The vast right-wing conspiracy gets together for a meeting

THE VAST RIGHT-WING CONSPIRACY GETS TOGETHER FOR A MEETING…. Don’t expect to see any detailed reporting of arguably this weekend’s most important domestic political event, because journalists will be strictly prohibited.

This weekend, at a posh resort near Palm Springs, California, two billionaire corporate titans will convene a semi-annual meeting of a politically well-connected set. It will include wealthy donors and powerful Republicans, including House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.

At David and Charles Koch’s meeting, attendees will discuss items like how best to promote free markets and how to help elect conservatives. Donors are expected to be asked to donate to conservative causes.

It will be conducted virtually in secret, with no press or public allowed and many attendees keeping event details on the hush.

That’s fueled criticism that this gathering is a sort of secret cabal — a “Billionaires Caucus,” critics say. Robert Reich, former Labor Secretary in the Clinton administration, even said that the Koch brothers’ meeting represents “a threat to our democracy.”

By all appearances, this won’t be a casual chat among like-minded allies. Post Citizens United, the Koch Bros’ meeting is intended to collect a lot of checks to fund far-right institutions and the network that ties them together, and map a strategy to ensure the funds are invested well.

It’s the eight straight year for the gathering, which will reportedly include roughly 200 wealthy businessmen.

In the past, the meetings have drawn an A-list of participants – politicians like Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, leading free-market thinkers including American Enterprise Institute president Arthur Brooks, talkers Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck and even Supreme Court justices — to mingle with the wealthy donors who comprise the bulk of the invitees. The meetings adjourned after soliciting pledges of support from the donors — sometimes totaling as much as $50 million — to non-profit groups favored by the Kochs. […]

The Koch brothers — Charles and David — have come under intense scrutiny recently for their role in helping start and fund some of the deepest-pocketed groups involved in organizing the tea party movement such as Americans for Prosperity, and for steering cash towards efforts to target President Barack Obama, his healthcare overhaul, and congressional Democrats in the run-up to the 2010 election.

Liberal critics have launched a campaign to highlight what they say is the systematic way in which the Kochs use their political giving to advance a conservative economic and regulatory agenda designed to further the interests of their oil, chemical and manufacturing empire.

ThinkProgress has done some great work covering the Kochs’ gatherings, and reported this week that 40% of this weekend’s attendees will be first-time participants — the meetings, in other words, are growing — and organizers expect to top the $30 million raised during last year’s gathering in Aspen.