I Challenged Mitch McConnell on Offensive Koch Remarks

During Senate debate on a constitutional amendment to limit money in politics, Harry Reid discussed offensive remarks made by Richard Fink, the Koch brothers’ top strategist, in audio recently released by The Undercurrent, from their June retreat.  Reid called on Mitch McConnell, who spoke at the retreat, to repudiate the statements.  At the daily Senate press briefing that afternoon, I asked McConnell if he would do so…  Check out his priceless reaction…

 

 


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EXCLUSIVE AUDIO: Koch Lawyer Analyzes the Opposition

AUDIO WAS OBTAINED FROM A SOURCE WHO WAS PRESENT.

THE AUDIO IS REDACTED TO REMOVE HARD TO HEAR PORTIONS AND PROTECT THE ANONYMITY OF THE SOURCE.

.

 

MORNING SESSION: THE STRATEGY IN ACTION

June 16, 2014

SPEAKER:

MARK HOLDEN, GENERAL COUNSEL OF KOCH INDUSTRIES

“The Opposition:

Understanding Their Strategy and Infrastructure”

 

P R O C E E D I N G S

KEVIN GENTRY:  Mark Holden, our General Counsel at Koch Industries, is going to talk a little bit about some reports recently uncovered about (inaudible) the opposition. Mark, take it away.

MARK HOLDEN: Thanks, Kevin. Good morning, everybody. (Inaudible) I’m here to talk about our opposition, the Democracy Alliance, and it’s part of an organization, a vast group, for the Obama Administration (inaudible). Three things I want to discuss. One, who they are (inaudible); two, what they’re doing; and three, what does it mean for us.

For those of you not familiar with the Democracy Alliance, it was started in 2005, and it was started by a group of (inaudible) wealthy liberal philanthropists and business owners, and they were coming together. They wanted to (inaudible) Democracy Alliance endorsed. We’ve been able to learn a lot more details about them in the last couple of months from documents that someone in the group, Democracy Alliance, left behind at their last seminar.

KEVIN GENTRY: (Inaudible) both ways. We’ve got a lot more, so.

(Laughter.)

MARK HOLDEN: And it’s very interesting stuff. At the end of the sessions here, we’re going to have some handouts, and you’ll be able to see some of the documents that we were able to get a hold of. And it was all – I’m general counsel (inaudible) legal, appropriate with (inaudible).

(Laughter.)

MARK HOLDEN: What you’re going to see, though, is a very vast network that the left infrastructure, (inaudible) talk about a permanent infrastructure again and again and again, that has, according to their own documents, at least 172 different organizations, and we’ll talk about that. The overwhelming number of these organizations are two 501(c)(3)s, 501(c)(4)s who don’t disclose their donors. Neither does Democracy Alliance. They don’t disclose their members. The overwhelming majority of them have attacked (inaudible) in the last 40 days. And that’s not going to let up.

Some of the names involved in the Democracy Alliance I’m sure you know: George Soros, Tom Steyer, Peter Lewis, Rob McKay, the heir of the Taco Bell empire, and Chris Hughes, one of the co-founders of Facebook.

Now, the strategy they’re focusing on is very different. They stay on message (inaudible) investments and have everybody in line. Their bottom line is not that different than ours, but in some ways they’re much better at it.

—CUT IN AUDIO—

…who are committed to a strong democracy and a more progressive America, who play a leadership role in building a movement infrastructure to execute and advance a progressive agenda.

And they don’t say this, but I’ll say it. They had a really big head start in building their infrastructure — 70 years’ head start. And here’s what they build on (inaudible) infrastructure (inaudible) a permanent bureaucracy in the regulatory system. They built it on unions and what they did (inaudible).

Of course, they don’t have to worry about the media (inaudible) like we do (inaudible). The media will lie for them. They basically own them in many ways. The media, like the New York Times for example. They’re also (inaudible) the teachers’ union. And then, of course, by and large, traditionally, our educational institutions, which if you went to public school, in a blue-collar town (inaudible) like I did, (inaudible) that they wanted it.

(Laughter.)

MARK HOLDEN: Because kindergarten through grade 12 and then go to college at the University of Massachusetts, four more years of this. (Inaudible) but he never learned.

(Laughter.)

MARK HOLDEN: But anyway, they built on all that when they started. They really started on third base. And one might (inaudible) say, they didn’t build that, but they relied on it. Last year about this time, the Democracy Alliance had a meeting out here (inaudible).

(Laughter.)

MARK HOLDEN: And afterwards Rob McKay — Rob McKay opened up to an LA Times reporter about what they’re trying to do. And he was one of the co-founders and a former board member. And he (inaudible) resources to specific political issues, does not deter the broader strategy. “We have got to do both. Every dollar we’re putting into this is into groups that are part of the permanent infrastructure.” And we talked about that yesterday, right? Yesterday (inaudible) you’ve got to do both (inaudible). But what we’re doing is trying to do it all at the same time and build up (inaudible) already have in place, that they’ve just glommed onto basically.

And so what they do is they try to build a permanent infrastructure to win elections, and they obsess about us, all of you. Mr. McKay goes on to say, “We keep an eye on what the Koch network is doing.” You can read that (inaudible).

This is the one quote that cracks me up. “The thing that I think keeps everyone on edge is the overwhelming dollars that they can throw at stuff. (Inaudible) groups on the left, okay. “I’m proud of the numbers we’ve generated over time, but we all know we’re going to have to be successful with less.” (Inaudible) I do like Taco Bell, but (inaudible) so I won’t go to Taco Bell anymore (inaudible).

Okay. So here’s what they’ve built, and these are some of the documents we were able to get. This is the 2014 portfolio snapshot, and of course it opens up with a warning about us, as you’ll see here in a second. (Inaudible) “Conservatives, particularly the Koch brothers are playing for keeps, with an even more pronounced financial advantage than in recent election cycles.” Not really true, as you’ll see in a minute, but anyway, thanks for the love.

So the next slide here will (inaudible) this is the core functions of the progressive movement. And this is in one of their documents where they identified 21 groups this cycle that they wanted their investors to focus on, and I did copy this if you want to see it afterward (inaudible). But I really want to focus on the left-hand side of the slide. There are 11 core areas they focus on, and then there are 21 groups.

Here’s the deal. If you look — if you do the math here, there are 21 groups identified that they want their investors to focus on. Nineteen of the 21 are focused on that yellow bulb: advancing progressive ideas, (inaudible) communicating propaganda, get the message out. Nineteen of the 21 are focused on — it’s the red one at the bottom with the two arrows –integrating state/national attacks, coordinating activities and messaging.

And that’s the one thing I admire about them, somewhat – they are always on message both ways: national, state, and local (inaudible). (Inaudible) story. We have about 47 (inaudible) what happens. Lastly, 17 of the 21 are focused on that green, kind of aqua above the (inaudible) grassroots network. So that’s what they’re focused on there. They’re constantly recruiting new talent, innovating, (refreshing, getting the group started,) building the movement like we talk about. Yeah, I mean this isn’t rocket science (inaudible) political science.

But here’s the deal. This is what we’re trying to do. They’re building and they had a 70-year head start, and this is what they’re building up, and they’re still focused on it again, and again, and again. And that’s what we need to do.

Now, Harry Reid during his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee two weeks ago, for the Koch amendment to the First Amendment, as it was called. He said that the Koch brothers must have 15 different phony organizations that pump money into the system. Well, Harry Reid was wrong again, that if you include the groups that are on the Freedom Partners 990 last year, which is they’re talking about our organization (inaudible) going on. I don’t know what Harry Reid was talking about.

You have 31 groups (inaudible). So let’s say we have 31 groups in our network. None of them (inaudible). They’re actually doing stuff (inaudible) and they know that. But look at what the progressives have, what the left has. This is their — one page of the progressive infrastructure map for 2014, just one page. They have 172 groups, 172. I was really bad at math, but 172 is a lot more than 31.

And here’s the deal. These groups, 113 of them have attacked us — attacked us repeatedly. So that’s what we’re up against. And this was the progressive infrastructure map. I think they must’ve run out of names or something because MoveOn (inaudible) et cetera. But it’s pretty — it’s pretty comprehensive. It’s pretty impressive at some level.

So we have to take a step back because most of these groups on these lists have (c)(3)s and (c)(4)s, as I mentioned to you earlier. So what we have here is the Democracy Alliance, funding (inaudible) a shadowy network of c(3)s, c(4)s – who don’t disclose their donors, remember — who attack us as a shadowy network of c(3)s, c(4)s) (inaudible). Whatever they may say about us goes the same for them.

Now here’s something people don’t know about. We don’t have these — we have many more ideas and tactics.

—CUT IN AUDIO—

Charles and I, we’ve been working on these issues for 50 years or more, but in the last year, because of the LIBRE Initiative, Generation Opportunity, Concerned Veterans for America, Americans for Prosperity, and many others — I don’t want to — by not mentioning them, I don’t mean to exclude them. They’ve been very effective. They’ve done a great job. And I’ve always accepted and appreciated everything this group, this room has done. I really do.

(Inaudible) all morning (inaudible). And what we have is a drop in the bucket compared to the left. (Inaudible) and they outnumber us. They outnumber us by a lot. So why do we get all the love? We know this, right? We talk about it all the time. Because you’re effective. If you weren’t any good, they wouldn’t care. You’re eff-, you’re effective, and here’s the deal. They know. And you know the quote, first they ignore you, then they mock you, then they attack you, and then we win. We’re close to winning. I don’t know how close, but we should be because they can’t attack the ideas. They don’t have the real path. All they do is target and they just try to silence people. You know, they’re afraid of us. They really are. They’re afraid of this room.

—CUT IN AUDIO—

MARK HOLDEN: And so, why are they doing it? The well-known philosopher, Bob Marley, said it best with “I Shot the Sheriff.”

(Laughter.)

MARK HOLDEN: They want to kill it before it grows. They didn’t do that. Too late. So they (inaudible). They still try to keep people from joining, try to shame them, embarrass them, whatever. And you know what? That’s dark, and that’s scary. And I’ll tell you, in some areas (inaudible).

