Koch Brothers Conservative Uber-Meetup Hits Vail This Weekend

FRIDAY UPDATE: Coverage from the Vail paper and the Colorado Independent.


UPDATE #3: More details from Common Cause’s invitation email after the jump.


UPDATE #2: The uber-swanky Ritz-Carlton Resort at Bachelor Gulch is the location we just got from multiple sources. We are working on confirmation now.


UPDATE: Not much information yet, but it looks like the Koch brothers will indeed have a warm “welcome”–this just went up on the Facebook page of Colorado Common Cause:

Uncloak the Kochs

Time: Sunday, June 26 · 11:00am – 1:00pm

Location: Vail, CO

More Info: The billionaire Koch brothers are organizing their annual retreat in Vail this weekend to decide where they will funnel millions of dollars to influence political outcomes which change our nation.

And because of the Citizens United Supreme Court case, these millions of dollars will be spent in secret. Stand with us to demand transparency and accountability.

We’ll update with more information, and we do apologize if our timely posting in any way disrupted the tranquility of this secretive event.

But, you know, stuff happens.


Some of our readers might recall an event held this past January in Palm Springs, California that attracted considerable attention–Politico reported at the time:

In the past, the meetings have drawn an A-list of participants – politicians like Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, leading free-market thinkers including American Enterprise Institute president Arthur Brooks, talkers Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck and even Supreme Court justices – to mingle with the wealthy donors who comprise the bulk of the invitees. The meetings adjourned after soliciting pledges of support from the donors – sometimes totaling as much as $50 million – to non-profit groups favored by the Kochs.

For the most part, the meetings, which are closed to the public and reporters, have attracted little attention outside conservative circles. But very different circumstances surround the Koch conference set to begin Saturday at an exclusive resort outside Palm Springs, Calif.

The Koch brothers – Charles and David – have come under intense scrutiny recently for their role in helping start and fund some of the deepest-pocketed groups involved in organizing the tea party movement such as Americans for Prosperity, and for steering cash towards efforts to target President Barack Obama, his healthcare overhaul, and congressional Democrats in the run-up to the 2010 election.

January’s conference blew up on its organizers, Charles and David Koch, after liberal activist groups in California and around the country got wind of it and organized protests–and unwanted exposure for the secretive Koch brothers. Who, as we saw with their recent hardball lobbying of Colorado Republicans to abandon legislation they had sponsored promoting natural gas, prefer to do their political work behind the scenes.

With that in mind, did you know that the next big Koch brothers conservative political conference, set to draw a similar high-profile group of Republican leaders, funders, and media luminaries…is happening in Vail this coming week? Because until we saw a brief Richmond Times-Dispatch story on the upcoming travels of Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell yesterday, we hadn’t. And nobody else we’ve talked to knew about it either.

McDonnell…leaves on Sunday for Vail, where he’ll attend the Koch brothers’ summer seminar.

Koch Industries is a Kansas-based energy conglomerate owned by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, the backers of conservative causes, including Americans for Prosperity. The Koch brothers hold conferences twice a year, keeping the guest lists and details largely under wraps. [Pols emphasis]

The last one was held in Palm Springs, Calif., in January. McDonnell has attended at least seven of the seminars…

Tucker Martin, the governor’s spokesman, described the seminar as a way for McDonnell to hear from job creators, entrepreneurs and business leaders on policies they believe would best facilitate and support private sector job creation in Virginia.

This story appears to be the only reference to this conference in any media, anywhere–it does not appear to be an event the Koch brothers wanted publicized, and after what happened in Palm Springs, that makes an awful lot of sense. At any rate, this conference will be in Vail this weekend, and based on Gov. McDonnell’s attendance, it’s likely to be as much of a who’s-who of conservative politics as the prior Koch brothers conferences.

Which means that the press, and anyone else who’d like to “greet” the infamous Koch brothers and their entourage of right-wing big names coming to our state, should probably get to work.

Speak Out Against the Koch Brothers this Sunday in Beaver Creek

Dear Friend,

Last January, some 1500 people protested outside a political fundraiser convened by the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch in Palm Springs, California.  Weeks later we saw Koch funded front groups and Gov. Scott Walker mount a war against teachers and other public workers in Wisconsin.  Since then, we’ve seen Koch funded assaults on the EPA, on Social Security, and a new effort to build an environmentally risky tar sands pipeline.

