The vast Koch Industries-led cabal of GOP donors, free-market ideologues and titans of industry is real, it turns out, and The New York Times has obtained the letter that proves it. Before the 2010 midterms are even over, the company led by Charles and David Koch has sent out an invitation to attend a confidential meeting in January at Rancho Las Palmas Resort and Spa in California and begin planning for the next clash in 2012. It invites participants to “develop strategies to counter the most severe threats facing our free society and outline a vision of how we can foster a renewal of American free enterprise and prosperity.”
The invitation makes clear that the Koch-led meetings are a twice-annual affair. At its last meeting in Aspen, Colo., in June, its participants, which include 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 letter obtained by the Times also included a brochure from the Aspen meeting, along with a list of the event’s approximately 200 guests:
The participants in Aspen dined under the stars at the top of the gondola run on Aspen Mountain, and listened to Glenn Beck of Fox News in a session titled, “Is America on the Road to Serfdom?” (The title refers to a classic of Austrian economic thought that informs libertarian ideology, popularized by Mr. Beck on his show.) The participants included some of the nation’s wealthiest families and biggest names in finance: private equity and hedge fund executives like John Childs, Cliff Asness, Steve Schwarzman and Ken Griffin; Phil Anschutz, the entertainment and media mogul ranked by Forbes as the 34th-richest person in the country; Rich DeVos, the co-founder of Amway; Steve Bechtel of the giant construction firm; and Kenneth Langone of Home Depot.
The list also included prominent GOP figures like Fred Malek, current chairman of the 501(c)(4) American Action Network, which shares office space with American Crossroads, and Foster Friess, a wealthy investor, evangelical Christian and Bush donor. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce gave a presentation at the Aspen meeting, while past attendees have included Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, Govs. Haley Barbour (R-Miss.) and Bobby Jindal (R-La.), and Sens. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.).