You have been great. You’ve been a great group, a phenomenal group. But on the productive infrastructure slide we just looked at there are at least four groups: Voto Latino, Latino Engagement Fund, (inaudible) La Raza (inaudible). And that’s just four of them. (Inaudible) in the introduction, in 2011 — that’s the last time we have data for from their 990s — there were another 20 at least (inaudible) groups on the left (inaudible) $300 million, most of it through government grants.

So, LIBRE, awesome. We’re up against a lot, and they’re not satisfied that they outnumber us 24 to one now, so all the Federal money, all the left money. They still want us snuffed out. That’s the way they are.

You can look at our (Inaudible) on that list. We have progressive infrastructure map and core functions. You’ve got media groups. You’ve got income inequality groups. You’ve got environmental groups on climate change. You’ve got (inaudible) groups, whatever it is. They (swarm), they outnumber us in numbers, pure numbers. It’s not even close. But that’s okay because we’re going to grow. And it’s not about the numbers, but we have a lot of progress (inaudible). We are at a competitive disadvantage. For example (inaudible) you might have a (inaudible), right? Six to one (inaudible). Now, I don’t know what (inaudible).

(Laughter.)

MARK HOLDEN: (Inaudible) front groups across the board. Youth engagement, because of Generation Opportunity, I know there are other groups who are aligned with us, but really we should talk about Generation Opportunity. (Inaudible) progressive infrastructure (inaudible), and they’re growing more (inaudible). I’m not saying we do like they do and create a bunch of foreign organizations like Harry Reid accused us of. I’m just saying this has got to keep growing, because we’re doing a lot with a little.

But they’re very effective, and it’s not just numbers. I’m going to give a couple examples (inaudible) tomorrow. The first one deals with how they’re able to get their messages out very effectively in the mainstream media. And the second one is more troubling, more so than the first one. American Bridge, David Brock’s organization — I don’t know if you’ve (inaudible) of Media Matters for America. And he’s also the head of American Bridge. This is a group that’s been active for like, several years. (Inaudible) et cetera, et cetera. It was on May 14th, that — a Wednesday night, I got an e-mail from Mike Allen of Politico saying, “Hey, David Brock (inaudible) party guy. Do you have any comment?”

—CUT IN AUDIO—

And then that afternoon, another of our media people got a call from (inaudible) affiliate. He called Koch. He was asking for comment. He wanted to talk about the (inaudible). It was David Koch’s candidacy for the 1980 Libertarian Party, but it was a (inaudible).

(Laughter.)

MARK HOLDEN: And he says no, I’ve got a bunch of documents, David’s scholarly writings from the 70s and 80s. And they’re like, okay, and (inaudible). So we gave some quotes and comments. That was Thursday afternoon. Sunday morning, front page of the New York Times (inaudible). American Bridge gave them that.

Now I (inaudible), from the, you know, Wednesday to the front page of the New York Times, the Sunday Times, which a lot of people read. Very effective.

The next one is actually a larger problem: the American Constitution Society. I don’t know how many of you’ve heard of them. They were established — they are supposed to be the left-wing, progressive Federalist Society. That’s how they market themselves. The Democracy Alliance, what are their core values? (Inaudible) core values (inaudible). One of them is to preserve and defend an independent judiciary. Well, the American Constitution Society, one of their alumni, you might have heard of — Eric Holder.

(Laughter.)

MARK HOLDEN: No? Okay. The really obvious thing Holder (inaudible), a real focus for him, fundamentally changing the (inaudible) U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Prior to November of last year, the D.C. Circuit was evenly split with acting judges, four conservatives, four liberals. And they wanted to get three more judges who were in the pipeline confirmed.

—CUT IN AUDIO—

He couldn’t get anything through the Congress when he controlled the House and the Senate. Ain’t nothing happening now. But he’s had (inaudible), and he’s got all of these agencies running wild (inaudible) and before that.

So here’s what’s going on. All these things — (inaudible), the IRS (inaudible), HHS, Dodd-Frank, NLRB, the list goes on and on — ultimately they’re all going to come up to the D.C. Circuit to be challenged by the different groups, some of the groups that (inaudible).

And so, what happened was — well, first off, here’s our friend again. This is different because it was nine years ago.

—CUT IN AUDIO—

So what happened? November of last year, Senator Reid and the Democrats (inaudible) the filibuster rule. You didn’t need 60 votes to get anything done anymore. You could confirm appellate court judges and district court judges with a straight line vote. And so, what happened next? Wow. We have four judges appointed to the D.C. Circuit Court.

—CUT IN AUDIO—

This is serious, though. Seven to four now progressive. That stuff is all coming up. Rule of law goes out the window. Everything goes out the window. They just want to win. Alright, so what do we do? Well, let’s look at one more slide (inaudible). This is the amount of money…

—CUT IN AUDIO—

And then on top of that, they say there’s, another $30 million given to about 150 other groups just by Democracy Alliance. So if we’re already up to $330 million, (inaudible). So that’s another $100 million.

Then we have Big Labor. They say they’re going to spend $300 million. That’s quite low. That was in the New York Times, but we’ll go with that number. Then let’s add $400 million. That’s what PACs and super PACS have already spent this cycle (inaudible). Now, we’re not sure how much of that would be included in the labor money. I don’t know. It’s hard to know, but maybe we’ll (inaudible). It doesn’t really matter at this point (inaudible) a billion is what we estimate the massive amount of what PACS and super PACS are going to spend on Democratic (inaudible) on that number.

—CUT IN AUDIO—

Not sure if that’s the right number or not. It’s somewhere in that ballpark. So that’s $2.2 billion.

So here’s the deal. 172 is a lot more than 31. $2.2 billion is a lot more than $290 million. But they’re still afraid of us because we have the facts, we have the ideas, we have the commitment. And at some point, some time, some way, we’re going to have to stop talking about shadowy organizations, and billionaires, and millionaires, and whatever else. And when we stick to the ideas, (inaudible) lives better. We have the facts, and they know that.

So we’ve got to hang in there. We can’t give up. I know (inaudible). None of you will back down (inaudible). We can’t back down, and we won’t back down. Now, (inaudible).

So next up, Marc Short and Tim Phillips (inaudible) the Senate.

(END OF SESSION.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EXCLUSIVE AUDIO: Koch Retreat Talks United Negro College Fund

AUDIO OBTAINED FROM A SOURCE WHO WAS PRESENT.

HIGHLIGHTS OF PANEL BELOW VIDEO CLIP BELOW.  FULL CLIP TO COME.

OPENING SESSION

June 15, 2014

SPEAKER:

DALE GIBBENS, RICHARD FINK, NORMAN REIMER,

STEVE LOMBARDO, AND DR. MICHAEL LOMAX

Part 3

“Drive the National Conversation”

 

P R O C E E D I N G S

KEVIN GENTRY: All right, ladies and gentlemen, if you would please take your seats. Well, we’re going to continue to get really valuable feedback on how we can make these meetings better from your standpoint that really informs how we put these programs together and how to organize them and structure them. And one of the things that we figured out for talking points for Senate material from the presentations is we’re going to give a lot of that to you tomorrow in some of the afternoon presentations. And if we don’t get it to you tomorrow, we’ll follow up with you as well so that — I know a number of folks are trying to take notes very quickly. Sometimes (inaudible) what you think will be most helpful to you, and perhaps you can use it more effectively as well.

I know Will Ruger has a lot on his plate. I think he’s also willing to make that presentation to other groups if you think it would be valuable (inaudible). What are you doing back there? My God (inaudible). Thank you very much, Dale. You got to like him. You really do.

So this afternoon is essentially divided into three presentations that take the form that Rich was making in the previous presentation on the three topics (inaudible) today: driving the national narrative, taking advantage of science and the universities, and then also advancing in the states.

And so, toward this, as in the other conversation, Dale Gibbens who has become somewhat familiar to a number of you all (inaudible). Dale is the head of human resources at Koch Industries, and you’ll hear the story about Charles recruiting him (inaudible) for leadership in this effort and also building these capabilities. And (inaudible) interesting ways to talk about it a little bit more effectively to communicate to you guys here, and educate you specifically more effectively on the dangers of big government as well as the advantages of a free society. So, Dale, take it away.

DALE GIBBEN: Thank you, Kevin, and I’m glad to be here. Welcome to all of you to beautiful Southern California. I hear it’s (inaudible). So I’m glad to be here.

Well, as Charles and others have mentioned, the reason we’re here doing what we do is to help improve people’s lives as they see it. And we believe that advancing a free society as a top (inaudible) is the most effective, and frankly, maybe the only way to make this happen.

So I’m very excited for this panel this afternoon. It’s going to be very interesting. We believe that the critical piece of this strategy at this point out is to drive a national conversation with the goal to have citizens across the country who are debating and discussing and actually working on real solutions instead of just firing rhetoric and lashing out back and forth with each other. So this afternoon what we’d like to do is to explore that a little bit and talk about how to drive the national conversation.

Now, clearly we are in the early stages of this. We are not anywhere near being able to (inaudible). But today we have a panel that’s going to focus on this, and focus, in particular, on reaching across divisional lines with potentially unlikely allies. And we’re going to talk a little bit about that today in order to find common ground and figure out how we can work together to have a conversation and begin to develop real solutions to help people improve their lives.

So I’m excited for that. It’s our belief that we’re going to have to do this procedure, and we’re going to have to do it with people we may not always agree with on every issue. There’s no question that there’s some issues that we’ll talk about that these gentlemen up here (inaudible) there’s some that we may not completely agree on. To be honest with you, there’s a lot of people in this room that don’t agree with each other. I often disagree with Rich, but he’s convinced me that he’s right, so (inaudible).

So let me start by introducing by our panel today, and these guys — these gentlemen are the (inaudible) examples on how we form alliances that perhaps some wouldn’t expect and might surprise you a little bit.

So I’ll start off by introducing Dr. Michael Lomax to my left here next (inaudible). Dr. Lomax is the President of the United Negro College Fund, and you may have heard that recently Koch Industries and the Koch Foundation announced a partnership with UNCF where we’ll contribute up to $25 million for merit-based scholarships for young and women as they attempt to reach their potential through education. So we’re glad to have Michael with us this afternoon.

Next, down to my left is Norman Reimer. Norman is the Executive Director of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. This is a group that we’ve worked with for a number of years on over-criminalization issues, and have done a number of events recently. Norman will tell you a little bit more about that, what his group is doing, and their work is particularly focused on removing legal barriers for the impoverished population.