Now, the Koch’s are coming to Colorado.  This Sunday through Tuesday in Beaver Creek (near Vail) they will host an invitation only discussion between corporate titans and political operatives to plot a secret plan to spend tens of millions of dollars of corporate money on the 2012 elections.  We learned this news just days ago when the Richmond Times Dispatch reported that Governor McDonnell of Virginia will be joining the strategy sessions.  Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has said he’s “dropped by” these meetings in the past.

Will you be there to raise your voice in protest?

Citizens from across Colorado will be converging in Avon, Colorado right below the Ritz Carlton at Bachelor Gulch on Sunday from 11 AM to 1 PM to speak out against this corporate assault on the middle class.  We’ll meet up at Nottingham Lake Park located at 1 Lake Street Avon. You can get details of the event and RSVP at this Facebook event page.

The event will be non-violent and family friendly.  Please bring signs, but not ones mounted on sticks or anything that could be construed as a weapon.  Some sign suggestions would be “UnVail the Kochs”, “Corporations are not people”, “Koch + Thomas = Supreme Conflict”, “Reverse Citizens United”, “Money does not equal speech” and “Stop the War on the Middle Class.”

I realize this comes on short notice, and that just what the Koch’s want.  They’ve managed to keep this event under wraps until now precisely to keep folks like you and me from showing up.  Let’s not let them get away with it.

Thanks for all you do,

Jenny Flanagan

p.s. If you want more information about the Koch brothers, you can check out our website here.

46 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Ellie says:

    Generals Koch are going to give their troops their marching orders.  

  2. ellbee says:

    Without a boogieman, how would the left put forth any ideas?

    • TobiasFunke says:

      like gays for the right? “They’re trying to destroy America! With gayness!”

      • ellbee says:

        I’m pro-gay marriage.  Drop it.

        • Aristotle says:

          but your party is not (although some are coming around).

          This WAS the GOP’s boogeyman issue for several election cycles, though. I’m pretty sure that’s what TF had in mind, and as such it was a perfectly fair rejoinder.

        • ClubTwitty says:

          Indeed, what would the GOP do without scary Mexicans, gays, or Muslims wanting to build community centers in their communites?

          • BlueCat says:

            The GOP has long been the official party of boogieman politics whether Elbee cottons to it ot not.  Koch brothers aren’t boogiemen.  They are real, blatant enemies of the American middle class and everything they finance proves that.  

            Unlike phantom illegals, for instance who supposedly started the worst of the  Arizona fires nowhere near the Mexican border or even in a Mexican border county.  Now that’s boogieman hype in action.

            So’s the gays are destroying the American family, American Muslim bashing,  Obama as an un-American enemy radical, supposed wars on Christians and Christmas, Hollywood libruls, Latte sipping liberal elite America haters (who could all be bought and sold many times over by the real Republican Koch brother and Wall Street friends elite), Planned Parenthood wants everybody to have an abortion, death panels, Obama wants to kill your Downs Syndrome babies panels, if you elect a Dem the terrorists will get us (boy was that one off base),etc.  

            Then there are the ridiculous anti-science litmus test issues.  Few Rs dare raise their hand when asked if they accept the theory evolution or the slightest possibility that humans are involved with global warming. The anti-sense litmus test issues that make it impossible for an R to admit that we need more tax revenue and that tax breaks that were meant to deal with the surplus or oil subsides that were suppose to be needed only until oil reached $50, ought to go away or that it’s simply nonsense that the estate (no… hysterical death) tax effects mainly small family businesses  or that tax cuts pay for themselves.  

            Meantime Dems have plenty of flaws and  failures of their own but continue to be electable even if they are anti-choice (locally see Ritter) seem overly fond of creationism and answer questions about evolution with “I believe in God” (locally see Hancock) etc. Same can’t be said for Rs.

