Briefly: wanted to let you know that I’ll be in Rancho Mirage, California today reporting on the meeting of the “Uncloak the Kochs” rally. If you’re unaware of what this is all about, here’s Bob Edgar of Common Cause to explain. Charles and David Koch are holding something called the “Billionaire’s Caucus” in Rancho Mirage this weekend, one of their periodic meetings with the rich and powerful of the conservative movement (House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is attending this one) to plot strategy for the coming year. Here’s Edgar:
There’s nothing wrong with making a lot of money or spending some of it on political activism. Nor is there anything wrong with the Kochs inviting people who share their ideas, or any other ideas for that matter, to get together for an exchange of views.
What’s troubling to me, what’s led Common Cause and other groups to call public attention to the Koch conclave and convene an alternative forum near theirs this weekend, is the Koch’s use of their considerable resources to advance public policies that will enhance their bottom line and endanger the rest of us and our country [...]
Thanks to the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision last year, encouraged and then embraced by the Kochs, corporations and other special interests were able to pour more than $300 million into the 2010 elections.
More than $130 million of that came from secret donors, often using front groups like the Koch-founded Americans for Prosperity.
That money is an investment in our democracy, calculated to give the people providing it and their companies a voice loud enough to drown out the concerns of everyday Americans. And like investors everywhere, the people and firms behind the money want a return, perhaps here in the form of tax breaks or the repeal of some of the regulations that cut into the Koch’s profits.
At the very least, Americans need to know who those investors are and how much each has put into our political system. We need to know when some of them, like the Kochs, meet with the politicians their money helped to elect and with judges whose legal opinions made their donations legal. Otherwise, we’ll be none the wiser when the politicians all that money helped elect begin to provide the return.
There’s a panel discussion prior to the demonstration, with Van Jones, former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, UC Irvine Law Dean Erwin Chemerinsky, DeAnn McEwen of the California Nurses Association and Lee Fang of Think Progress. That’s at 11:00am PT; the rally comes afterward. I think it’s pretty far from where the Kochs are meeting, but maybe some of us will go rogue and head over.
Don’t know the WiFi setup, so I’ll probably be confined to Twitter. Should be the most consequential protest tweets of the day! OK, second-most.
…Forgot to mention, FDL’s Gregg Levine will be on hand as well.