Progressive/Liberal groups protest Koch brothers: 25 protesters arrested

(excerpt from) The NY Times
Protesters Take On Conservative Retreat

January 30, 2011

An estimated 800 to 1,000 protesters from a spectrum of liberal groups vented their anger chiefly at Charles and David Koch, brothers who have used many millions of dollars from the energy conglomerate they run in Wichita to finance conservative causes. More than two dozen protesters, camera crews swarming around them, were arrested on trespassing charges when they went onto the resort grounds.

Organizers depicted the Koch brothers as symbols of the “unbridled corporate power” that they maintain was loosed by last year’s Supreme Court ruling in the Citizens United campaign finance case, which lifted a ban on corporate spending in elections…

The political retreat, held at the Rancho Las Palmas Resort and Spa about 130 miles east of Los Angeles, amounted to a victory lap for the Koch brothers, who helped finance conservative candidates in the fall campaigns through their company’s political action committee, which spent $2.5 million, as well as through advocacy groups like Americans for Prosperity.

Many candidates they supported, including a number backed by the Tea Party, gained election as part of the Republican takeover of the House…

Other versions of the story:

at My Desert.com
Protest nets 25 ‘passive arrests’

at Firedoglake:
Thousands Converge on Koch Brothers Billionaire’s Caucus; 25 Arrested

at The Guardian UK:
Greenpeace protests at Koch brothers’ rally
Billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch accused of distorting US democracy


From Gene Berkman in the comments:

Charles Koch was a member of The Libertarian National Committee from 1977 to 1979, I believe.

David Koch was nominated for Vice-President on the ticket headed by Ed Clark at the 1979 National Convention of The Libertarian Party, held at the Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles.

David Koch was put on the ticket explicitly so that he could legally put money into the campaign. Campaign finance laws in 1979 restricted individuals to a $1000 donation to an individual candidate, but as a candidate himself, he could put unlimited money into the campaign.

David Koch pledged to spend $500,000 on behalf of the ticket when he was nominated. His actual contribution was about $2 million to $2.5 million. The Clark campaign raised an additional $900,000, and ended the campaign $250,000 in debt. The Clark/Koch ticket received 922,000 votes, 1.2%.

Charles and David Koch both ended their funding of Libertarian Party activities after their candidate Earl Ravenal was defeated for the LP nomination for President in 1983. The Koch brothers continue to contribute to The Cato Institute, headed by Ed Crane, former Chair of The Libertarian Party (1973 to 1977).

23 thoughts on “Progressive/Liberal groups protest Koch brothers: 25 protesters arrested

  1. Kimberly Wilder Post author

    I felt like this story was important and timely to post.

    I tried to find articles with different takes on the situation, so that I could post different points of view.

    I confess that most of the points of view I could find this evening were pretty slanted in assuming all the connections and values held by the protesters were correct.

    If someone finds a more Conservative take, a Tea Party take, and/or a pro Koch brother take on this story, I would be happy to post it in my list of other versions of the story tomorrow.

    Thanks,
    Kimberly

  2. Kimberly Wilder

    Country Crammer…I hear what you are saying. For example, one sentence I found said that candidates that the Koch brothers supported won as part of the Republican takeover of the house.

    But, if you reflect on the way that worked…from primaries to the general…some of what happened was that Tea Party candidates invaded Republican primaries, aimed at certain Democrats, etc. So, that people identified as “Tea Party” or running on actual “Tea Party” lines, were a part of the Republican-take-over equation, even if no one won Congress on the specific “Tea Party line.” (And, did anyone win Congress directly on that line? I confess, I can’t remember.)

  3. Kimberly Wilder

    Paulie,

    You are welcome to insert an editors note about David Koch and his Libertarian run. I am too tired to understand, research, confirm, and edit. But, if you would like to, I give you permission to insert a line in the story.

    Thanks,
    Kimberly

  4. Marc Montoni

    Now if we can just get some dollar figures on the cash and in-kind donations from unions, the mainstream media conglomerates, and the trial lawyers to leftist candidates and causes….

  5. Gene Berkman

    Charles Koch was a member of The Libertarian National Committee from 1977 to 1979, I believe.

    David Koch was nominated for Vice-President on the ticket headed by Ed Clark at the 1979 National Convention of The Libertarian Party, held at the Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles.

    David Koch was put on the ticket explicitly so that he could legally put money into the campaign. Campaign finance laws in 1979 restricted individuals to a $1000 donation to an individual candidate, but as a candidate himself, he could put unlimited money into the campaign.

    David Koch pledged to spend $500,000 on behalf of the ticket when he was nominated. His actual contribution was about $2 million to $2.5 million. The Clark campaign raised an additional $900,000, and ended the campaign $250,000 in debt. The Clark/Koch ticket received 922,000 votes, 1.2%.

    Charles and David Koch both ended their funding of Libertarian Party activities after their candidate Earl Ravenal was defeated for the LP nomination for President in 1983. The Koch brothers continue to contribute to The Cato Institute, headed by Ed Crane, former Chair of The Libertarian Party (1973 to 1977).

  6. paulie

    But, if you reflect on the way that worked…from primaries to the general…some of what happened was that Tea Party candidates invaded Republican primaries, aimed at certain Democrats, etc. So, that people identified as “Tea Party” or running on actual “Tea Party” lines, were a part of the Republican-take-over equation, even if no one won Congress on the specific “Tea Party line.” (And, did anyone win Congress directly on that line? I confess, I can’t remember.)

