represented no threat to the public and his appeal raised “a substantial question of law or fact,” reports the Washington Post ……. Kentucky: Ron a problem for Rand? US Sen. Rand Paul (R), a likely presidential candidate, is likely to inherit the legions of youthful followers who helped his father, former US Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) make a strong showing in a number of straw polls and caucuses in 2012. But on the other side of the ledger, the younger Paul may be embarrassed by the older Paul, a political maverick who speaks his mind regardless. Ron’s latest pronouncement at a Houston conference on “breaking away from the central state:” “A lot of times people think secession, they paint it as an absolute negative,” then went on the compare leaving the union to the colonies breaking away from England, reports the Washington Post …….