Cory Gardner Loves Him Some Koch Brothers

Koch Brothers and Cory Gardner

Cory Gardner is a big fan of David and Charles Koch…though he’d prefer to keep that quiet.

UPDATE: This story is being picked up everywhere, from Time magazine to NBC News and everywhere in between.


It's no secret that the billionaire Koch Brothers (David and Charles) are the proud parents of the Tea Party, Americans for Prosperity, and major contributors to all things Republican. It's also no secret that Democrats have been raising significant amounts of money using the Koch Brothers as Bogeymen, so Republican politicians have been careful about associating themselves too closely with the Koch family. A new audio recording has emerged in which Republican Senate candidates such as Cory Gardner heap praise on the Kochs during a super-secret conference in California this summer.

As the Huffington Post reports:

Three top Republican Senate candidates heaped praise on the political network built by the conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch during a secretive conference held by the brothers this past summer, according to audio of the event.

Iowa state Sen. Joni Ernst and Arkansas Rep. Tom Cotton directly credited donors present at the June 16 retreat in Dana Point, California, for propelling them forward. Colorado Rep. Cory Gardner told attendees that his race would likely be decided by the presence of "third party" money — an obvious pitch for generosity from the well-heeled crowd…

…Audio of the event, held at the St. Regis Monarch Beach resort, was obtained by The Undercurrent and shared exclusively with The Huffington Post. In it, the three Republican candidates, appearing on a panel titled "The Senate: A Window of Policy Opportunity for Principled Leaders," speak for several minutes each about the state of their respective races. Because the discussion took place in mid-June, some of the comments are dated. In addition, some of the audio was redacted to preserve the anonymity of the individual who provided it — "a source who was present at the event," per an official with The Undercurrent — and to remove sections with too much cross-talk. A separate source, who helped organize the retreat, confirmed each candidate's participation.

Getting exposed for loving up the Koch Brothers isn't a critical wound for Gardner, of course, but it will hurt his chances of beating Democratic Sen. Mark Udall in November–not to mention making hypocrites of anyone who brings up, for example, big Democratic funder Tom Steyer. As we've said over and over again in this space, Colorado voters have shown that they are more interested in supporting the statewide candidate who appears to be closest to the political center, and Gardner absolutely can't afford to appear any more partisan than he is already viewed. And while close ties to the Koch Brothers may not be a deciding factor for Unaffiliated voters, Gardner's cozy relationship with the coal barons will be incredibly helpful for Democrats as they try to motivate the base to get out the vote.

19 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Zappatero says:

    Shout it from the mountain tops! Every ad should have these morans praising the Koch Brothers.

  2. ct says:

    "CORY GARDNER: Absolutely, Jeff. Thank you very much for the opportunity to be with you this morning and today. And it’s always great as a Colorado guy to come to California…"

    I took the liberty to develop some new campaign materials:

    Cory Gardner





  3. notaskinnycook says:

    I just saw this story on HuffPost and popped over to see if it had been picked up here yet. Silly me! it's 10:30. Of course, it's here. Poor ol' Conman Cory! He's going to have a hard time convincing people that he's his own man when evidence to the contrary is on tape. Bought and paid for by the Kochs? It may play in Frackistan but I doubt it'll go over well on the Fdront Range where most of the votes are. 

  4. DawnPatrol says:

    Slurp, slurp, slurp, eh Cory? No surprise to anyone anound here, The corresponding anti-Gardner ads are no doubt being produced off this gem as we type.

    I am SO pumped to vote this year, and everyone — I mean everyone — I know who isn't a Bagger (or a GOTP voter in general) feels the same. Oddly, no one ever polls us. But we'll be there, voting with glee.

    • BlueCat says:

      I've been polled on both this race and the CD6 race. The polls I've done on the phone weren't push polls either but very straight forward are you going to vote and for whom, none of the push poll if you knew so and so did this or supported that would you vote for him stuff.

    • mamajama55 says:

      I'm at my son's house in Aurora. We got canvassed yesterday by Amendment 68 (horse-racing for education). We're all pretty much for 68. Until TABOR is declared unconstitutional, taxing sin to pay for necessities is what we're stuck with.

