Saturday, October 23, 2010

Koch Suckers

It's been making news elsewhere, I'm just playing catch-up here.

Via Palingates, the ThinkProgress reveal:

In 2006, Koch Industries owner Charles Koch revealed to the Wall Street Journal’s Stephen Moore that he coordinates the funding of the conservative infrastructure of front groups, political campaigns, think tanks, media outlets and other anti-government efforts through a twice annual meeting of wealthy right-wing donors. He also confided to Moore, who is funded through several of Koch’s ventures, that his true goal is to strengthen the “culture of prosperity” by eliminating “90%” of all laws and government regulations.

Ninety percent of all? Hmmm.

ThinkProgress has obtained a memo outlining the details of the last Koch gathering held in June of this year. The memo, along with an attendee list of about 210 people, shows the titans of industry — from health insurance companies, oil executives, Wall Street investors, and real estate tycoons — working together with conservative journalists and Republican operatives to plan the 2010 election, as well as ongoing conservative efforts through 2012. According to the memo, David Chavern, the number two at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Fox News hate-talker Glenn Beck also met with these representatives of the corporate elite. In an election season with the most undisclosed secret corporate giving since the Watergate-era, the memo sheds light on the symbiotic relationship between extremely profitable, multi-billion dollar corporations and much of the conservative infrastructure. The memo describes the prospective corporate donors as “investors,” and it makes clear that many of the Republican operatives managing shadowy, undisclosed fronts running attack ads against Democrats were involved in the Koch’s election-planning event ...

More from Salon:

According to that document, the Palm Springs meeting attracted such corporate and financial titans as Stephen Schwartzman of the Blackstone Group, Philip Anschutz of Anschutz Industries, and Steve Bechtel of Bechtel Corp., as well as representatives of Bank of America, Allied Capital, Citadel Investment, among many others – all of whom gathered to learn how to “elect leaders who are more strongly committed to liberty and prosperity” with a “strategic plan to educate voters on the importance of economic freedom.”

More from HuffPo:

(T)he New York Times reported that an upcoming meeting in Palm Springs of "a secretive network of Republican donors" that was being organized by Koch Industries, "the longtime underwriter of libertarian causes." Buried in the third to last graph was a note that previous guests at such meetings included Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, two of the more conservative members of the bench.

And from that article in the NYT, more on the inclusion of Supreme Court Justices Thomas and Scalia in the conspiracy:

To encourage new participants, Mr. Koch offers to waive the $1,500 registration fee. And he notes that previous guests have included Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas of the Supreme Court, Gov. Haley Barbour and Gov. Bobby Jindal, Senators Jim DeMint and Tom Coburn, and Representatives Mike Pence, Tom Price and Paul D. Ryan.

Of course "some say" there is nothing wrong with this sort of thing at all. Nothing illegal or unethical at all about people with similar interests gathering together to discuss ways to affect political change.

Why it's the same thing as when, say, the Harris County Democrats have a rally over a dinner, or a blockwalk followed by a fish fry. Except without the Supreme Court justices or the captains of industry. Or their money.

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