    No one was elected as Tea Party per se, or even came close. Those were all elected as Republicans, which is not a right wing minor party (although many of us hope it will become one in the future). However, Gene Berkman has spelled out the Libertarian Party connection (thank you). I was hoping he would edit that into the article itself, but I’ll do it.

  7. paulie

    Now if we can just get some dollar figures on the cash and in-kind donations from unions, the mainstream media conglomerates, and the trial lawyers to leftist candidates and causes….

    All contributions are equal, but some are more equal than others?

  8. Kimberly Wilder

    My guess would be that union contributions would lean towards Democrats and leftists, but…I would guess…that “Trial Lawyers” and media conglomerates probably grease both sides of the aisle.

    Also…if “trial lawyers” means the attorneys who might represent me when a car company plays games with human life, so that I get in an accident, or someone to represent me when patriarchal, white-supremacist business leaders diss me or my colleagues in the workplace, then I think I like trial lawyers…

  9. Gene Berkman

    Trial lawyers give more money to Democrats than Republicans, because some Republicans have been pushing “Tort Reform” to rein in frivolous lawsuits which threaten small business as well as silicon valley type businesses.

    If you ran your own business, Kimberly, you would have a different attitude about trial lawyers.

    There are exceptions to the trial lawyer alignment with Democrats. The Republican National Committeeman from California, Shawn Steel, is a trial lawyer and opposes Tort Reform.

  10. whatever

    The Koch brothers continue to contribute to The Cato Institute,
    I believe you’ll find only one Koch bro still donates to Cato. I forget which is which, but one of the brothers donates all his money with strings attached in the form of mandating some kind of “management” metrics for how the receiving org runs itself. Cato has broken from the control-freak Koch but still takes cash from the other one.

  11. Kimberly Wilder

    Gene Berkman…

    I do own my own business. (I just have not collected any receipts yet!)

    I would say in the big scheme of things, that right now there are many more evil corporations who have willy-nilly hurt people, or made bad decisions (such as stalling on what should have been recalls), then there are people here and there that got a little money from being harmed by businesses.

    But, maybe you are right. When people move to the ownership class, they do slowly let go of their desire for justice and self-accountability. That does not mean caving in to their wishes to grow their business with impunity is good for society, or a good policy for government.

    Though…I will offer a different solution to frivilous lawsuits weighing down the courts…I think that there should be a separate court system, funded by plaintiffs, for any “incorporated” entity wishing to initiate a lawsuit.

    Letting corporations use court time and judge time is just more corporate welfare. And, at the Supreme Court level, every corporate lawsuit is one lesson person whose rights get reviewed by the top court.

  12. Gene Berkman

    “When people move to the ownership class, they do slowly let go of their desire for justice and self-accountability…”

    That sentiment is what separates “progressives from libertarians. Libertarians don’t assume business owners are guilty of screwing their customers – progressives do make that assumption.

    Owning a business is a constant process of accountability. Adding laws and regulations – as progressives constantly lobby for – turns the relationship between business and customer into an antagonistic relationship.

    There are many laws to protect consumers from dangerous products. But a small shop owner has to worry about ADA compliance lawsuits, and a silicon valley startup is in danger, if it does not make enough money, of being sued by investors for a “misleading” prospectus.

    People on the left with their caricature view of business seem to think government regulation is always beneficial and certainly benign. The view from the other side is quite different.

  13. Upstart Green

    GB, people on the left do not all share the same view. Generally it is the large Corporations that we rail against not small business. And we are upset with Big Government just as much as the Rightists but for different reasons. Since the Government is controlled by Big Cs many regulations serve to screw the Small Bs so they can’t effectively compete.

  14. paulie

    Since the Government is controlled by Big Cs many regulations serve to screw the Small Bs so they can’t effectively compete.

    As a libertarian, I completely agree.

  15. JanineC

    The left cries and whines about the Koch brothers using their money to make a difference. And even though they are libertarians, the left keeps trying to blame Republicans. But the most ironic thing is that George Soros has put millions (maybe billions) more into hard leftist (mostly socialist) causes and has influenced public policy much more than the entire population of libertarians AND Republicans put together–still not one peep of complaint about his influence…

    For anyone who cares to know…there is no “TEA Party”. There are several independent groups who are part of the “TEA party movement”, but it is not a single entity.

  16. JanineC

    Upstart Green, do you realize that most of the big mega-corporations that you say you rail against are more closely aligned with the Democrat Party than the Republican Party? Yes, they do contribute to both, but they prefer the Democrats because the Dems more often create regulations and higher taxes that, ironically, help the mega corporations in the long run by destroying competition and accountability. Didn’t know that, did you?

    Sadly, some Republicans are just as bad, but in general, GOP principles are against those practices. Yeah, the mega corps say they don’t like regulations and complain about taxes, but they also know that because of their size they come out on top no matter what (economies of scale combined with artificial gov’t imposed limits is the root of all that is bad with our current economy). Why? Because there is no level playing field and the cost to get into the game is prohibitive for the rest of us now. If we had a truly free marketplace and got rid of most of the government influence, we could get rid of the corrupt fat cats who are becoming billionaires at the expense of the rest of us and we could have REAL competition and prosperity where we ALL could benefit. And best of all, there would once again be accountability where bad practices would be punished and good practices rewarded–NOT by government–but by the free market (you and me). Wages would go up, service would improve, quality would improve, jobs would increase…etc.

  17. paulie

    Sadly, some Republicans are just as bad, but in general, GOP principles are against those practices.

    Please be more specific. Where are the Republican principles against those practices codified? Where are the votes that show most Republicans are against them?

    I do agree with much of what you say in #22, just not that the Republican Party does.

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