The invitation, sent to potential new participants, offers a rare peek at the Koch network of the ultrawealthy and the politically well-connected, its far-reaching agenda to enlist ordinary Americans to its cause, and its desire for the utmost secrecy.I'm not an ultra-wealthy billionaire, but sure would like to be. I wish I could get on that secret list and get an invite to Rancho Mirage in January. Nice and warm there that time of year.
Koch Industries, a Wichita-based energy and manufacturing conglomerate run by the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, operates a foundation that finances political advocacy groups, but tax law protects those groups from having to disclose much about what they do and who contributes.
With a personalized letter signed by Charles Koch, the invitation to the four-day Rancho Mirage meeting opens with a grand call to action: “If not us, who? If not now, when?”
The Koch network meets twice a year to plan and expand its efforts — as the letter says, “to review strategies for combating the multitude of public policies that threaten to destroy America as we know it.”
Those efforts, the letter makes clear, include countering “climate change alarmism and the move to socialized health care,” as well as “the regulatory assault on energy,” and making donations to higher education and philanthropic organizations to advance the Koch agenda.
The Kochs also seek to cultivate Americans’ growing concern about the growth of government: at the most recent meeting, in Aspen, Colo., in June, some of the wealthiest people in America listened to a presentation on “a vision of how we can retain the moral high ground and make the new case for liberty and smaller government that appeals to all Americans, rich and poor.”
The Kochs insist on strict confidentiality surrounding the California meetings, which are entitled “Understanding and Addressing Threats to American Free Enterprise and Prosperity.” The letter advises participants that it is closed to the public, including the news media, and admonishes them not to post updates or information about the meeting on the Web, blogs, social media or traditional media, and to “be mindful of the security and confidentiality of your meeting notes and materials.”Of course now they'll be hounded by the likes of the New York Times for daring to "secretly" meet. How dare these people participate in the political process! Don't they realize only ultrawealthy billionaires like George Soros and his pals are allowed to meet in secret?
If you need a little primer on where Kate Zernike is coming from, here you go. She's not a reporter, she's a nasty propagandist.