January 30, 2011- This weekend, David and Charles Koch, co-owners of the Koch Industries conglomerate of chemical, timber, oil and manufacturing interests, are hosting their twice annual meeting to coordinate strategy and raise funds for the conservative movement. In October, ThinkProgress brought these meetings to light with a memo detailing the last Koch event, held in June, where corporate interests collaborated to help Republicans dominate the election last year. The memo we published showed that the last meeting included a number of wealthy business executives, along with leaders from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Glenn Beck. Previous meetings have featured top Republican politicians and conservative Supreme Court justices. ThinkProgress is reporting from the ground in Rancho Mirage for this meeting, and has learned new information about the attendees:
– Ken Langone, an investment banker and founder of Home Depot, is attending the Koch meeting this weekend. Langone helped found the new Karl Rove network of front groups known as American Action Network, American Action Forum, and American Crossroads/Crossroads GPS, which together delivered an unprecedented wave of attack ads against Democrats last year. Langone and his fundraiser, Fred Malek, attended previous Koch meetings.
– Karl Crow, a Koch-funded operative, will unveil a new voter-targeting system to help Republicans win back the White House in 2012. Last summer, Crow published a memo arguing that corporations should take advantage of the Citizens United decision to flood money into the midterm elections. His memo also claimed that the decision could give corporations unlimited power to coerce their employees into supporting particular pieces of legislation or candidates.
– The first “serious” GOP contender for the presidency, Herman Cain, is at the Koch meeting. Cain, a talk show host and former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, has been a frequent guest at events sponsored by Koch front groups like Americans for Prosperity.
On Thursday, ThinkProgress revealed other attendees of this year’s Koch meeting, like billionaires Richard DeVos and Diane Hendricks. Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) will be in attendance, according to National Review. Also, we learned that 40% of the donors this weekend will be new to the Koch meetings, and that Charles Koch has promised to match ever dollar raised with one of his own.