      Cory Gardner lit is all over the place – they've been to this huge housing development twice, and left a slick piece here with a "Sorry we missed you" sticky note once, on this house of registered Democrats.

      The literature (I'll scan it  and upload it when I get home, as there isn't any way anyone in this house will vote for Gardner) paints Gardner as such a reasonable, compromising kind of fellow.

      "Working across the aislle for Colorado". "Bipartisan" "did_____ for women" etc.

      • gertie97 says:

        Mama, please look again at A-68. First, it would be an amendment to the state Constitution, just like TABOR and equally hard to change if necessary. Second, it would turn Black Hawk, Central City and Cripple Creek into near-ghost towns again. There are only so many gambling dollars in the state. Third, it would bail out a Rhode Island greedhead. The pittance schools would get isn't worth it.


        • mamajama55 says:

          Gertie, I'll look into 68 more. Point 1, yes, it would amend the CO constitution, but that's the fix we're in since TABOR, if we want to raise revenues. Point 2, I don't really buy the "turn the mountain casinos into ghost towns" argument – people I know who gamble up there make an outing of it, including some mountain tourism – the casinos benefit a wide range of mountain businesses besides the casinos. Aurora just lacks the charisma to compete. People won't be going to the Arapahoe track for the aspen views, winter sports, or quaint shopping.   I don't know if there are "only so many gaming dollars in the state", since I don't gamble myself.  Vices usually expand to fill available space, IMHO.

          Point 3, you're probably right on the Rhode Island company profiting from 68.

          I think that the horse racing expanded gaming will be an economic boon eventually in Pueblo and Grand Junction, if they build horse tracks. Horse racing, in my limited experience, has a different, more family-friendly dynamic than dog racing.  Some of my ex in laws, young teens and young families, raise race horces.

          I'm not a huge advocate for 68, but will probably vote for it. I keep thinking of those asbestos floor tiles in Pueblo City schools, the ripped carpets, the snaky mess of wires running jury-rigged tech applications, and something must be done. Barring a change in school finance formulas, we're stuck holding our noses and voting for sin taxes to fund school infrastructure projects.

          • DaninDen says:

            Gambling does not improve the human condition; it exploits the poor, shunned by the rich (lottery). I boycott all gambling and will vote against #68. The dangled carrot of school finance is particularly cynical.  Got a problem? Fix it. BTW, I think any & all new classroom construction should be modularized, built in local factories, to NOREL energy standards, up to date learning labs, rather than existing funding models that equal rathole graft factories. Drawn out building schedules going to the lowest bidder (the VA hospital in Aurora) Our rapidly changing future requirements for education based on automation, globalization need new structures

            • Duke Cox says:


              I will vote against #68 as the wrong solution to the right problem. Education should not be financed by poor people trying to get a crack at wealth. It should be borne by TAXPAYERS. How about we pay for education with a transaction tax, instead?

              Additionally, I know some of the people who are involved in trying to get this through. They are not reputable people and not to be trusted.

              Please vote NO on #68.

          • DaninDen says:

             Shawn Boyd truth tests #68 Ad (CBS) I learned that the ploy other than Arapahoe race tracks must exist for 5 yrs before eligible to offer gambling, (I think) then must pay a discouraging 25 million fee to jump in.

          • JBJK16 says:

            If you think 68 is going to fix any of those things, you do't understand school finance in Colorado or you don't understand ….something.


            Find the history of other Colorado revenue enhancers that were supposed to fund schools and education.  If you still want to vote for 68 – welcome to the dark side.

            I'm generally indifferent to 68 – people make bad choices all the time, and it's not always going to be a useful role for governement to try and stop it.  But supporting it because it claims it will do sometihng it will not do, well, that I'm not indifferent about.

  5. DaninDen says:

    Truthout(No link) did a story on this, and I parroted it in my first post here,

  6. Moderatus says:

    Kochorado! Steyerado! SO WHAT.

    Let the ideas compete. Let the best man win.

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