Greenpeace's airship flew over the Rancho Las Palmas resort Friday to send a message to the Koch Brothers and the arriving attendees of their secret strategy meeting - "Koch Brothers: Dirty Money"
How much dirty money are we talking about here?
The billionaire Koch Brothers themselves are able to push their polluter agenda through tens of millions of dollars in campaign contributions, lobbying, and funding fronts groups and think tanks. Greenpeace obtained tax records that show that Koch foundations have given a total of $54.9 million to climate denial organizations since 1997, including $31.3 million in recent years of 2005 – 2009. And our 2010 report Koch Industries, Secretly Funding the Climate Denial Machine documented the millions more that Koch Industries spends on lobbying against climate and clean energy policies, and campaign contributions to polluter-friendly politicians.
But that's only part of their "Kochtopus" network, and the secret strategy meeting currently underway in Rancho Mirage represents another tentacle. Attendees of previous Koch meetings bring together other wealthy corporate executives and politicians, and a list of those who attended the last meeting in Aspen, Colorado was revealed by ThinkProgress.
Greenpeace research found that the participants of that Koch meeting contributed more than $61 million to political campaigns since 1990, according to Federal Election Commission records available at the Center for Responsive Politics. As Ed Pilkington writes in the Guardian, "That makes them a major, though unofficial, bloc within American politics."
And that's just the money that can be tracked of the attendees of one meeting, and these secret Koch meetings come twice a year. According to Lee Fang of ThinkProgress:
– At last year’s Koch fundraiser, Charles Koch promised to match every dollar committed by attendees. He raised $30 million dollars at the Aspen meeting in 2010, and hopes to do better this year, again matching every dollar raised with one of his own.
– The Koch meeting this year expects a larger group of donors, with 40% of the attendees as first time participants.
This time, though, those participants won't have quite the same level of secrecy. While they're inside the resort scheming how to pollute our democracy with their dirty money, hundreds of protestors will be outside to Uncloak the Kochs.