Next to him we have Steve Lombardo. Steve is our new — Koch Industries’ new Chief Marketing and Communications Officer. Steve brings a wealth of experience in the communications, messaging, and branding arena. In some ways, he’s become (inaudible) been working here for a while. Steve is going to — Steve is going to help us — he’s involved with the UNCF effort as well, and he’s going to help strategists.

And then we have another family member up here (inaudible). So Rich Fink. So let’s get started. All right, Rich, why don’t you kick things off and talk to us a little bit about why you believe driving the national conversation is so important, particularly (inaudible).

RICHARD FINK: (Inaudible) comments about (inaudible) and that is, I think what we need to do is pull the country together. You know, I think the American people (inaudible) really (inaudible) want to cooperate and solve problems and make things right, as opposed to these vicious (inaudible) another.

So in some sense, they do like — Norman and Michael, in our group are unlikely allies. In quite another sense, very smooth and natural allies, (inaudible) and reaching people that are working hard to add value to people’s lives. That’s exactly what we do. (Inaudible) areas of commonality to get something to done to help people reach their own full potential is exactly what we’re about, as he said.

And we do this (inaudible) taxpayers will unite America to focus on a positive vision. That’s what this group does. This group creates value, okay? The other side creates divisiveness, but we solve problems. And I think working with everybody who is (inaudible) to solve problems is exactly how (inaudible).

DALE GIBBENS: Michael, (inaudible).

MICHAEL LOMAX: Well, look, polarization is something we experience every day (inaudible) just demonstrated again that the nation is deeply divided, and it’s not just that people disagree. We demonize the people that we don’t agree with. And we think that they’re not just wrong-headed, they’re bad. And so, that’s a terrible environment to try to get anything done, and it’s an almost impossible environment in which to affirm something (inaudible) nationally, as opposed to merely sectarian.

So at the UNCF we’re not big idea people. We’re not ideological. We’re just trying to move a needle. And the needle that we’ve been trying to move for 70 years is getting African-American kids to and through college. We started doing that at the end of World War II in 1944. We couldn’t do it by ourselves, and we worked with business leadership in this country. John D. Rockefeller led our first campaign with $750,000 in 1944. And over the 70 intervening years, we’ve raised $4 billion (inaudible).

(Applause.)

MICHAEL LOMAX: Prescott Bush was on that first committee. You know, Eli Lilly was alive and well (inaudible). Paul Mellon and a whole a lot of wonderful people wrote checks. But they did it in order to help people help themselves. And today all we want to do is move that needle, to give more college-ready high school graduates a chance to earn a college degree and live their life. And so, I’m here working with, uh, in this partnership because this is what we’ve been doing for 70 years, and we’ve got to do a whole lot more. Thank you.

(Applause.)

DALE GIBBENS: Norm, what’s your perspective on that?

NORMAN REIMER: Well, my perspective — I’ll tell you why we have to have unlikely alliances in order to drive the national conversation. I come to this from the standpoint of a criminal defense lawyer. Our Constitution has the most amazing provision. It requires that when the government goes after someone and tries to take away their liberty, destroy their reputation, in some cases even take their livelihoods, they are entitled to have somebody stand up for them. Now, I would venture to say that there probably isn’t a single person in this group who doesn’t have a friend, or a relative, or a co-worker, a neighbor, someone who you care about who hasn’t been caught up in the criminal justice system in this country.

Our criminal justice system has become overly abusive, overly inclusive, and far detached from what it was supposed to do, which is to go after people who are fundamentally, practically bad people. And as a result of that, I want to just put some perspective on this and give some numbers. Numbers can be very, very enduring.

This country today has 2.1 million people in prison as we sit here. We have five percent of the world’s population and 25 percent of the world’s prisons. You heard Will Ruger in his wonderful speech earlier today talk about how we have four percent of the population and 34 percent of the world’s (inaudible). Well, there’s something very wrong. We aren’t a Nation of bad people. We couldn’t possibly be that bad. We are a Nation that has made bad choices, and these choices have been made by politicians of every perspective, and we have to do something about that.

And so, my view is that the way we’re going to do something about that is by reaching out to different points of view, find some common ground, and begin to get our arms around this problem. We have — I think it’s (inaudible) large numbers. (Inaudible) We are arresting 14 million people a year. There are between 65 and 70 million American adults who have a criminal record. That’s one in four adults in this country.

On top of all of that we have something called collateral consequences. These are the hidden penalties, the part of the sentences that aren’t imposed by a judge, that prosecutors don’t ask for, but that (inaudible) people for the rest of their lives, making it impossible to get into work, sometimes to get educational loans, to get into housing. We have got to tackle that problem. We’ve got to drive the national conversation. Look at this problem and face up to it.

(Applause.)

DALE GIBBENS: Awesome. Michael, could you explain a little bit more to us how you partnered with Koch and what exactly (inaudible)?

MICHAEL LOMAX: Well, first of all, although this has gotten a lot of attention, our friends at — Charles is laughing.

(Laughing.)

MICHAEL LOMAX: And, you know, and we knew we were going to get attention. And what I have hopefully demonstrated to Charles is that what I said as far that once given a grant, UNCF does not return it, and so –

(Laughter.)

MICHAEL LOMAX: But no matter how tough the questions we would get from the media, they aren’t as tough as the questions I get from young people every day, which is, Dr. Lomax, how am I going pay for my college tuition? Today, UNCF is the number one provider of scholarships for minority college students in this country. We will award 12,000 scholarships this year valued at $100 million and over to students at 900 colleges and universities. That’s scale and that’s impact.

But for every one of those scholarships, we’re going to turn down nine highly qualified kids because we don’t have the money to support them. So when I came to Koch Industries, who’s been a partner of ours now for nine years when they bought Georgia Pacific, I said, look, you know, you guys have been helping us with emergency scholarships and you’ve supported some of our assistance programs. Let’s do something together which, which demonstrates that if you make a $5,000 scholarship award to a student their freshman year of college, she has a 90 percent chance (inaudible). And you’ll increase the African-American — increase the African-American graduation rate by 70 percent.

So what we are working to do is to demonstrate that a small investment in a hardworking, industrious, focused student can remove a financial barriers and help her graduate, and we can do this with (inaudible). Twenty-five hundred dollars every semester (inaudible). And with the (inaudible) program, we’re hoping to demonstrate what that investment will (inaudible).

One of the criticisms we got from this was — mind control.

(Laughter.)

MICHAEL LOMAX: They have not met the kids. I can’t control my own kids (inaudible).

(Laughter.)

MICHAEL LOMAX: But what I will tell you is that students want the opportunity to pursue their academics without worrying about how they’re going to pay. And this is going to give good students the chance to focus on what they need to focus on, which is getting an education. And we’re going to focus on two areas that they’re going to work on across institutions and in the network, and that is entrepreneurship and innovation.

And the only thing I will tell you that African-American kids want more than a college degree is a successful career, and many of them want to work for great companies like Koch Industries and a whole lot of them want to start there. And so, I think that the one thing that we’re not hearing is that these folks don’t know anything about running a business. And so, we’re expecting that our students are going to a chance to learn from their successes (inaudible).

DALE GIBBENS: All right. You’ve been involved with a number of campaigns and in particular with the UNCF effort. Why is it so powerful for something like this (inaudible)?

STEVE LOMBARDO: You know, the — after (inaudible) about mind control, I’d really would like to do some of that in our communications efforts. Norman points out about the arrest rate and criminalization and so forth. Makes me wonder why Koch Industries wasn’t arrested for giving $25 million to UNCF.

(Laughter.)

STEVE LOMBARDO: It was a very important — and I think I credit Michael and the team for this. It was very important that we accentuate the positive about this. And part of that, and I give credit to a lot of people here, was message discipline along the way. When they’re (inaudible) are coming across, we stuck to our message, and our message was about helping people improve their lives. And in this case, he conveyed the news.

So, you know, in that case it was very easy to promote our conversation because we stuck to a positive message. And, you know, a lot of times Michael handled a lot of very difficult questions along the way, but we have a message discipline, and I think that was clear.

And, look, ultimately, the proof is in the pudding. We ended up with this AP story that Michael did an interview with. It was a terrific story. It was picked up by 30 media outlets across the country. And over a week’s period we had a little over 15,000 social media messages. Most of them were on Twitter. And of those, 87 percent were positive. So kudos to Michael and the team. They did a great job.

DALE GIBBENS: Norman, why don’t you talk a little bit more in detail about the project that you have?

NORMAN REIMER: (Inaudible) about where we’re going and how I think we’re going to (inaudible). Thank you for the investment that Koch Industries made with us. We’ve been able to build some bridges with (inaudible). So let me give you some of the basics of how this would work out.

We did a report a number of years ago that had a profound impact. It was cited widely on the failure of the Congress to have adequate intent requirements in the laws that they passed. Intent means the moral (inaudible). We seem to be punishing people that they don’t know that they did something wrong.

And this is a project I did jointly with the Heritage Foundation, an extraordinary (inaudible). And I was privileged to having as my co-author (inaudible), Former Attorney General Edwin Meese. I have to tell you that got a lot of attention. We went up to the Hill, and we presented it. And we had people that you wouldn’t believe would even be in the same room patting us on the back and thanking us for this work.

Another example is a coalition that gets together now every month on over-criminalization (inaudible). We have representatives from (inaudible) mandatory minimums, from the Chamber of Commerce, but all kinds of different groups. This is percolating (inaudible) and dialogue (inaudible) that common ground.

Another example is a quite an interesting story (inaudible), there is in the House a task force on over-criminalization. It’s been formed under the Crime Committee in Judiciary (inaudible) eight hearings on (inaudible) at different aspects of over-criminalization.

Now, I can’t say that anything is going to come out of this in this session of Congress. But what I can say is this. When you have a Bobby Scott, a Louis Gohmert, and John Conyers, and Goodlatte, and Sensenbrenner, and Bachus, and Hakeem Jeffries all sitting and working on a project together, that’s pretty remarkable.

