Previous Koch Conference attendees conservatives include former Attorney General Edwin Meese, Rush Limbaugh, Senator Jim DeMint and Senator John Cornyn et. al.
This morning it has been picked up by Politico.
This weekend, for the eighth straight year, the billionaire Koch brothers will convene a meeting of roughly 200 wealthy businessmen, Republican politicians and conservative activists for a semi-annual conference to raise millions of dollars for the institutions that form the intellectual foundation – and, increasingly, the leading political edge – of the conservative movement.
In the past, the meetings have drawn an A-list of participants – politicians like Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, leading free-market thinkers including American Enterprise Institute president Arthur Brooks, talkers Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck and even Supreme Court justices – to mingle with the wealthy donors who comprise the bulk of the invitees. The meetings adjourned after soliciting pledges of support from the donors – sometimes totaling as much as $50 million – to non-profit groups favored by the Kochs.
For the most part, the meetings, which are closed to the public and reporters, have attracted little attention outside conservative circles. But very different circumstances surround the Koch conference set to begin Saturday at an exclusive resort outside Palm Springs, Calif.
The Koch brothers – Charles and David – have come under intense scrutiny recently for their role in helping start and fund some of the deepest-pocketed groups involved in organizing the tea party movement such as Americans for Prosperity, and for steering cash towards efforts to target President Barack Obama, his healthcare overhaul, and congressional Democrats in the run-up to the 2010 election.
Liberal critics have launched a campaign to highlight what they say is the systematic way in which the Kochs use their political giving to advance a conservative economic and regulatory agenda designed to further the interests of their oil, chemical and manufacturing empire.
So, who is behind the protest of this conference? The usual LEFT organizations but let’s take a close look.
1. Common Cause – sponsoring organization of the Uncloak the Kochs – The Billionaires Causcus and its Threat to Our Democracy.
2. California Labor Federation
3. Courage Campaign
4. California Nurses Association
5. Code Pink
7. Sierra Club
There are others, but you get the point – The FAR LEFT and BIG LABOR.
What a shock.
And, Big Labor is helping organize the turnout and bus rides down to the Palm Springs area to protest on the streets. This is how they roll.
But, what is there to protest? Politics? Fundraising? Political Activism? Hobnobbing with the rich and famous?
While the Koch conferences have taken on an undeniably political edge – a June summit featured sessions on voter mobilization efforts for the 2010 midterms as well as solicitations for an ad campaign attacking Democratic lawmakers – those who have attended say the meetings say the critics have it all wrong.
“The main goal of the seminars appeared to me to be education on the challenges that face the American system of free enterprise and democracy, and what people can do about them,” said Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, a conservative Republican who has attended at least seven of the meetings.
McDonnell, who is not attending this weekend’s conference, said he was introduced to the gatherings by “free market friends up in Northern Virginia, some in the Koch enterprises institution,” and he cast the conferences as playing an important role in the political process.
“Groups on the right, left and in the middle get together all over this great country to exercise their first amendment rights to talk about these issues – some of them are public. Some of them are closed meetings,” he said. “So, to the degree that some on the left may be trying to attack these Koch seminars is really ridiculous.”
Really ridiculous is correct. This is good government in action and the LEFT hypocritically runs the same type conferences and accepts money from large donors like George Soros – hello!
This entire protest is a Saul Alinsky type of exercise to ridicule/humiliate/demonize the RIGHT for the benefit of the LEFT – that is all.
I don’t think it will work.