            Sorry Elbee.  You are no longer an example of what the GOP base thinks and the GOP has long been the official party of boogiemen and litmus tests.  Welfare Queens are eating your lunch was a good start. Dems can’t touch them there. The most hysterical left fringe is the poor stepchild of the Democratic party. They don’t get catered to.  Quite the opposite. The R fringe, on the other hand, is so lage and in charge,  no GOP would be presidential candidate has a chance without pandering to it and apologizing when they slip up and say something reasonable.   That’s your party, Elbee. No matter what you personally stand for.

            • Sir Robin says:

              Too bad it is wasted on elbee.  

            • WitnessProtectionForGeeks says:
            • Mr. Toodles says:

              Yes he is. He is exactly what the GOP base is. A few highlights: Pres Obama is the worst president ever. ACA is the worst piece of legislation in the history of this country. Climate change is a myth. He has also called the only Republican presidential contender that supports same-sex marriage a clown, and has dismissed him out of hand because he worked for Obama. He is the GOP base.

              • Ralphie says:

                If my memory of the presidential election here at Pols is accurate, someone with a nickname like his (not saying it’s the same person) supported Obama.

                He’s as disillusioned with Obama as any so-called “progressive” that’s whining about what he or she didn’t get.  There seems to be a lot of that going on right now in the Progressive community.

                If you want to disagree with Elbee, fine. I disagree with him on plenty of issues too.

                But don’t demonize him.  He believes what he believes, and often (unlike BJ or MarkG) makes an eloquent case for what he believes.

                If he represents the GOP base in your opinion, then listen and learn. Knowing what the other side is thinking is a good thing that can give you a strategic advantage if you deal with it correctly.

                • BlueCat says:

                  On many issues Elbee is in lock step but not on others. The GOP base doesn’t allow that anymore. No GOP candidate, for instance, could publicly support gay marriage and make it through a primary. Elbee claims a level of nuance that may be there for Elbee but is  not tolerated by today’s litmus obssessed GOP.    

                  • Mr. Toodles says:

                    I guess for me it comes down to core issues. I think you would be hard pressed to find a bunch of GOP or TP party who agree on everything. The base is first and foremost anti-Obama. The biggest Obama representation is ACA and they hate that. Same sex marriage, immigration, taxes, unions, climate change are all bad things too, but none are as bad as Obama and ACA.

                    Yes, I think elbee is the base. He may support same sex marriage, but that really doesn’t matter since you accurately point out that having that view means you can’t get through the primary.

                    I don’t agree with everything Obama does, but I agree with him on my most important issues. If that were to change I would stop supporting him. Maybe same sex marriage isn’t that important to elbee, and that’s fine. But that won’t stop an argument that it is a talking point for the right.

                • Mr. Toodles says:

                  Yes, with a similar nickname a person supported Obama in 08. That person quickly became disillusioned with the president when he started implementing the agenda he campaigned on, namely health care. But let’s forget all that as we are not talking about the same person as elbee (I assume).

                  My disagreement with you and other defenders of elbee is the belief that he eloquently defends his positions. Today’s open thread is just one example. Another is when he posts a title comment with a youtube video. Maybe they are hilarious, maybe the demonstrate some point that takes too long for him to type out.  I don’t know. I don’t click on any of them (or anybody’s for that matter).

                  I don’t want to go through and find a bunch of examples where elbee didn’t eloquently defend a point, so I will use this last one to illustrate my point:

                  Hopefully, we can agree that the poster PERA Hopeful is someone we both respect. S/he posted this comment: http://coloradopols.com/showCo… in response to elbee’s comment about vouchers (Actually the whole thread demonstrates why I disagree with the elbee’s presumed eloquence). Elbee continually side steps her arguments, and posts a link that has nothing to do with, well anything. Its a link to the Centennial Institute, that has no links itself.

                  Elbee, you, me, BJ, Ari, Bluecat can argue the validity of different sources until we are blue in the face. To a former poster, Media Matters was a disreputable source, even though they reported the words verbatim (the Newt Gingrich defense). I consider the Centennial Institute a disreputable source, because its the Centennial Institute.

                  Eloquence is not using straw men arguments and red herrings. It’s not using bogus sources as points of fact. It’s not repeating the same lines that have been disproven in multiple diaries.

                  He can believe whatever he wants. I didn’t demonize him for his thoughts (I didn’t think I demonized him at all). In this specific instance, I pointed out what he had said today and why I think that places him firmly in the GOP base. We can disagree and thats fine.