I’ll give you two more examples. A few weeks ago, I was invited down to Austin by the Charles Koch Institute to do a — to participate in a panel that would be talking about this problem that we have with mass incarceration and how we get people reintegrated into society. That was a panel that not only included unions, but it included the right-on-crime folks. It included the former Police Commissioner from New York and former Federal inmate, Bernard Kerik. And it also included the President of the NAACP. And that combination of people up there on the stage (inaudible) lit up the social media networks. I mean, everybody was buzzing and chattering about what (inaudible) is that we’re coming together and we’re finding common ground on these things.

The last example I’ll give you is we just recently released a report on what we’re calling the “Restoration of Life,” which is how to fix this problem of getting people who have had a brush with the criminal law back into a productive mode. And the room was filled with people from across the political spectrum and the media, from NPR to the Wall Street Journal. That’s the kind of (inaudible) for.

So let me just close out my view on all of this by saying this. It’s obvious to anyone who’s spent 30 seconds with me that I’m passionate about criminal justice reform. But I’m even more passionate about our democracy. And I have come to the conclusion that we cannot afford the luxury of not having discourse with those we disagree with. Our system of checks and balances will permanently result in gridlock if we turn our back on discourse and compromise.

And I’ll close with just one very personal thing that I’ve been thinking about as I sit here today. When I was a young man growing up in the 1950s, I had — I was very interested in public affairs (inaudible). And I had two heroes. One was William F. Buckley, and the other was a man by the name of Allard Lowenstein (inaudible). I’m sure everybody knows Buckley. He was the father of the modern conservative movement.

But Allard Lowenstein was a very liberal congressman. He served one term in Congress and was most noted for leading the dump LBJ movement. But he was a brilliant man, and he would engage with Buckley on (inaudible) year in and year out. And they would have the most wonderful discussions. First, they would identify the issues, they would figure out where they agreed (inaudible), and then they would passionately talk about how (inaudible) had it all wrong. In the 1980s, Allard Lowenstein was tragically murdered by a deranged (inaudible). His family reached out to Bill Buckley (inaudible).

So the lesson to be learned from that is this. These are people who had fundamentally different ideologies, fundamentally different views, but both loved their country, and both were willing to engage. That’s what we have to do. That’s how we’re going to drive the discourse in this country. That’s how we’re going to drive the national conversation. Being willing to listen and absorb, and have thoughtful, thought-provoking interaction. And we will find solutions to these problems.

(Applause.)

DALE GIBBENS: Michael, (inaudible) be part of something that is helping people improve their lives. And I know you and I talked a little bit about your relationship with this group. What final thoughts do you have on (inaudible)?

MICHAEL LOMAX: Well, I would say, first of all, that we survived this week, the announcement of this partnership. I wasn’t sure –

(Laughter.)

MICHAEL LOMAX: I wasn’t so sure at the beginning of the week. I think we survived because I think Americans are hungry for the opportunity to believe in something together and actually to work on it in partnership. And it’s painful the amount of acrimony that is out there on the public airwaves.

And (inaudible) when I went on the Tom Joyner Morning Show — I know you all probably don’t know who Tom Joyner is (inaudible). And he is noted for black radio in the morning drive time, and gave me a hard time about it. And finally Tom Joyner said, “You know, do good. Do good.” And he said, “You know, I’m fine with it.”

I think a lot of people warm up to (inaudible). And there are not many ways of doing good any better than helping a young kid achieve his or her dream of a college education. I take that very seriously for the rest of us. I took that potentially at risk.

I believe that there’s (inaudible) opportunities. And I moved out there on faith, and my faith was rewarded. By the end of the week, we had over 500 students already on that website trying to be to be Koch scholars.

(Applause.)

MICHAEL LOMAX: The demand and the means are there, so I think have three things that we’ve got to do: we can’t do something (inaudible) and assume the attacks won’t continue, so I think we’ve got to remain vigilant and tell our story of this partnership consistently and accurately.

And number two, UNCF has got to keep reminding all Americans of our mission. For 40 years we’ve been telling folks, “A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste.” It still is — we’ve added something to that — “A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste, But a Wonderful Thing to Invest In,” and we need more investment. And I think it’s real important that over the next 12 to 24 months that we demonstrate to America that this courageous partnership between Koch Industries, and Charles Koch Foundation, and UNCF has been good for America and that it’s wound up (inaudible) of investing in our kids and building a better future for them (inaudible).

I support wholeheartedly what Norman said. Education and incarceration are inextricably linked. And young people who don’t get an education are more vulnerable to incarceration. The greatest predictor of who’s going to jail is (inaudible). And you know, and so I want to make sure that all those kids who overcome all those barriers and do everything right, stick to that (inaudible) in that college classroom are able to get that education. And that’s why I’m joining up with Koch Industries and Charles Koch Foundation on this project. And I hope that others will link arms with us, and Norman, and (inaudible) and demonstrate that national purpose hasn’t been lost in sectarian (inaudible).

(Applause.)

DALE GIBBENS: (Inaudible) Norm and Michael (inaudible), thank you for your courage in being here. This is an example of what we’re trying to (inaudible) the national conversation (inaudible). Thank you very much

(Applause.)

(End of session.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EXCLUSIVE AUDIO: Marco Rubio & Charles Koch

AUDIO OBTAINED FROM A SOURCE WHO WAS PRESENT.

 

DINNER MEETING

June 16, 2014

 

P R O C E E D I N G S

KEVIN GENTRY: Okay. Ok, I’m going to ask you to take your seats because I’m now going to turn it over to Ken and Freda Levy to lead us in a little toast. Ken, Freda, take it away.

FREDA LEVY: There’s a saying, and the saying goes, “Happiness shared is happiness doubled. Sadness shared is sadness, sadness halved.” With that in mind, we’d like to toast to everyone for sharing in our concern for about the future of America, and thereby cutting that concern in half and mixing it with courage. And we want to toast everyone for joining together and not just doubling our ability to restore economic liberty, but for actually multiplying it many times over.

KEN LEVY: As the legendary coach Vince Lombardi said, “Individual commitment to a group effort, that’s what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” So we’d like to thank David, Liz, Charles, and the Freedom Partners team for banding us together and giving us the courage and commitment to fight to restore the American Dream. So we’d like to propose a Jewish Libertarian toast.

(Laughter.)

FREDA LEVY: Actually, I believe it was a Libertarian Jewish toast.

(Laughter.)

FREDA LEVY: But the classic Jewish toast is to say, “L’chaim,” which literally means “to life.”

FRED AND KEN LEVY: So L’chaim, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

[Dinner commences.]

KEVIN GENTRY: Thank you very much. Thank you, again, for being with us this entire weekend. I really enjoyed getting the opportunity to spend time with people we’ve been getting to know over the past couple of years of this fight. And also, again, we’ve really gotten to know a lot of new friends, and we look forward to being in the battle with you for many years to come.

I’ve just got a couple of little items I want to share and then turn it over for this program. Those of you who may be interested in the, what’s called the Aegis, but the effort on the candidates, the reception last night in the small group, there’s still a lot of opportunities, as I understand from them, for participation. And so, feel free to do whatever. There were a number of you — thank you, who maxed out to all seven of the candidates, which was a huge boost to them.

Point two, a number of you have tapped me on the shoulder. You can tap me on the shoulder any time if you’re coming to share good news. You can call me any time if you’re calling with good news.

(Laughter.)

KEVIN GENTRY: Otherwise I just may not answer.

(Laughter.)

KEVIN GENTRY: But we are glad to work with you, those of you who are still trying to think of what to do and trying to help fund the efforts to advance a free society.

So to wrap up this evening, we’ve got a great speaker to close us out. And those of you who are familiar with these meetings, after that we generally have Charles give us our final battle cry in leaving here. But many of you are familiar with our LIBRE initiative with an outreach to Hispanic and Latino voters. It has really grown tremendously (inaudible) Frank.

(Laughter.)

KEVIN GENTRY: I knew it was you.

(Laughter.)

KEVIN GENTRY: You’ve got a terrible poker face by the way.

(Laughter.)

KEVIN GENTRY: I know, I know. (Inaudible) Thanks. Charles, we’ve got to do something about him. I don’t know what to do.

(Laughter.)

KEVIN GENTRY: Thank you. Thank you. In the interest of well-being and making me laugh, please do something about this.

(Laughter.)

KEVIN GENTRY: So our LIBRE initiative in just a few short years has been a very effective outreach to voters across the United States. You all have been inspired by many of their stories. You see in the stories of David (inaudible) family come to the United States. Also Rachel Campos-Duffy over here and her father. Lots of really fantastic stories. We have one other, and it’s the story of Cesar Grajales, who is part of the LIBRE Initiative. And so, Cesar is going to introduce Marco Rubio tonight.

So what I’d like you to do is watch his story, his family’s story, and then he’ll do the introduction from there. So please turn your eyes to the screen. And, Rich, cut off your phone.

(Laughter.)

(Video Presentation)

CESAR GRAJALES (VIDEO): I know how hard it can be to live in a place where there are no opportunities. I know how it feels to not have any money. I knew that in this country, I could achieve anything.

I was born in Colombia, in a small town in the mountains. My family was very poor. We didn’t have much, but my parents began working and saving money until they could buy a sewing machine. They were able to start a small clothing business.

The violence and the economy got so bad in Colombia, that we decided to apply for what they call asylum in the United States so we have the chance to control our destiny. I’ll never forget the day that I arrived to the United States 13 years ago, November 14 (inaudible), and it felt incredible. We arrived here with only $80 in our pockets which we used the first night to pay for the hotel room.

I got my start working whatever jobs I could, working construction, in a bakery, landscaping, anything. Eventually my family saved up enough. They start their own business here in the United States, and now my family works with some of the best fashion designers in the world.

I’m very grateful to the United States for all the opportunities it’s given me and my family to have a better life. And that’s why I joined LIBRE. LIBRE is an organization that educates Hispanics and empowers us to preserve those principles and values of economic freedom that make stories like mine possible.

This country opens doors to people, giving them the opportunity to progress, but now regulations are making it difficult to open a business, or find a job, or move up the ladder. My generation is concerned for families and people that are in need, especially for those who need help the most. Through LIBRE, we are in the communities solving problems and sharing knowledge about the policies that can help people achieve their dreams. I think it’s up to us — my generation — to ensure this country continues to be a place full of opportunities for everyone. Join us at joinLIBRE.org.

(End of video.)

(Applause.)

