GOP mega-donors gather in SoCal; meet with candidates and discuss policy

Koch BrothersHosted by the organization bearing the Koch brothers’ name, Some 450 business leaders came together in Southern California to think through their policy priorities for 2016.

At stake was nearly $890 million in funds to be allocated through the end of next year, according to the Associated Press. Although much of that sum was expected to flow into the coffers of the eventual Republican candidate for president, a potent irony pervaded the proceedings, relating to Jeb Bush. “The Kochs began their donor gatherings in 2003, a reaction to what they saw as out-of-control government growth when his brother George W. Bush was president,” as AP noted.

The confab took place at a scenic and secluded oceanfront hotel in Dana Point. A certain amount of privacy has long been standard operating procedure, with the Kochs themselves playing more of a behind-the-scenes role. “The Koch operation is not expected to formally back any candidate in the GOP primary,” as Kenneth Vogel observed at Politico. “But the Koch brothers and many of their donors can still play kingmaker roles. In addition to the massive checks many are expected to write to the super PACs aligned with specific candidates, they also serve as bellwethers for other donors.”

Jockeying candidates

Even before the event, scuttlebutt surrounded the field of Republican candidates. Not all were present. Rand Paul, who “underwhelmed donors” at a prior event, declined this time around, as Eliana Johnson reported for National Review. One Koch official told Johnson “that Chris Christie wasn’t invited because the powers that be in Koch world think he has a crummy fiscal record in New Jersey.”

Nor did Donald Trump receive an invitation. (Trump would later mock the meeting on Twitter as an assemblage of would-be “puppets” lacking his own money muscle.)

That left the Koch brothers to sit down with Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Marco Rubio and Scott Walker.

Although the attendees each had their chance to speak, few were out to make headlines. Marco Rubio, known for his hawkish approach to foreign policy, did use California’s sometimes idyllic isolation from the east coast political establishment to sharpen his rhetoric on Iran’s nuclear program. “Iran will be not just a nuclear weapon power, but will have the capability to deliver that weapon to the continental United States in less than a decade,” he said, according to Time. “I don’t think any of us wants to live in a country where a radical Shiite cleric in Tehran can have a nuclear weapon and an ICBM that can hit where we are sitting right now.”

Policy over politics

But the weekend was not restricted to presidential politics. “Koch network leaders briefed some 450 donors, who pledge six-figure sums to become members of the Freedom Partners organization, on their policy and philanthropic goals for the 2016 cycle,” CNN reported.

The itinerary reflected an agenda more variegated than the Koch organization is often given credit for. “While the network has become arguably the most powerful force in Republican politics today, Charles Koch, in his welcoming speech, called out both parties for big spending, reckless foreign policy and corporate welfare,” Politico noted.

Sessions were varied. One, drawing hundreds, “focused on legislation that would limit mandatory minimum sentencing, as well as other forms of criminal justice reform,” according to CNN. “At an evening reception, the featured speaker was Dr. Michael Lomax, president of the United Negro College Fund.”

In fact, some present at the meeting suggested that too much attention had been paid to the relatively glitzy and competitive race for the GOP nomination. Longtime donor Art Pope told Politico that the spotlight belonged a bit deeper in the weeds. “The main point of this weekend’s seminar is not the elected officials or the candidates. In fact, it’s not about candidates at all. It is more about policies and issues,” he said.

15 comments

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  1. Dyspeptic
    Dyspeptic 5 August, 2015, 10:10

    “I don’t think any of us wants to live in a country where a radical Shiite cleric in Tehran can have a nuclear weapon and an ICBM that can hit where we are sitting right now.”

    This comment from Rubio is typical of the paranoid delusions inhabiting the fevered imaginations of the Neo-Con warmonger crowd that dominates the Retardpublican party. Why in the world would a third rate power like Iran want to ensure it’s own annihilation by attacking us with one or two low yield A-bombs? The assumption here is that Iranian leaders are completely irrational and bent on national self destruction. I don’t buy that for a minute.

    The hyper-Zionist Neo-Cons real concern is that Iran will attack their most favored nation – Israel. This is just more fevered paranoia given that Israel is reputed to possess hundreds of state of the art nukes and multiple means of delivery. The end game for Neo-Cons is the reinvasion of Iraq as prelude to an invasion of Iran. After that, they would love to start World War III with Russia. They really are insane.

