Who was at the Koch Corporate Caucus in Vail, Colo.?

The exclusive Ritz-Carlton Resort at Bachelor Gulch near Vail, where the Koch brothers’ invitation-only strategy conference is believed to be being held. Photo by Alan Franklin, ProgressNow Colorado.

Billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch held their twice a year meeting of corporate titans, political operatives, and public officials in Beaver Creek Colorado (near Vail)  The event started Sunday and wrapped up today. Six months ago, Common Cause helped draw attention to these secretive meetings by staging a rally in Rancho Mirage, Calif., and we made sure to bring the attention and protests to Vail.

Its normal for people who want to discuss political strategy to do so in private, after all why tell your adversaries what you are planning? But the Kochs go to great lengths to prevent people from knowing even of the existence of these meetings.  Maybe that’s because if people knew that the Kochs and their fellow CEOs were bankrolling pundits we see on TV (like from the CATO Institute, Heritage Foundation, or American Enterprise Institute), the organizations claiming to speak for the Tea Party (like Americans for Prosperity) and many candidates and elected officials (like WI Governor Scott Walker) they would assess their statements and actions differently.

We know from press accounts that Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell was there, as was Florida Governor Rick Scott and Texas Governor (and possible presidential candidate) Rick Perry.  Regardless of what they discussed, these elected officials served as a recruitment draw, to assist the Kochs in bringing together more billionaires to raise political money.  Their last gathering in Palm Springs brought in $49 million toward a goal of $88 million dollars.  While it would be illegal for Rick Perry to solicit corporate funds to run for governor of Texas (remember what happened to Tom DeLay?) or for him to coordinate activities with a corporate independent expenditure campaign regarding a presidential effort, his ability to hobnob with the consultants who could orchestrate such a campaign and the fat cats who could fund it while not yet a declared candidate presents a bit of an end run around what little campaign finance laws we have left in place.  Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli also attended.

Rally goers in Colorado, as they did in California, reminded the Kochs that corporations are not people, as the Supreme Court suggested in 2010's Citizens United ruling. Photo by Derek Cressman, Common Cause.

What we don’t know is which corporate CEOs were in attendance.  Maybe they don’t want their shareholders and customers knowing how they are spending their money without their consent.  But, we do have some clues.

I happened to be bird watching outside the Eagle/Vail airport on Saturday afternoon and noticed an unusual amount of private jet activity.   Here’s a list of the tail registration numbers on the planes I saw land and information on who owns them as provided by the FAA:

N707LX Target Corporation (Cuyahoga, Ohio)

N889TC Bank of America (Long Beach, Calif.)

N148MC Mountaire Corp (Arkansas)

N744XP Air Eagle LLC (Detroit, Mich.)

N224JD Conway Aviation (Austin, Texas)

N589QS NetJets (Oklahoma City, Okla.)

N444FX Bombardier Aerospace (Dallas, Texas)

N552SK Red River Mt. LLC (Phoenix, Ariz.)

N877SX MKP21 LLC (Scottsdale, Ariz.)

N703SM Butlers Island LLC (Fairfield, Conn.)

N2656A Ernest Koebberling (Lenoir, N.C.)

N265H Sammy Sterling Holdings (Miami, Fla.)

N432CS Citation Shares (Fairfield, Conn.)

N616CC Capster Radio/Clear Channel (San Antonio, Texas)

N300KH Seven KH Aviation LLC (Beloit, Wisc.)

N988T Eagle I LLC (Kalispell, Mont.)

N166ST Gables Corp (West Linn, Ore.)

N423BB Double B JETS (Lovely, Ken.)

N106SL AGC Aviation LLC

N245K Koch Leasing Co LLC (Wichita, Kans.)

N50AW Thoroughbred Aviation (Neward, Del.)

N4TILX Flight Options LLC (Richmond Heights, Ohio)

N617QS NetJets (Oklahoma City, Okla.)

N115L Jim Odom (Lufkin, Texas)

Most of these jets are chartered by different corporations or individuals, or owned on a time share basis so there is no definitive way to be sure who was on them on June 25, 2011.  Even the ones owned by corporations like Target and Bank of America may have been leased out to others and not necessarily used by their CEOs for this event.

But, this provides a starting place for bloggers and reporters who want to dig a little deeper at who might have been plotting political campaigns with the Kochs in Beaver Creek.  A list of those who attended the June 2010 Koch meeting in Aspen is posted here at ThinkProgress.

Kelly Maher from WhoSaidYouSaid.com came to videotape the rally on behalf of conservatives. Photo by Derek Cressman, Common Cause.

We also know that more than 50 people attended a rally to call attention to the Kochs meeting at a public park just below the gated community that housed the Ritz-Carlton resort where the Kochs met.  These folks, organized by Common Cause, Progress Colorado, the state AFL-CIO, Colorado Conservation Voters, Democracy for America, MoveOn.org and others held their meeting in public — with Koch operatives filming the entire show and even a guest with an American Enterprise Institute T-shirt.  I guess if you’ve got nothing to hide, then what’s the harm?


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