AFL-CIO Now Blog: Unmasking the Billionaire Caucus—Watch Live

-By Tula Connell

January 27, 2011- A handful of people with very deep pockets operate behind closed doors to attack the gains made by working people and advance their own selfish interests at the expense of our nation’s democracy. The Koch brothers are among them.

This weekend, as billionaires David and Charles Koch convene a meeting of 200 massively wealthy business and conservative activists for the eighth straight year, the nonprofit watchdog group Common Cause is holding a series of counter events.

““Uncloaking the Kochs: The Billionaires’ Caucus and Its Threat to Our Democracy” will include a Jan. 30 panel disucussion followed by a rally outside the Rancho Las Palmas resort in Rancho Mirage, Calif., where the Kochs & Co. are meeting. The panel will be live streamed. To sign up, click here.

Panelists include former Labor Secretary Robert Reich; Van Jones, Center for American Progress senior fellow; Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the law school at the University of California-Irvine; Lee Fang, investigative journalist at the Center for American Progress; and DeAnn McEwen, co-president of the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United (CNA/NNU).

The Koch family has been instrumental in orchestrating the tea party movement and funding much of the modern right-wing infrastructure. Koch brothers, heirs to the oil and chemical conglomerate Koch Industries, have founded or funded dozens of conservative or libertarian publications, think tanks and attack groups, according to an investigative piece by The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer. Their father, Fred Koch, similarly fueled the paranoid right-wing movements of the 1950s and 1960s through his financing of the John Birch Society.

CNA/NNU are key organizers of a rally that will follow the “Uncloaking” forum. Says McEwen:

As nurses, we are dedicated to the values of caring and compassion. Hiding behind astroturf front groups and shadowy financing of campaigns, the Koch brothers and their allies have shown a heartless contempt for these values on every level. We believe the American people deserve to know who is causing their pain.


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