    This is why I don’t vote Republican anymore. They’re just a faction of the real power in D.C., the permanent Welfare-Warfare Party. These mealy mouthed, chicken hawk thumb suckers can’t even defund the baby butchers of Planned Parenthood, but have plenty of time to re-authorize corporate handouts like Ex-Im Bank.

    How can anyone take them seriously?

    Reply this comment
  2. Dude
    Dude 5 August, 2015, 19:47

    And yet this author has never even mentioned George Soros as a liberal mega donor. Partisan hack.

    Reply this comment
  3. Terry
    Terry 6 August, 2015, 09:34

    I have advocated that about 90% of Washington be dismantled and the power delegated back to the states, counties and cities. NO MATTER which party is in office will NOT help We the People. The above meetings are in our face who is getting what. And is sure as Hell is not We the People. Both parties are controlled. Example I believe that Palin was chosen by McCain to make sure Obama would be elected. Ron Paul was locked out of the Republican National Convention to make sure the controllers could nominate Romney another RINO that could be controlled. The ONLY solution is to take their power away. Same with the do nothing CONgress CONNING the American people
    So may be Trump is the way to go. He already has money.

    Reply this comment
    • Queeg
      Queeg 6 August, 2015, 09:40

      Comarade Teri,

      Kiss Jeb’s ring, the anointed “compassionate conservative”.

      Reply this comment
      • Ted
        Ted 6 August, 2015, 20:31

        Terry
        Do you think that the gov still had live aliens from Roswell?

        Reply this comment
        • Queeg
          Queeg 7 August, 2015, 09:33

          Teddy,

          Did you know Megan was a Bimbo? Who would have known! I am shocked. Shocked.

          I was perplexed to find Frank Luntz, pollster asked Trump for consulting business while moderating a political debate focus group in which Trump was center stage.

          Sounds like we need Gowdy to do a congressional investigations.

          Reply this comment
          • Dude
            Dude 7 August, 2015, 10:55

            And yet Captain Queeg didn’t make reference to the second 2012 presidential debate where Romney had to debate liberal moderator Candy Crowley before he could get to Obozo. Queeg is a male version (?) of a bimbo

  4. Ted S
    Ted S 7 August, 2015, 15:29

    Oh yes Queeg– I LOVE the clown car season!!!!!!!!!

    Reply this comment
  5. desmond
    desmond 8 August, 2015, 05:26

    All, To anyone who hasn’t t figured it out. Ted, Queeg, and the Ahaul are the same….possibly others. It gets off on antagonizing, especially new bloggers. Read the articles, skip the comments.
    Sorry, whoever you are, go back to barnyard porn, or whatever gets you off in your time not here.

    Reply this comment
    • Ted
      Ted 8 August, 2015, 12:34

      Desi-poo
      Seriously dood—that charge gets old—- don’t you think that the good folks who administrate this forum have the same software as every other forum which detects sock puppets at least from the same ip? Yikes—- be real…..While I take the comaparison of me to Queeg et al as a compliment— you’re theory is boring all of us to death because it aint true– and if it was— who cares?

      Reply this comment
  6. Ted
    Ted 8 August, 2015, 12:37

    Oh– and Desi—- “barnyard porn”?

    In psychological terms we would say that you are “projecting”. Wow— THAT must be uncomfortable for you.

    Reply this comment
  7. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 8 August, 2015, 16:58

    Teddy,

    The Doomers get what Fox News wants…..Rex Jebby….

    Jebby has over 100 million to spread around in media ads……TV, buying pundits and morally BK Bagdad Bob’s and Bobarina’s, paying for crooked double agent pollster consulting services, etc.

    It’s about over. A McRomneyDoleJeborah wipe out!

    Reply this comment
    • Teddy
      Teddy 8 August, 2015, 21:15

      Mr. Pack n Ship–

      While some think that you’re me…I think you’re you and that you’re peaking at this time!

      Bravo Patriot!

      Reply this comment
  8. desmond
    desmond 8 August, 2015, 19:53

    Let the moderator settle it.

    Reply this comment

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