Tea Party Billionaire David Koch Entertains Newly Elected Republicans On The First Day Of The New Congress

Today, as Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) was sworn in as the Speaker of the House for the 112th Congress, ThinkProgress witnessed a group of Koch Industries lobbyists entering the Capitol along with members of Congress and their families. Tim Phillips, a former business partner to Jack Abramoff who now leads the Koch front group Americans for Prosperity, was with Nancy Pfotenhauer, a former corporate lobbyist for Koch Industries. ThinkProgress learned that David Koch, the polluter billionaire who has bankrolled groups organizing the Tea Parties and much of the modern conservative movement, was also in attendance in the Capitol for Boehner’s swearing-in event.

After the ceremony, David Koch walked up to Rep. Frank Guinta (R-NH) — a freshman Republican Koch helped to elect using his front group, Americans for Prosperity — and asked him to confirm that he will be attending a party that Koch is hosting for Republicans. Guinta said he would be at the party, which began at 5:00pm today.

Koch has been one of the most active players in Republican politics in the Obama era. His group Americans for Prosperity helped orchestrate much of the Tea Party movement; he funds many of the top conservative think tanks, like Heritage and the American Legislative Exchange Council; and, he also ran tens of millions of dollars in attack ads to elect the new Republican Congress. As ThinkProgress reported, Koch convened a secret meeting of top business leaders — mostly bankers, industrialists, and oil men — to meet with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Glenn Beck to plan the midterm election in June 2010.

ThinkProgress also spoke to Mr. Koch, and will post a video of the interview soon.