|Photo courtesy of Crystal Chatham for The Desert Sun|
Our friend David Koch is at it again with his conservative "grass roots" efforts. From Michael Isikoff NBC News report:
RANCHO MIRAGE, CA — A phalanx of sheriff’s deputies with riot gear fended off protestors and blocked all access to one of southern California’s most luxurious resort hotels on Sunday as more than 200 conservative donors gathered inside to plot political strategy and raise an estimated $30 million for the 2012 election.And that ain't all, my Chickpeas ... that ain't all. More from Michael Isikoff:
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor was among several members of Congress who flew in for the two-day event, a semi-annual meeting of political high-rollers sponsored by Charles and David Koch, the billionaire owners of Koch Industries, the giant, privately held oil firm based in Wichita, Kan. The Koch brothers, strong economic libertarians, have become two of the country’s biggest donors to conservative political groups and think tanks.
Cantor, who declined to speak to reporters while he was there, has been generously backed by Koch Industries over the years, having received $36,650 in campaign contributions from the company’s executives and employees since 2002, according to figures compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics. Asked if he would speak to an NBC producer while attending the event, his spokesman emailed: “No thanks.”
The Koch-sponsored conference at the Rancho Las Palmas Resort and Spa is the latest sign that the conservative spending blitz that helped propel GOP victories in last year’s election is likely to be continued at an even greater level next year when control of the presidency, as well as Congress, is at stake.
A top Republican fundraiser told NBC that a principal goal of this year’s Koch conference was to lay the groundwork for a major “grassroots effort” to back GOP candidates in next year’s election and to develop an early “budget blueprint” for conservative groups during the campaign. The Kochs were planning to raise at least $30 million from donors attending this weekend’s event, the fundraiser said.
Whether primarily about policy or politics, the gathering — in keeping with the Kochs’ past practice — was conducted behind closed doors amid the tightest of security: The Kochs, who declined requests by NBC for an interview, rented the entire five-star hotel where the meeting was held and refused entry to any outsiders, including members of the news media. Security guards stood at the hotel's entrance and checked off names, allowing only invited guests to proceed. Sheriff deputies and police stood outside the hotel while others with binoculars stood on its roof on guard for intruders.UGH! Ladies and Gents ... can't we find someone else's name to go on the former State Theater? Can't we find someone less ... oily?
The secrecy was telegraphed in material distributed to invited donors last fall describing the Kochs’ last conference, held last summer in Aspen, Colo. A letter from Charles Koch, the CEO of Koch Industries, and an accompanying brochure, was later obtained by Think Progress, a liberal website connected with the Democratic-leaning Center for American Progress. The letter from Charles Koch asked donors to attend this weekend’s conference to help “combat what is now the greatest assault on American freedom and prosperity in our lifetime.” An accompanying brochure emphasized that the company’s events are conduced under the strictest of rules. “Please be mindful of the security and confidentiality of your meeting notes and materials, and do not post updates of information about the meeting on blogs, social media such as Facebook and Twitter, or in traditional media articles,” the brochure stated.
The last time I was there, which was to see NYC Opera's production of Bernstein's A Quiet Place, I kind of felt like I needed a shower afterwards. And no, it wasn't because of the subject matter of the opera. Nor was it because of City Opera's recent bedbug issues ... I felt like I had to wash the GOP off of me.
You think I'm joking? Go there. Sit. Think about those Kochs, the GOP and everything that they stand against. And I say 'stand against' because they never seem to have ideas of their own. But rather, their entire political house-of-cards is built on the idea of standing in the way of any progress that our great country can make in helping it's own through these tough times. After all, it might cut into their precious BILLIONS.
Really. Go there. Sit and think about it. Trust me when I say: You'll need a shower, too.