There has been discussion at Blogcritics regarding corporations with venues and agenda, and with the financial strength to assure the support of various politicians; those politicians who generally feel no guilt in shaping their legislation to conform to the will of corporate America. We have mentioned the Heritage Corporation, the National Rifle Association; we have mentioned Rush Limbaugh, widely known for his ultra-conservative rants. Glenn Beck and many at Fox News have received attention. Now we have an opportunity to look into the clandestine meeting of a seminar, held at a Vail Colorado resort last June, attended by about 300 wealthy guests, hosted by the billionaire brothers, Charles and David Koch. (Photo of C. Koch)
The Koch brothers own the chemical and energy conglomerate Koch Industries in Wichita, and about twice a year they have covert seminars primarily to raise money, and to disseminate strategy. The Koch conglomerate is of increasing and ponderous influence on American politics, spending millions on the Tea Party, and various right-wing groups. The Koch brothers use their wealth and money from donations to influence elections, and to sway public opinion on a wide variety of issues such as labor policy, health care, government spending, oil drilling and exploration, systems for extruding natural gas (sometimes using environmentally unfriendly processes) and other endeavors.
Thanks to tape recordings made at the time, despite efforts at the seminar to prevent such taping, we can now learn something about the clandestine Koch seminar of last June. The meeting opened and closed with petitions for donations. At the onset, the names of about three dozen donors of one million dollars or more each were read. The speaker mistakenly turned the phrase, "more than one billion..." then caught his mistake, got quite a good laugh, corrected, "Well, I was thinking of Obama and his billion-dollar campaign," and the speaking continued. Donors have nothing to fear, the Koch brothers promise to protect anonymity. Because of loopholes in federal campaign laws, these donations do not exist in the public record.
According to sources, recent attendees at Koch seminars include Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) ("Tea Party Kingmaker"), Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), and Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. The same sources name state governors in attendance at the Vail seminar: Florida's Rick Scott, Virginia's Robert McDonnell, and White House hopeful Rick Perry of Texas. Perry’s attendance was not acknowledged until the tail number of his plane was tracked by The Austin American-Statesman; then the attendance was listed as "a meeting with a private gathering of business leaders."