CESAR GRAJALES: Thank you. Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for your kind invitation (inaudible) the truly courageous (inaudible) the cause of liberty. I feel extremely honored to be with you tonight.

My story is the story of millions of immigrants who have come to this country, to our country, in search of a better life. The millions of immigrants who know the value of hard work and discipline, and who have the courage to attain their dreams and goals of their own.

My father had the courage to decide to (inaudible) back in Colombia and bring my mother, my sister, and me to this land of freedom, away from the violence and the bureaucracy that threatened our future. He had the vision and the courage to choose this country among all other nations of the world to finish raising his children. He wanted to give us the best thing a human being could have — freedom.

My family and I owe everything to this great country. That is why when Daniel Garza told me about the LIBRE Initiative back in 2011, without hesitation I said, Daniel, how can I help this organization? I have to give back to this country — now my country — my time and effort to make these principles and values of freedom that made this country a great Nation endure and not come (inaudible). And today I am honored to serve as (inaudible) for the LIBRE Initiative in Miami

(Applause.)

CESAR GRAJALES: For me, a house, or a car is not American Dream. That’s just a consequence of material success. That is just one element of well-being. For me, the American Dream is a profound sentiment rooted in the fundamental belief that with liberty you can achieve your goals by your own merit. That is the only path to happiness and fulfillment.

It takes a lot of courage to do what you all are doing for our huge Hispanic community, coming together to support our movement for freedom, helping us build a stronger future in this country without depending on government. You demonstrate your own courage by kindness as well. That is why in the name of all those who believe in the goodness of freedom, thank you. And thank you, thank you so very much for your support of our cause.

At LIBRE, our battle is just beginning. That is why we need your support and kindness so that our community of millions of Hispanics across our country can have access to the truth. We cannot continue to allow the policies of government to harm people’s lives, especially the less fortunate in our society. The current Administration believes in a centralized, one-size-fits-all form of government. Their view is of an America where government knows best. This form of government is the exact type that many of us in the Hispanic community left behind. We all have come too far to settle for that. Ronald Reagan once said, “If we lose freedom here, there’s no place to escape to. This is the last stand forever.”

(Applause.)

CESAR GRAJALES: (Inaudible) we must lead, and it’s going to take all of us together — scholars, activists, donors, and elected officials — to demonstrate the gravity to do what’s right. And we are fortunate to have with us tonight one of these principled leaders.

This evening we are honored with the presence of a very courageous American. He’s no stranger to facing long odds. For generations, conventional wisdom in Florida politics held that no Hispanic in South Florida could ever win the Speakership in the Florida House (inaudible). This Floridian became the first Cuban-American Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives.

Further, conventional wisdom in Florida politics held that no Hispanic from South Florida could ever win statewide elected office because they could not appeal to a broader electorate. With that backdrop, was trailing in the polls by double digits to then Governor Charlie Crist.

(Murmurs from audience.)

CESAR GRAJALES: (Inaudible) principles and won. And tonight I have the great honor to introduce you to the great man who is working to make Florida across the state so that our people do not depend on government. He’s a courageous leader who is not only known in our state, but is also attracting national attention for his great work in the U.S. Senate.

(Inaudible) is such an effective, passionate advocate for freedom and opportunity. Please join me in giving a heartfelt welcome to the Honorable U.S. Senator, Marco Rubio.

(Applause.)

MARCO RUBIO: First of all, Cesar, thank you for the kind introduction. But more importantly, thank you for your service to the cause of liberty and freedom. That video just reminded me of why I ran for office. Your mother for sharing that with you.

(Applause.)

MARCIO RUBIO: I’m happy to be here with some of my colleagues and future colleagues in the U.S. Senate. I know Tom Cotton and Joni Ernst were here. Cory Gardner is here. These guys are going to be great senators.

(Applause.)

MARCO RUBIO: And we still need good House members, and that’s why Sean is doing a great job, and we thank him for that, for what he’s doing in the House.

(Applause.)

MARCO RUBIO: The House is under control. It’s the Senate that needs all the help we can get. Let us know when you’re ready.

Thank you for having me. On the flight here, this was a — I haven’t spoken to this group in almost four years, so I have a lot of catch up with you on. And so on the flight here, I wrote out some notes about what I wanted to say to you. And unfortunately, some of those notes got lost, and here I have notes from my speech for the car dealers in Florida.

(Laughter.)

MARCO RUBIO: So unless any of you are in the middle of a recall, you probably are not as interested (inaudible). So I’ll just share with you my thoughts.

Thank you for this opportunity and for what you’re doing across this country at this pivotal moment in our Nation’s history. You know, I said a moment ago that video reminded me of why I wanted to serve the government (inaudible).

As I look back at growing up, I realize that my best friend as a child until the time I was 13 was my grandfather, my maternal grandfather. He had grown up — he lived with us in both Las Vegas and then in Miami. And he had grown up as a child in rural Cuba, part of (inaudible) family, one of 12 or 13 kids. He had been stricken by polio when he was six years old. He was the only one who couldn’t work the farm. So just give him a chance in life, his parents sent him away to school where he learned how to read, and how to write, and how (inaudible) Morse code, and operate a telegraph.

When he left school, he went to work as a lecturer at a cigar factory. What that basically meant is that while the workers were rolling cigars, he would sit in the front of the room and read them newspapers, and then he would read them novels.   So over the years he had done an extensive amount of work as — amount of reading and acquired a lot of knowledge. Years after that — a few years after that he actually got a job, a good job, working and operating one of the railroad stations in Cuba.

And then suddenly from one day to the next, his job was taken away from him for no reason. It was just given over to someone who had political connections in the union or the government. And from that point on, he struggled to provide for (inaudible). He was a disabled man living in rural Cuba, and he struggled to provide (inaudible). In fact, (inaudible) in Havana where he rented out a small little corner in a barbershop where he would fix shoes for a living before he finally wound up here in the United States permanently after Fidel Castro revealed himself to be a full-fledged Marxist.

My grandfather was an enormous influence in my life. He used to smoke three cigars a day, lived to be 84.

(Laughter.)

MARCO RUBIO: And I’ll never forget, he used to — even in Las Vegas he would dress up (inaudible) tie and suit, and would sit in a small (inaudible) in the porch of our house (inaudible). And when I was home, I would sit with him, and we would talk about everything. We’d talk about the Cuban revolution. We’d talk about the Spanish-American War. We’d talk about World War II, and he increasingly about Ronald Reagan (inaudible).

As I look back now, I remember some of the conversations, but what I realized what I learned most of all, what he really wanted me to understand, was how blessed I was, how I would have opportunities he never did. You see, my grandfather grew up (inaudible) in a society where (inaudible) was determined by (inaudible). Unless your family was rich or connected, you could only go so far in life. I didn’t know him as a young man. I know very little about it. But I can just tell you from having been around him, when he was my age and younger, he had dreams. There were things he wanted to do in life. He had ambition, and he had talent. He was smart. He was a good communicator.

But he could only go so far because he wasn’t connected, because his family had no money, and they had no access to power. And he carried that with him, not in a bitter way, but in way that he was able to pass on to me especially. He wanted me to understand that I do not have those limits, because I have the privilege and the blessing of being a citizen of the one Nation in all of human history where anyone from anywhere could achieve anything.

This was the most powerful lesson he wanted to leave behind. It gave his life purpose and meaning. I’ll never forget in the last days of his life, my grandfather lived with us, and he fell and broke his hip. And I remember riding with him in the ambulance to the hospital. I remember being outside the X-ray room as they were trying to position him to take the X-ray, and he was in so much pain. And later on the next day I was staying with him in the room, and he started to have trouble breathing, and the end was before us. I remember grabbing his hand. And the last thing I ever said to my grandfather, and I know he heard, was, I told you that I would not waste the opportunity that I have, that I would work hard to achieve the opportunities that I have been given. And I remember it like it was yesterday, he squeezed my hand back as if to let me know that he understood (inaudible).

The reason why I share that with you today is because that fundamental belief that you are not (inaudible) by the circumstances of your birth is what makes America special. There are other rich countries on this planet. There are other powerful militaries and big economies. But what has separated us from all human history, (inaudible) for almost two centuries, unlike any other place that’s ever existed, here, men and women from all walks of life through hard work and perseverance have achieved a better life.

This is the universal hope for people everywhere. People everywhere on this planet want to achieve that, too, but it happens so often for so many people in this country that that dream that has come to be named after us. This universal hope of men and women everywhere is called the American Dream, and we often misunderstand the American Dream.

The American Dream is not about becoming wealthy, although that may be part of your dream. The American Dream is not about becoming famous or powerful. For millions and millions of people, the American Dream is much simpler, yet more profound. It’s about the ability to acquire a job that fulfills you, but also allows you to provide for your family; the freedom to speak openly and worship as you please; to provide a safe and stable home for your children; to one day be able to retire with dignity and to leave your children better off than yourself.

That is the real American Dream. And if you ask me what the single greatest challenge before our country today is, it is that there are now millions of people in this country that believe that dream is not our dream for people like them. And that is not just a threat to our economy. That is a direct threat to our identity. This erosion of the American Dream threatens to rob us of what makes us special and what makes us different.

Why is that happening? It’s not just because we had a great recession. It’s because before our very eyes, our economy has undergone an extraordinary transformation, and it is still undergoing that transformation. Not that long ago, we used to be a national economy. Your competitors, your clients, they were all in the same neighborhood or the same city. Now, they’re halfway around the world. We compete with other countries for jobs, for investments, for innovation.

The other thing that’s changed is that the better paying jobs of the 21st century all require some form of higher education. When my parents came here in 1956, it didn’t matter that they had little formal education. Working as a bartender and a maid, they made it to the middle class. Never rich, never famous, but fully a part of the American middle class. Today that has gotten harder than ever because the middle class and above jobs of the 21st century require a higher level of education, and yet millions of people find it inaccessible to them. Those are the challenges that we’re facing.

The good news is this doesn’t have to be the new normal. We do not have to accept what we have today as the new normal. We can still restore what we have come to know as the American Dream. This can still remain a country where anyone from anywhere can accomplish anything. We have time to do that, but we do not have forever.

