It turns out that Doug Ducey, the ice cream man hired by Koch Industries to run their Southwest subsidiary formerly known as the state of Arizona, is attending ‘Kochtopus’ Coachella 2015 this weekend for billionaires looking to buy a GOP candidate. The Arizona Republic reported, Doug Ducey to attend Koch network summit:
Gov. Doug Ducey, whose campaign benefited from the spending of “dark money” non-profits linked to the billionaire Koch brothers, will attend an exclusive gathering this weekend hosted by a Koch umbrella group.
The Republican governor will travel to a Southern California resort to attend one day of the conference hosted by Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce. The gathering is expected to draw hundreds of wealthy conservatives.
During his 2014 gubernatorial campaign, Ducey touted his candidacy at a retreat hosted by the prominent financiers and applauded “the power of organizations” backed by the Koch brothers.
“Gov. Ducey is looking forward to this event,” a statement from Ducey spokesman Daniel Scarpinato said. “It’s an excellent opportunity to engage with other advocates of limited government and free enterprise, including national business and policy leaders and elected officials from around the country.”
* * *
Ducey received millions of dollars in dark money during his campaign. And since taking office, one group, American Encore, spent money during the legislative session to bolster Ducey’s education agenda with robocalls that blasted a school superintendent who, with robocalls of his own, had asked parents to contact political leaders to object to Ducey’s proposal to reduce non-classroom spending.
Howard Fischer adds:
During the gubernatorial campaign, a group called American Encore put more than $750,000 into ads targeting Democrat candidate Fred DuVal and spent another $650,000 promoting Ducey.
That group is the successor to the Koch brothers-financed Center to Protect Patient Rights run by Phoenix political consultant Sean Noble. The group is organized under federal tax laws as a “social welfare” organization and does not disclose its donors.
Its ties to Ducey and Arizona politics actually go back three years, to when Ducey was leading the campaign to defeat a proposition that would have implemented a permanent 1 cent sales tax, largely to fund education. Americans for Responsible Leadership put $500,000 into killing that 2012 ballot measure. Former Arizona House Speaker Kirk Adams , head of that group, has said its money came from the Center to Protect Patient Rights, which is now American Encore.
The Republic’s Laurie Roberts writes, Gov. Dark Money Ducey goes a-courtin’ the Kochs (again):
Gov. Doug Ducey is hotfooting it to California today to meet with the kings of dark money.
He’s headed to an exclusive California resort, to a summit hosted by the Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce – an annual Koch gathering that’ll draw some of the deepest political pockets in the nation.
“Gov. Ducey is looking forward to this event,” his spokesman Daniel Scarpinato told The Republic’s Yvonne Wingett Sanchez. “It’s an excellent opportunity to engage with other advocates of limited government and free enterprise.”
It’s also an excellent opportunity not only to pay homage to the billionaires who cleared a path for Ducey to the Arizona governor’s office, but to ensure that he’s in their pock…I mean, in their hearts and minds for his future political aspirations.
It’s worth noting that Ducey always seems to have a sizable, perhaps even inexhaustible, amount of dark money muscle behind him.
His defeat of the 2012 sales tax for schools – the campaign that transformed an obscure state treasurer into a political force — came with the help of Americans for Responsible Leadership, a dark-money group that sunk $925,000 into Ducey’s $1.8 million campaign to kill Prop. 204. Thanks to Internal Revenue Service records, we know that ARL, which spent an additional $575,000 to kill the top-two primary initiative, was funded almost wholly by the conservative network run by billionaire conservatives David and Charles Koch.
Ducey’s 2014 path to the governor’s office was lined with millions of dollars in Koch-connected dark money, which curiously always seemed to target whichever opponent appeared to stand in Ducey’s way.
Earlier this year, when Mesa Superintendent Michael Cowan spoke out about the damage being done to K-12 schools by Ducey’s proposed budget, he encountered the wrath of American Encore, a Koch-connected dark-money group that invested $1.5 million into getting Ducey elected and then into enforcing Ducey’s agenda.
So it’s no surprise to see Ducey kissing up to the Kochs and their pals at a secret southern Cal locale this weekend. No doubt, they will extol the virtues of private prisons, publicly funded private schools and tax cuts.
Sound familiar, Arizona?
This is not Ducey’s first Koch summit. Secretly recorded tapes released last fall by The Nation showed then gubernatorial candidate Ducey courting the Koch network at their annual secret California summit last summer — and not for the first time.
“I have been coming to this conference for years,” he said at the time. “It’s been very inspirational.”
Inspirational, no doubt, and highly profitable for a guy with political aspirations.
As Ducey told his secret pals last summer, the ones who are in the market to install their guys in positions of power across the country: “I can’t emphasize enough the power of organizations like this.”
The Rush Limbaugh of The Republic, Doug MacEachern, a stalwart defender of the Koch brothers and their corrupting influence on American politics, will no doubt now attack the reporters and opinion writers at The Republic for pointing out these facts.