Sunday night, a conservative political organization that has been called “the Koch Brothers’ secret bank,” hosted a forum for three potential Republican 2016 presidential hopefuls. The “American Recovery Policy Forum,” moderated by ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl, was advertised as closed to the public and closed to the press — though networks did have some access to an Internet video stream.
But while other reporters were not invited, MSNBC’s Morning Joe hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski were in attendance at the Palm Springs event and fawned over their “awesome” weekend — and about the billionaire oil magnates.
Scarborough noted that he had spoken at length with Charles Koch and found him to be a “true believer,” who is “obsessed” with “income disparity and, mainly, crony capitalism.” The former Republican Congressman from Florida added that Charles Koch “has no use for Republicans that support corporate welfare and no use for Democrats,” and “anyone who thinks that they are loyal, faithful Republicans have never talked to them for more than three minutes.” He also claimed that the anti-government activist Kochs are really mainstream social moderates with little patience for those who want “huge bloody battles on social issues”:
SCARBOROUGH: They believe in the freedom agenda, they believe in low taxes, they believe in low regulations. They are libertarians. They don’t want the federal government in your pocketbook, but they also don’t want them in your bedroom. They’re like, I think, most Americans.
Watch the video:
Scarborough and the show’s panelist further praised the Kochs for their philanthropic efforts in support of museums, concert halls, hospitals, and cancer research.
While David Koch has publicly supported marriage equality, the duo’s political network has almost entirely worked to elect social conservatives who oppose LGBT equality, abortion rights, and access to birth control. The secretive tax-exempt organization sponsoring Sunday’s Palm Springs event, Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, has distributed millions of dollars to the political entities most actively leading the fight in those areas, including Concerned Women for America (at least $260,000), Heritage Action for America (at least $500,000), Susan B. Anthony List (at least $150,000), and, through the Koch’s Evangchr4 Trust evangelical outreach fund, Focus on the Family’s CitizenLink.
Additionally, through their Americans for Prosperity, the Kochs helped direct millions of dollars in “independent expenditures” intended to elect socially conservative Republican candidates.
Several media experts told ThinkProgress last week that Jonathan Karl’s involvement with the event raised serious ethical questions.
An MSNBC spokeswoman declined to comment on their attendance.