The fundamental challenge that we have in accomplishing that work is that I think to some extent both political parties are broken in how they approach this. The Democratic Party wants to continue to invest in programs from the last century. They believe that we can continue to tax people and that there’s no competition. They think we can continue to regulate businesses as though there’s no global competition. And they want to keep pouring money into a broken and stagnant higher education cartel that has become inexpensive — increasingly expensive and inaccessible to millions of Americans.

The problem we’ve had on the right for too long is we have not shown people how our principles of limited government and free enterprise apply to the challenges of the 21st century. And so why I’m so proud to endorse candidates like Cory Gardner, and Joni Ernst, and Tom Cotton, is because they fully understand the need that our country has to restore this agenda.

It’s an agenda that begins by saying our goal number one is to create millions of higher paying jobs in this country, and it isn’t rocket science how to accomplish that. Jobs and opportunity are created with a simple function of either investment or innovation. Someone risks money to start a new business or expand an existing one, or someone creates a product or a service that no has ever done.

And our goal must be to make America the greatest country in the world to invest and to innovate, and we’re losing our advantage in both. We have a tax code in America that isn’t just complicated, it’s expensive. It incentivizes people to invest their money in other countries. That’s why (inaudible) $2 trillion of American corporate taxes sitting in bank accounts overseas.

We have a regulatory code that discourages innovation. In fact, we too often have a regulatory code that is used by established businesses and industries to crush innovative competitors. We have a perfect example of this in Miami, Florida. Now, this is a small-scale example, but it’s an important one, where an innovative new car service called Uber cannot operate in Miami Dade County because government does allow it, because that government has become influenced by an established industry that doesn’t want the competition.

And perhaps more than anything else that I think we have failed to do is to convince people that big government doesn’t hurt the people who have made it. If you’re a multinational corporation, if you’re a millionaire or a billionaire, you may not agree with big government, you may not like big government, but you can afford to deal with big government. You can hire all the lawyers and lobbyists in Washington to help you out.

If you are trying to start a business out of the spare bedroom of your home, not only are you violating the zoning code, but you can’t afford to do all those things.

(Applause.)

MARCO RUBIO: And so, we need a tax code that says the more you invest, the less you’ll pay in taxes. We need a regulatory code that encourages investment and innovation in America for the 21st century.

(Applause.)

MARCO RUBIO: And I would just add — I would just add (inaudible), you do have to deal with the national debt because a debt crisis is not good for investment and innovation. People are not excited about investing and innovating in a country that’s headed for a debt crisis.

The second point I made to you was about the need for higher education. We have a completely outdated 19th century higher education system badly in need of reform. For the life of me, I do not understand why are we not graduating more kids from high school ready to go to work. Why aren’t we graduating more plumbers, and electricians, and airplane mechanics?

(Applause.)

MARCO RUBIO: The other reality that we face in the 21st century is we have millions of people who are the ones that need higher education the most. I have one in my state. Her name is Christine. She’s a single mother of two girls. She works for a pet boarding operation making $9.50 an hour. She struggles to provide for her girls. Daycare alone takes up almost a third of her salary if not more. The President’s answer to her is let’s raise the minimum wage by another 50 to 60 cents, but what she needs is a raise to a job that pays $30 an hour.

The only way she will ever get that is if she gets a degree or a certificate in some profession. She wants to be an early childhood educator, but she can’t because our higher education system is not meant or built to help people like her. She can take online courses, but they cost more than going to class. She can go to a for-profit college, but oftentimes that costs five or six times what a community college or university costs. So what does she do? She can’t go to school. She will be stuck making $9.50 for the foreseeable future, and no government program in the world that exists right now will reverse that.

What we need is a higher education system that’s accessible for her, one that allows people like her to raise her family and work full time to acquire the skills and knowledge they need so they can improve their lot in life. I saw that with my own two eyes in my office. When I was in the state legislature, my administrative assistant, my secretary, made only $29,000 a year. That’s what the state paid. That wasn’t my decision. But she was able to go to school at night to become a paralegal and go from $29,000 a year to $51,000 a year. We need an education system that allows us to provide that learning for people that are facing these challenges who have to work full time and raise a family.

And it exists. There’s all sorts of ways to learn in the 21st century — massive online courses, community colleges. You should be able to get credit for life experience and work experience. You should be able to package all these things into the equivalent of a degree, but we can’t because only accredited colleges can give degrees. And guess who accredits colleges? The accredited colleges –

(Laughter.)

MARCO RUBIO: — who don’t want any competition from anyone else. If we do not address this, we are going to leave millions of people stuck and behind in this country.

And last, but not least, the traditional college route isn’t working out great either. We are graduating millions of young people in this country with degrees that do not meet the jobs. And that’s why I believe that before you get a major in Greek philosophy, that that school better tell you, here’s how much Greek philosophers are making these days.

(Laughter.)

MARCO RUBIO: So you can decide for yourself whether it’s worth borrowing $50,000 to major in it.

(Applause.)

MARCO RUBIO: And I also believe that we should provide alternatives to student loans. I’ve offered something that was actually featured this weekend in the Wall Street Journal. It’s called Student Investment Plans. This is especially good for graduate students. It allows them to go to a lender, basically a venture fund, and say this is who I am, this is what I’m going to do with my future, and if you help me pay for my education, I will pay you back by promising over 10 years or 12 years to pay you a percentage of my salary. This has actually been used overseas, and I have filed a bill that creates a legal framework for this sort of lending to be available. It was featured this weekend. I encourage you to pick up the weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal. There are other things that we can do, but we have to think about these sorts of innovations.

Here’s my last point that I’ll make to you. We have to reinvigorate values in family life in America. This idea that somehow the social well-being of your people can be separated from their economic well-being is simply not true. This is not the part where I tell people how to live their lives, or what they need to believe, or what church they need to go to. This is the part where I tell you that I know for a fact, and so do you, that perhaps the leading cause of poverty in America today is the breakdown of communities and American families, and that we need to empower families like never before.

We have a tax code that punishes family life. We have safety net programs in America that punish people and keep them from getting married. We know the power of parents. Parents should be able to send their kids to any school of their choice, and this is especially true (inaudible).

(Applause.)

MARCO RUBIO: It is fundamentally unfair, in my opinion, and I’m married, that the only people in America who cannot pick where their children to go to school are poor people. The only parents in America that are stuck having to put kids in a school of the government’s choice are the parents that can’t afford anything else. The people who need it the most are the ones that are the ones that are least likely to get it. And it’s a fight that I believe we’re winning, but we’d better speed it up because in the process millions of children are being left behind by a broken education system, and their parents have no power over it.

My last point is we need to help families with the cost of living, and that means healthcare and alternatives (inaudible). I’m not going to spend a lot of time preaching to this choir about Obamacare.

But let me tell you one more area that I want to talk to you about, the cost of energy. You tell me — Christine, I just told you about her. She lives in Florida, which means she — and actually where she lives, her utility is very coal dependent. I promise you, though, what this President just did by executive order is going to raise her electric bill. She’s already struggling to provide for her family. She is already struggling with the cost of healthcare, and childcare, and gasoline, and health insurance, and transportation. And on top of that, you’re going to raise her utility rates?

Interestingly enough, the people who are in favor of all this stuff, they can afford to pay all of this. The people who are being crushed by it are the people that this President claims to be helping.

(Applause.)

MARCIO RUBIO: I guess I’ll just wrap up by saying this. The Ford F-150 is the best car on (inaudible).

(Laughter.)

MARCO RUBIO: I apologize, sorry. I’ll wrap up by saying this. You know, by by every measure, I’m not considered to be someone that came from privilege. As I told you earlier, my father was — when he was nine years old, his mother passed away. He went to work as a nine-year-old. My son is nine years old, so that’s hard for me to imagine. Went to work when he was nine years old, and he worked for 70 years of his life. He worked primarily as a bartender at events just like this. When I see the men and women who have served us here tonight, it reminds me of my father who worked events like this over and over again, standing behind the bar so that his family could have a better future.

My mom (inaudible) I told you about earlier. She worked as a cashier, as a stock clerk at K-Mart, as a maid at the Imperial Palace Hotel in Las Vegas. My parents never owned more than one car and one house. Never took a trip to Europe. Never owned a yacht or a private plane. Nothing wrong with any of that. And yet I can tell you without a doubt my parents fully lived the American Dream, and I did come from privilege.

You see, I had the privilege of growing up in a strong and stable home where I knew that my parents loved me and they encouraged me to dream dreams. I was raised by two parents who loved each other, and I was raised in the single greatest country in all of human history.

I was raised in the one place on earth where even the son of a bartender and a maid could have the same dreams as the son of a president or a billionaire. This is real privilege. This is what all of us have been privileged with. I am struck tonight by how many people in this room started with nothing (inaudible) wealth. But it shouldn’t surprise us because this is the fundamental story of our Nation and our people.

And I close with this story of my parents not just to give you insight into who I am, but to help remind us of who we are. This is a defining characteristic of what it means to be an American. What it means to be America has never been we’ve got the most powerful army, although I always hope we will, or that we have the largest economy, although I hope we will. What it means to be America is this is the one place on earth where no matter where you start out, you have a God-given right to go as far as your talent and your work will take you.

And I’ve been reminded of that time and again in my life, but perhaps never more than on the night of my primary victory for the U.S. Senate. I had a general election. I had a primary. By then Charlie Crist had become an Independent, and now he’s a Democrat, potentially a vegetarian (inaudible). But anyway.

(Laughter.)

MARCO RUBIO: He actually is talking about traveling to Cuba, so maybe he’s got one more party switch in him.

(Laughter.)

MARCO RUBIO: Anyway, I’ve got to stop. The election was four years ago. I’ve got to stop.

(Laughter.)

MARCO RUBIO: Okay, so I was never more reminded of all this than the night of my primary election. My father got very sick during the end of my campaign, and he was living in my sister’s house. And he had not been out of bed for a week. He had chemotherapy, and he was nearing the end of his life now. And he had not gotten out of bed literally for two or three weeks.

So I went to see him, and this was not a very competitive primary. So I went to go see him that day, in the middle of the day. I knocked on the door, and my nephew who lived there opened the door with a big smile. And I said, “What are you smiling about?” He goes, “Well, come in and see for yourself.” So I walked to the back of the house, and there was my dad, fully dressed sitting in his wheelchair, ready to go because he had gotten up from his bed for the first time in three weeks because he was going to go to my victory party that night. Now, unfortunately as the day — this was the afternoon. As the day wore on, he didn’t have the strength to go. And by the time my victory party came (inaudible).

