List of million-dollar Koch group donors leaks

The billionaires who fund the conservative movement accidentally receive a little unwanted publicity

Topics: Tea Parties, War Room, 2012 Elections, Libertarianism,

List of million-dollar Koch group donors leaksThe Koch brothers

The Koch brothers — the super-wealthy longtime funders of Republican politicians and libertarian think tanks and big industry front groups and much of the rest of the regulation-gutting anti-labor economic arm of the conservative movement for the last couple of decades — have a big retreat twice a year where they and their fellow wealthy donors to the cause coordinate their campaign strategy and congratulate themselves for loving Liberty so much. It is, obviously, all top-secret, and no one is supposed to know who attends or what they are doing. Except someone taped the conference this year and sent the tape to Mother Jones, so now we have a list of secret million-dollar donors to Koch-backed groups.

Think Progress revealed some of the invitees to one of last year’s meetings.. Increased awareness of the role the Kochs play in our national politics led to protests at the February retreat, which was suddenly guarded by hired goons. (Right-wingers decried these protests as assaults on the civil liberties of the Kochs and their billionaire friends.)

The Vail, Colo., Koch retreat, held in June, was similarly well-guarded. The Kochs prize their privacy above everything besides their right to spend an endless amount of secret money encouraging the adoption of policies that will allow them to continue making their money. Their friends feel similarly:

Audio technicians even set up outward-pointing speakers around the perimeter of the outdoor dining pavilion, according to sources, emitting static to frustrate would-be eavesdroppers.

But whoops: Someone was taping the whole thing from the inside. Including this part:

“There is anonymity that we can protect,” noted emcee “Kevin”—likely Kevin Gentry, a VP for the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation—as he gently urged guests to open their wallets in support of the brothers’ causes. Indeed, Charles Koch named 32 individuals and families who had donated more than $1 million over the previous 12 months, yet because of loopholes in federal campaign law, their donations do not exist in the public record.

So now we have this list, which is made up of names you may have heard before, if you follow conservative politics (the DeVoses) and a lot of names you probably haven’t. It’s an interesting collection of hedge fund billionaires, energy industry bigwigs, and other assorted corporate titans. They are desperate for anonymity because the Koch-ian worldview involves a hefty dose of fantastical paranoia, but also because their agenda (they get richer while the rest of us go to hell) tends to be pretty unpopular when it’s explicitly laid out.

So go read the list. You deserve to know who actually makes up the conservative movement.

Alex Pareene

Alex Pareene writes about politics for Salon and is the author of "The Rude Guide to Mitt." Email him at and follow him on Twitter @pareene

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Burger King Japan

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Burger King's black cheeseburger: Made with squid ink and bamboo charcoal, arguably a symbol of meat's destructive effect on the planet. Only available in Japan.

    Elite Daily/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    McDonald's Black Burger: Because the laws of competition say that once Burger King introduces a black cheeseburger, it's only a matter of time before McDonald's follows suit. You still don't have to eat it.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    Domino's Specialty Chicken: It's like regular pizza, except instead of a crust, there's fried chicken. The company's marketing officer calls it "one of the most creative, innovative menu items we have ever had” -- brain power put to good use.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    Arby's Meat Mountain: The viral off-menu product containing eight different types of meat that, on second read, was probably engineered by Arby's all along. Horrific, regardless.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    KFC'S ZINGER DOUBLE DOWN KING: A sandwich made by adding a burger patty to the infamous chicken-instead-of-buns creation can only be described using all caps. NO BUN ALL MEAT. Only available in South Korea.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Waffle Taco: It took two years for Taco Bell to develop this waffle folded in the shape of a taco, the stand-out star of its new breakfast menu.

    Michele Parente/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Krispy Kreme Triple Cheeseburger: Only attendees at the San Diego County Fair were given the opportunity to taste the official version of this donut-hamburger-heart attack combo. The rest of America has reasonable odds of not dropping dead tomorrow.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Quesarito: A burrito wrapped in a quesadilla inside an enigma. Quarantined to one store in Oklahoma City.

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Boston Pizza's Pizza Cake: The people's choice winner of a Canadian pizza chain's contest whose real aim, we'd imagine, is to prove that there's no such thing as "too far." Currently in development.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    7-Eleven's Doritos Loaded: "For something decadent and artificial by design," wrote one impassioned reviewer, "it only tasted of the latter."

  • Recent Slide Shows



Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>