Last October, ThinkProgress helped break the story about secret political strategy meetings, convened by polluter billionaires Charles and David Koch of Koch Industries, to coordinate the funding and direction of the conservative movement. Previous meetings have included Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia, top hedge fund managers like Cliff Asness, business executives, Republican strategists, and various other political operatives. Following the revelation of these meetings, a group of progressive organizations protested the most recent meeting in Rancho Mirage, California last weekend. ThinkProgress revealed a partial list of the attendees, including GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain, Americans for Prosperity officials like Alan Cobb, political consultant Michael Goldfarb, longtime lobbyist Nancy Pfotenhauer, and a number of donors, including Home Depot founder Ken Langone and billionaire heiress Diane Hendricks.
ThinkProgress has now learned of another attendee addressing the Koch meeting: House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI). Ryan’s office confirmed his attendance this afternoon to ThinkProgress. Ryan, who has a long record of flying off to junkets for groups of bankers like the Club for Growth, is pushing forward with radical cuts to Medicare and Social Security in his “Roadmap for America’s Future.” In line with Koch’s peculiar supply-side side ideology of soaking the the poor, Ryan’s budget idea also calls for increasing taxes on the middle class, while cutting them for the rich. Other Republican legislators were at the event, including Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA).
The Politico’s Ken Vogel, who was threatened with arrest by Koch’s security detail, noted that retired Sysco chief John Woodhouse and former Jack Abramoff associate Patrick Pizzella were at the event as well.