But I wonder often, why is it that it was so important for him to be there that night? And my sense was that he knew the end was near, and probably doubted he would make it to November (inaudible). And of course, part of it was that his son was going to win and he was very proud of me. But I now realize it was about something a lot more than that. You see, I’m sure when he was my age and younger he had all sorts of dreams. In fact, I know he did. He wanted to be a successful businessman, and he tried his hand at a couple of things. Didn’t quite work out.

I’ll never forget growing up he was a bartender. One day as a kid, I had this habit of whoever I saw on television, I would play pretend that I was that. So I was all sorts of things. I was a football coach. I was the Pope. I was whatever I saw on TV.

(Laughter.)

MARCO RUBIO: One day I dressed up like a bartender, and my dad said to me, I don’t want to you do that. I want you to wear a suit and tie to work. Little did he know how prophetic that would be.

(Laughter.)

MARCO RUBIO: Because to him, that was a symbol of success. That’s what he saw all the businessmen that traveled to Miami Beach wearing, and that’s what he wanted us to be able to do in our lives. You see, at some point in time — I don’t know when it was — but at some point in time, the very purpose of his life was opening up for us doors that had been closed for them. The very purpose of his life had become to make possible for us all the things that were never possible for them.

And so, for him that night wasn’t just going to be his son winning an election. It was going to be affirmation that he mattered, that his life had a purpose, that the sacrifices were not in vain, that all those nights that he had to stand behind a bar in his 70s when he was tired was not for nothing; that he had opened those doors for us, that he had made possible for us what had been impossible for him.

This is the fundamental promise of this country. It is a promise within each of us, in all of us. And this is how our future will be judged, not by how well our stock market performs, or by how large our GDP may grow. These are important things. But how our future will be judged will be whether or not people like my father can still leave their children better off.

Whether or not we will remain an exceptional country will be decided by whether or not the men and women who are working in this hotel tonight can one day have children sitting in chairs like these or standing at a podium like this one. That’s how we will be judged.

And that is the great problem of our time, not simply to stabilize America, but to save her exceptional nature, to keep her a special and unique place, and to leave for our children what our parents left for us: the single greatest Nation in all the history of the world.

So I thank you for what you’re doing in that regard, and I know that working together this is what we will achieve. We will leave our children what Americans always leave for their children, the greatest country that man has ever known. Thank you for the opportunity.

(Applause.)

CHARLES KOCH: You know, Marco, that was quite a coincidence that you had the wrong notes because I seem to have the wrong notes a lot of times.

(Laughter.)

CHARLES KOCH: And the only way I know is when later that evening or the next day I get my report card from Liz.

(Laughter.)

CHARLES KOCH: But, you know, most of the many, many years and decades I’ve been involved in this struggle, I thought “principled politician” was an oxymoron.

(Laughter.)

CHARLES KOCH: And I still think that’s largely the case. But we see a few now and then, and when I think about it, that’s what we’re about: to find and get elected some politicians with principles. But how do we do that? The only way we can do that is have more principled voters, more principled Americans, who will try to do what’s right for the country rather than what’s in their personal interests as opposed to everybody else.

Now, this has been, in my view, a very special seminar, and in many ways it’s been, in my view, the best seminar we’ve ever had. The only thing that doesn’t make it the best in everything is we didn’t raise a record amount of money.

(Laughter.)

CHARLES KOCH: So Kevin is going to come back out and we’re going to try again.

(Laughter.)

CHARLES KOCH: So our record is January 7th?

SPEAKER: Yes. Yes.

CHARLES KOCH: Okay.

SPEAKER: I’m ready.

(Laughter.)

CHARLES KOCH: So now, I want to thank everybody who made this such a special seminar, all of you partners — fabulous — and the presenters, and the staff. I mean, it really was an uplifting experience. The only problem is (inaudible) I get (inaudible) having tears in my eyes. God, Liz, bring the Visine.

(Laughter.)

CHARLES KOCH: Now, I want to — sorry, I mean, after that great talk and thank Marco for a very inspiring story, very uplifting story, and a great message, and for all he’s doing to try to preserve and enhance our free society.

But I want to kind of give an overview of what we’re about and what our strength is in my idiosyncratic mind. And the way I view it is what we need to do is build a movement of people who are totally dedicated to preserving and enhancing our free society. And when I say “a movement,” I mean a group of people who will act or are dedicated to act, who don’t just give lip service, but are willing to dedicate themselves to our free society, and to making it better and better, whatever the cost to them personally. And I’m not big on self-sacrifice. I think it’s a win-win for all of us who do this.

And that means — when I say “to act,” I mean in whatever way fits their passion and capability. Everybody doesn’t have to give money. Everybody doesn’t have to be a college professor, be an activist, a writer, a leader of an organization. Whatever fits them and however they can contribute.

And this is absolutely critical because to me what’s going to determine the future of this country is the balance of people who are willing to act to affect the future of this country. And if the majority of those people are collectivists, we are doomed. So we have to be much more aggressive in identifying, recruiting, educating, and mobilizing those people who will be willing to act on behalf of our free society.

And so this seminar is a great foundation for that, but this is a labor intensive business. And the most we can have is several thousand, and we need a movement of several million. So we’re going to have to get — coordinate all of our organizations to do this identification, recruiting, and mobilization, and build new capabilities for better, more efficient outreach to find, and recruit, and mobilize these people.

I think Thomas Jefferson said this well. “I know of no safe depository of the liberty and property of the people but the people themselves.” And that means us and anyone else we can find and learn how to find to dedicate themselves to this cause.

Now, in these efforts, we’re guided by the three — what we consider the three requirements for action: that is, dissatisfaction with the current state, vision of a better state, and a path to get there.

So how do we satisfy these requirements? First, we encourage people to have a realistic level of dissatisfaction. And the way we do that is we help them understand the realities of collectivism and government control, and to get them to realize that the record in this regard is stark; that society dominated by government has impoverished and starved the very people they promise to help. And at best — in the best condition, it condemns them to a lifetime of poverty, dependency, and hopelessness. Even when they have enough to eat, they have no hope. They have no reason for living.

So our goal is to get people to understand, to recognize that continuing down the path we’re on will make their lives worse and those of their families’ worse, and possibly much worse.

Then next, we need to help people develop a vision of a better state, which we will do by demonstrating how even modest increases in freedom have benefited billions of people in every dimension of their lives. And how with increased freedom, individuals can enjoy far better lives, individuals from all walks of life.

And finally, as for a path to a better state, we will help people see that as we’re able to clear away these obstacles that the government has put in their path, that even the poorest among us will be able to create much better lives for themselves. And we will help them find that path, both by understanding how to eliminate those obstacles, and by helping them develop the skills and the values required for them to succeed.

Now, this may seem like not a vision, but a fantasy. But I think given the courage and commitment that this room has demonstrated, that we can make this vision a reality. And just speaking for me personally, your trust in us is tremendously gratifying to me, and makes my resolve, not that I was ever unresolved –

(Laughter.)

CHARLES KOCH: — makes my resolve even stronger. And I want to assure you that we are doing our utmost to earn that trust because together I believe that we can prevail.

So my last words are, be strong and Godspeed. Thank you.

(Applause.)

(Whereupon, the meeting was adjourned.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DINNER MEETING

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

June 16, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

P R O C E E D I N G S

KEVIN GENTRY: Okay. Ok, I’m going to ask you to take your seats because I’m now going to turn it over to Ken and Freda Levy to lead us in a little toast. Ken, Freda, take it away.

FREDA LEVY: There’s a saying, and the saying goes, “Happiness shared is happiness doubled. Sadness shared is sadness, sadness halved.” With that in mind, we’d like to toast to everyone for sharing in our concern for about the future of America, and thereby cutting that concern in half and mixing it with courage. And we want to toast everyone for joining together and not just doubling our ability to restore economic liberty, but for actually multiplying it many times over.

KEN LEVY: As the legendary coach Vince Lombardi said, “Individual commitment to a group effort, that’s what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” So we’d like to thank David, Liz, Charles, and the Freedom Partners team for banding us together and giving us the courage and commitment to fight to restore the American Dream. So we’d like to propose a Jewish Libertarian toast.

(Laughter.)

FREDA LEVY: Actually, I believe it was a Libertarian Jewish toast.

(Laughter.)

FREDA LEVY: But the classic Jewish toast is to say, “L’chaim,” which literally means “to life.”

FRED AND KEN LEVY: So L’chaim, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

[Dinner commences.]

KEVIN GENTRY: Thank you very much. Thank you, again, for being with us this entire weekend. I really enjoyed getting the opportunity to spend time with people we’ve been getting to know over the past couple of years of this fight. And also, again, we’ve really gotten to know a lot of new friends, and we look forward to being in the battle with you for many years to come.

I’ve just got a couple of little items I want to share and then turn it over for this program. Those of you who may be interested in the, what’s called the Aegis, but the effort on the candidates, the reception last night in the small group, there’s still a lot of opportunities, as I understand from them, for participation. And so, feel free to do whatever. There were a number of you — thank you, who maxed out to all seven of the candidates, which was a huge boost to them.

Point two, a number of you have tapped me on the shoulder. You can tap me on the shoulder any time if you’re coming to share good news. You can call me any time if you’re calling with good news.

(Laughter.)

KEVIN GENTRY: Otherwise I just may not answer.

(Laughter.)

KEVIN GENTRY: But we are glad to work with you, those of you who are still trying to think of what to do and trying to help fund the efforts to advance a free society.

So to wrap up this evening, we’ve got a great speaker to close us out. And those of you who are familiar with these meetings, after that we generally have Charles give us our final battle cry in leaving here. But many of you are familiar with our LIBRE initiative with an outreach to Hispanic and Latino voters. It has really grown tremendously (inaudible) Frank.

(Laughter.)

KEVIN GENTRY: I knew it was you.

(Laughter.)

KEVIN GENTRY: You’ve got a terrible poker face by the way.

(Laughter.)

KEVIN GENTRY: I know, I know. (Inaudible) Thanks. Charles, we’ve got to do something about him. I don’t know what to do.

(Laughter.)

KEVIN GENTRY: Thank you. Thank you. In the interest of well-being and making me laugh, please do something about this.