                  I know that you were friends with a former poster. I know that for some reason a lot of people gave him a lot of respect. I don’t purport to know who he was nor why he garnered so much respect.

                  All I know is that when people post their opinions as facts, try to muddy the waters, and claim some sort of moral high road to win arguments I have to call bullshit, just like you do with BJ or SXP with David.  

                  • DaftPunk says:

                    My example.

                    The GOTPers like to rail against “foreign courts” influencing our jurisdiction.  Faced with evidence of what that really means: no response.  Pure talking point spewage without a scintilla of thought behind it.  Not worth engaging in my point of view.

        • TobiasFunke says:

          Try to keep up with your own talking points.

    • Ellie says:

      But I can say as a fairly informed moderate that the Koch brothers scare the hell out of me.

  3. ClubTwitty says:

    In addition to pushing for a new coal mine above Redlands Mesa (outside of Hotchkiss), or pushing for a sweetheart land exchange with the feds to consolidate his trophy ranch holdings, is purportedly building his own little private ‘Wild West Village’ on the edge of the Raggeds Wilderness above Erickson Springs.  Local contractors in the North Fork are upset because he is allegedly hiring mostly outside laborers.  Supposedly there are like 150 ppl working up there–but there have been no reports or media, so I have not confirmed.  Having heard this from a few well-placed sources, however, I believe it to be credible.  

  4. ProgressiveCowgirl says:

    He is able to get the exact location. Email me if you’re interested in organizing something. I won’t be around and I live a pretty far hike from Vail anyway.  

    • JeffcoBlue says:

      I think that the exact location of this event, and every other piece of information that can possibly be had, should be made very public. So please share what you’ve got!

      • Middle of the Road says:

        Post the time and place and if someone wants to contact PC’s friend, they can email her. Anybody that wants to show up can organize their day and maybe find a few equally bored friends to carpool with.  

        We don’t need a guide to the event, just the location.  

        • ProgressiveCowgirl says:

          Once I get it if I can post it without endangering anyone’s job or anything like that I will–a friend of a friend has access to it, so my friend is rounding up interested parties who would be able to disseminate info/organize a protest once his friend gets it to him. Just passing on the request I received.

  5. ProgressiveCowgirl says:

    Via Colorado Common Cause

    Assuming my guy never got back to me because he figured out it was about to go public. Or, he’s just something of an ass. One of the two. Anyway, suggest RSVPing to this for exact info on where protesters will gather.

  6. 20th Maine says:


    …funnel millions of dollars to influence political outcomes which change our nation.  

    And because of the Citizens United Supreme Court case, these millions of dollars will be spent in secret. Stand with us to demand transparency and accountability.

    Because Common Cause is non-partisan and only doing this for the purest of reasons, surely they must be protesting liberal groups like Priorities USA as well.

    Looking forward to the press release announcing that protest.

  7. thiokuutoo says:

    Hopefully a few people from other states will come in and spend a few dollars. Too bad there is a dirth of union hotels for the kocks to stay at.

  8. Canines says:

    Why are members of the Supreme Court attending these fundraisers?

    • Diogenesdemar says:

      meeting of the Kochs would if be if the attendees didn’t get to gladhand at least one or two members?

      (Without that live hands-on interaction, you might as well just twitter a picture.)

  9. ClubTwitty says:

    Oops!  Bad move, governor.


    A prominent closed-door conservative conclave is set to begin this weekend in the Vail area, and liberal protesters are planning a rally in response.

    The billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch of the privately held energy giant Koch Industries are playing host to a semiannual retreat near the resort town of Vail starting Sunday. The retreats are closed to the public and the press, but news of the meeting leaked out when Virginia’s Republican governor, Gov. Bob McDonnell, listed the gathering on his schedule.

  10. DavidThi808 says:

    My wife asks if I want to spend last weekend in Denver or this weekend in Vail. I suggested Denver so we were down there last weekend.

    And the hotel we would have been at in Vail if we went there this weekend? The Ritz-Carlton. That would have definitely been interesting as I got “lost” wandering around the hotel.

Leave a Reply

Comment from your Facebook account

You may comment with your Colorado Pols account above (click here to register), or via Facebook below.