(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 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).