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Californians to protest against Koch brothers in Rancho Mirage
Environmentalists, labor union members and liberal activists across Southern California are mounting a protest Sunday in Rancho Mirage against billionaire "tea party" funders Charles and David Koch and their semiannual confab of conservative activists.

The brothers, who own oil refineries across the U.S., helped fund last November's Proposition 23, the failed ballot initiative to delay California's landmark global warming law, AB 32. They are major backers of groups that seek to refute scientific evidence of global climate change.

The Kochs' regular gatherings attract several hundred Republican officials and wealthy business executives to raise money for conservative causes. In the past, the Koch-sponsored conferences have attracted such luminaries as Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas along with GOP members of Congress.

The counter-meeting, dubbed "Uncloaking the Kochs," will feature former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, Oakland green energy activist Van Jones, and constitutional scholar Edwin Chemerinsky at a panel discussion at the Hilton Rancho Mirage, two blocks from where the Koch group is meeting. Protesters will rally afterward on the street.

"The Kochs will be able to see the protesters from their resort," said Derek Cressman, a spokesman for Common Cause, the nonprofit group that is organizing the event. More than 500 people have signed up so far to take buses leaving from Culver City, Los Angeles' Koreatown, the San Fernando Valley, Riverside, Whittier, San Bernardino and the San Diego area, organizers said.

In a conference call Thursday, Reich said the Koch brothers' financing of Citizens United, a group that led the Supreme Court to lift restrictions on corporate funding of political campaigns, has "opened the floodgates" to wealthy contributors, widened the gap between rich and poor and enabled "billionaires entering the political fray big time."

De Ann McEwan, co-president of the California Nurses Assn., said her union and others were joining the protest because of the Koch brothers' opposition to Social Security and Medicare, which they have cloaked behind "Astroturf front groups."

UPDATE: Streaming video of the “Uncloaking the Kochs” panel is available at

RELATED: Billionaire Koch brothers back Prop 23

—Margot Roosevelt

UPDATED photo: Greenpeace flew an airship over Rancho Mirage Friday with a banner reading "Koch Brothers Dirty Money," as businessmen, politicians and conservative activists began to arrive for a semi-annual confab sponsored by Charles and David Koch, the billionaire brothers who own Koch Industries, the nation's second largest private company. Credit: Gus Ruelas/Greenpeace

Comments () | Archives (62)

The comments to this entry are closed.

LA deserves better, centrist journalism. Give up the "green fetish."

Kudos to Common Cause, Robert Reich and Van Jones for pulling this event together. The Koch Bros didn't care about California and Californians when they backed the destructive Prop 23 with $1M or when they supported the Citizens United case to let corporations take over our elections - and they sure don't care about us now. It's time they were told that they and their polluting, politically manipulative agenda are not welcome here.

Sure, Van Jones is Communist. Why not? After all, you're an anonymous message board poster who claims that Obama is a Socialist who wasn't born in America. What you have successfully is tell me a lot more about you (lame, lame, lame) than say anthing remotely interesting about Mr. Jones and the movement to protest the fear mongering, reality denying, multi-billionaire oil tycoons. What a tool.

Wow, what a lot of rightwingnut comments so far. All of them repeat the Limbeckian talking lies and attack the LAT, but like so many teabaggers who can't see who is pulling their puppet strings, they cannot refute the points in Ms. Roosevelt's article. Just bray loudly and ignore the facts, that's the teabagger way.

Hey, dimbulbs--the article ain't about Soros, it's about the super secretive Koch bros who keep that wool pulled over your eyes, and the reaction by concerned Californians to these oil robber baron's dog and pony show.

Uncloak them, by all means.

So Soros is not entitled to an opinion? Most of these posted arguments imply or assume that they come from a position of truth. Think again. Stand back and re-examine your statements. You present opinions with no factual evidence that Soros is a "socialist" (we can tell who watches FOX 24/70).

Could it be that the real monsters are the Kochs and their fellow travellers who seek to bombard the airwaves and all forms of media with only one view - theirs, a far right extreme vision of America with no rules for Wall Street, Big Oil and Big Banks and no social safety net for the other 98% of us?

Since the Roberts Court ruled that corporations are equivalent of "persons" who have the right to spend unlimited (and undisclosed) amounts to skew elections to their far right view, we need to take note and fight back and reclaim our country from the oligarchs. Where is Teddy Roosevelt? We need to clone him and reign in the excess of the big money interests.

For all you tea partiers, you are being duped into going against your own interests. The Tea Party movement is a bogus shell movement funded by the Koch Brothers to stave off any inklings of democracy and balanced debate.

So, yes the protests are a valid expression of how much of America sees this mess created by deregulation and unbridled greed. OK, Tea Partiers, let's say we defund all government programs. Do you really think the country will then recover from this economic nightmare created by the Libertarian crowd at the Federal Reserve.

Reich, Jones and Chemerinsky. Three socialists supported by Common Cause.

You gotta laugh.

Its a story not fabricated out of whole cloth - why does the Los Angeles times continue to exist - especially with ill-conceived articles like this one and the idiot meanderings of George Skelton - this state is in the toilet -

Nice propaganda piece typical of the low standards of the L.A. Times.

Common Cause is backed by George Soros.

At least four members of George Soros's Democracy Alliance, the billionaire socialists' club, have also given big to Common Cause, which suggests that Common Cause is a Democracy Alliance-approved grantee. The list includes Soros's Open Society Institute ($1,225,000 since 2001), Lewis B. & Dorothy Cullman Foundation Inc. ($75,000 since 2004), Rutt Bridges Family Foundation ($23,000 since 2004), and Gill Foundation ($20,000 since 2004).

As far as corporate donations and the alleged "floodgates" the Democrat party received more donations,

Democrats Rake In Record Donations From Corporations
Obama's Outrage Over Corporate Influence Overlooked A Record Fundraising Haul

During his State of the Union address, President Obama decried the potential for a crush of corporate money – even foreign money – to enter the American political system in the aftermath of the recent landmark Supreme Court ruling that alters who can contribute to candidates.

Perhaps the liar Robert Reich and self professed Communist Van Jones should first clean up and protest their own before attempting to point fingers and protest the ultra left wing "Progressive" Democrat party.

Margot Roosevelt is not a "Journalist" but a simple propagandist for "AstroTurf" pseudo activists.

"They are major backers of groups that seek to refute scientific evidence of global climate change."

That's a little loaded of a comment, don't you think? They support groups that want to do scientific research in an era when people making money off of "global warming" are trying to quell intelligent discussion. While "refute" could be technically correct based on definition, its normal use is usually saved for something that is already established as fact.

I find it ironic that the signs against Prop 23 are against oil, but the person who supported No on 23 the most has millions in investments in Chinese Solar manufacturing that has already claimed hundreds of state jobs.

Short-sighted is an understatement...

The headline of this article makes it sound like Californians as a whole support this protest, which is absolutely not true. Van Jones, an avowed communist, had to step down from the most far-left administration in US history because of his extreme views. Other groups that are part of this protest are backed by George Soros.

It's a nice contrast between Soros and the Koch brothers. Both are wealthy, but the Koch brothers are industrialists who actually make things and contribute to the real economy. George Soros is nothing but a financial saboteur who made his money destroying national economies by shorting their currencies.

Labor unions - but of course!

Anything their involved in protesting I AM ALL FOR!!!!

An honest headline would be "Unions protest against Koch brothers"

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