(Laughter.)

KEVIN GENTRY: So our LIBRE initiative in just a few short years has been a very effective outreach to voters across the United States. You all have been inspired by many of their stories. You see in the stories of David (inaudible) family come to the United States. Also Rachel Campos-Duffy over here and her father. Lots of really fantastic stories. We have one other, and it’s the story of Cesar Grajales, who is part of the LIBRE Initiative. And so, Cesar is going to introduce Marco Rubio tonight.

So what I’d like you to do is watch his story, his family’s story, and then he’ll do the introduction from there. So please turn your eyes to the screen. And, Rich, cut off your phone.

(Laughter.)

(Video Presentation)

CESAR GRAJALES (VIDEO): I know how hard it can be to live in a place where there are no opportunities. I know how it feels to not have any money. I knew that in this country, I could achieve anything.

I was born in Colombia, in a small town in the mountains. My family was very poor. We didn’t have much, but my parents began working and saving money until they could buy a sewing machine. They were able to start a small clothing business.

The violence and the economy got so bad in Colombia, that we decided to apply for what they call asylum in the United States so we have the chance to control our destiny. I’ll never forget the day that I arrived to the United States 13 years ago, November 14 (inaudible), and it felt incredible. We arrived here with only $80 in our pockets which we used the first night to pay for the hotel room.

I got my start working whatever jobs I could, working construction, in a bakery, landscaping, anything. Eventually my family saved up enough. They start their own business here in the United States, and now my family works with some of the best fashion designers in the world.

I’m very grateful to the United States for all the opportunities it’s given me and my family to have a better life. And that’s why I joined LIBRE. LIBRE is an organization that educates Hispanics and empowers us to preserve those principles and values of economic freedom that make stories like mine possible.

This country opens doors to people, giving them the opportunity to progress, but now regulations are making it difficult to open a business, or find a job, or move up the ladder. My generation is concerned for families and people that are in need, especially for those who need help the most. Through LIBRE, we are in the communities solving problems and sharing knowledge about the policies that can help people achieve their dreams. I think it’s up to us — my generation — to ensure this country continues to be a place full of opportunities for everyone. Join us at joinLIBRE.org.

(End of video.)

(Applause.)

CESAR GRAJALES: Thank you. Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for your kind invitation (inaudible) the truly courageous (inaudible) the cause of liberty. I feel extremely honored to be with you tonight.

My story is the story of millions of immigrants who have come to this country, to our country, in search of a better life. The millions of immigrants who know the value of hard work and discipline, and who have the courage to attain their dreams and goals of their own.

My father had the courage to decide to (inaudible) back in Colombia and bring my mother, my sister, and me to this land of freedom, away from the violence and the bureaucracy that threatened our future. He had the vision and the courage to choose this country among all other nations of the world to finish raising his children. He wanted to give us the best thing a human being could have — freedom.

My family and I owe everything to this great country. That is why when Daniel Garza told me about the LIBRE Initiative back in 2011, without hesitation I said, Daniel, how can I help this organization? I have to give back to this country — now my country — my time and effort to make these principles and values of freedom that made this country a great Nation endure and not come (inaudible). And today I am honored to serve as (inaudible) for the LIBRE Initiative in Miami

(Applause.)

CESAR GRAJALES: For me, a house, or a car is not American Dream. That’s just a consequence of material success. That is just one element of well-being. For me, the American Dream is a profound sentiment rooted in the fundamental belief that with liberty you can achieve your goals by your own merit. That is the only path to happiness and fulfillment.

It takes a lot of courage to do what you all are doing for our huge Hispanic community, coming together to support our movement for freedom, helping us build a stronger future in this country without depending on government. You demonstrate your own courage by kindness as well. That is why in the name of all those who believe in the goodness of freedom, thank you. And thank you, thank you so very much for your support of our cause.

At LIBRE, our battle is just beginning. That is why we need your support and kindness so that our community of millions of Hispanics across our country can have access to the truth. We cannot continue to allow the policies of government to harm people’s lives, especially the less fortunate in our society. The current Administration believes in a centralized, one-size-fits-all form of government. Their view is of an America where government knows best. This form of government is the exact type that many of us in the Hispanic community left behind. We all have come too far to settle for that. Ronald Reagan once said, “If we lose freedom here, there’s no place to escape to. This is the last stand forever.”

(Applause.)

CESAR GRAJALES: (Inaudible) we must lead, and it’s going to take all of us together — scholars, activists, donors, and elected officials — to demonstrate the gravity to do what’s right. And we are fortunate to have with us tonight one of these principled leaders.

This evening we are honored with the presence of a very courageous American. He’s no stranger to facing long odds. For generations, conventional wisdom in Florida politics held that no Hispanic in South Florida could ever win the Speakership in the Florida House (inaudible). This Floridian became the first Cuban-American Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives.

Further, conventional wisdom in Florida politics held that no Hispanic from South Florida could ever win statewide elected office because they could not appeal to a broader electorate. With that backdrop, was trailing in the polls by double digits to then Governor Charlie Crist.

(Murmurs from audience.)

CESAR GRAJALES: (Inaudible) principles and won. And tonight I have the great honor to introduce you to the great man who is working to make Florida across the state so that our people do not depend on government. He’s a courageous leader who is not only known in our state, but is also attracting national attention for his great work in the U.S. Senate.

(Inaudible) is such an effective, passionate advocate for freedom and opportunity. Please join me in giving a heartfelt welcome to the Honorable U.S. Senator, Marco Rubio.

(Applause.)

MARCO RUBIO: First of all, Cesar, thank you for the kind introduction. But more importantly, thank you for your service to the cause of liberty and freedom. That video just reminded me of why I ran for office. Your mother for sharing that with you.

(Applause.)

MARCIO RUBIO: I’m happy to be here with some of my colleagues and future colleagues in the U.S. Senate. I know Tom Cotton and Joni Ernst were here. Cory Gardner is here. These guys are going to be great senators.

(Applause.)

MARCO RUBIO: And we still need good House members, and that’s why Sean is doing a great job, and we thank him for that, for what he’s doing in the House.

(Applause.)

MARCO RUBIO: The House is under control. It’s the Senate that needs all the help we can get. Let us know when you’re ready.

Thank you for having me. On the flight here, this was a — I haven’t spoken to this group in almost four years, so I have a lot of catch up with you on. And so on the flight here, I wrote out some notes about what I wanted to say to you. And unfortunately, some of those notes got lost, and here I have notes from my speech for the car dealers in Florida.

(Laughter.)

MARCO RUBIO: So unless any of you are in the middle of a recall, you probably are not as interested (inaudible). So I’ll just share with you my thoughts.

Thank you for this opportunity and for what you’re doing across this country at this pivotal moment in our Nation’s history. You know, I said a moment ago that video reminded me of why I wanted to serve the government (inaudible).

As I look back at growing up, I realize that my best friend as a child until the time I was 13 was my grandfather, my maternal grandfather. He had grown up — he lived with us in both Las Vegas and then in Miami. And he had grown up as a child in rural Cuba, part of (inaudible) family, one of 12 or 13 kids. He had been stricken by polio when he was six years old. He was the only one who couldn’t work the farm. So just give him a chance in life, his parents sent him away to school where he learned how to read, and how to write, and how (inaudible) Morse code, and operate a telegraph.

When he left school, he went to work as a lecturer at a cigar factory. What that basically meant is that while the workers were rolling cigars, he would sit in the front of the room and read them newspapers, and then he would read them novels.   So over the years he had done an extensive amount of work as — amount of reading and acquired a lot of knowledge. Years after that — a few years after that he actually got a job, a good job, working and operating one of the railroad stations in Cuba.

And then suddenly from one day to the next, his job was taken away from him for no reason. It was just given over to someone who had political connections in the union or the government. And from that point on, he struggled to provide for (inaudible). He was a disabled man living in rural Cuba, and he struggled to provide (inaudible). In fact, (inaudible) in Havana where he rented out a small little corner in a barbershop where he would fix shoes for a living before he finally wound up here in the United States permanently after Fidel Castro revealed himself to be a full-fledged Marxist.

My grandfather was an enormous influence in my life. He used to smoke three cigars a day, lived to be 84.

(Laughter.)

MARCO RUBIO: And I’ll never forget, he used to — even in Las Vegas he would dress up (inaudible) tie and suit, and would sit in a small (inaudible) in the porch of our house (inaudible). And when I was home, I would sit with him, and we would talk about everything. We’d talk about the Cuban revolution. We’d talk about the Spanish-American War. We’d talk about World War II, and he increasingly about Ronald Reagan (inaudible).

As I look back now, I remember some of the conversations, but what I realized what I learned most of all, what he really wanted me to understand, was how blessed I was, how I would have opportunities he never did. You see, my grandfather grew up (inaudible) in a society where (inaudible) was determined by (inaudible). Unless your family was rich or connected, you could only go so far in life. I didn’t know him as a young man. I know very little about it. But I can just tell you from having been around him, when he was my age and younger, he had dreams. There were things he wanted to do in life. He had ambition, and he had talent. He was smart. He was a good communicator.

But he could only go so far because he wasn’t connected, because his family had no money, and they had no access to power. And he carried that with him, not in a bitter way, but in way that he was able to pass on to me especially. He wanted me to understand that I do not have those limits, because I have the privilege and the blessing of being a citizen of the one Nation in all of human history where anyone from anywhere could achieve anything.

This was the most powerful lesson he wanted to leave behind. It gave his life purpose and meaning. I’ll never forget in the last days of his life, my grandfather lived with us, and he fell and broke his hip. And I remember riding with him in the ambulance to the hospital. I remember being outside the X-ray room as they were trying to position him to take the X-ray, and he was in so much pain. And later on the next day I was staying with him in the room, and he started to have trouble breathing, and the end was before us. I remember grabbing his hand. And the last thing I ever said to my grandfather, and I know he heard, was, I told you that I would not waste the opportunity that I have, that I would work hard to achieve the opportunities that I have been given. And I remember it like it was yesterday, he squeezed my hand back as if to let me know that he understood (inaudible).

The reason why I share that with you today is because that fundamental belief that you are not (inaudible) by the circumstances of your birth is what makes America special. There are other rich countries on this planet. There are other powerful militaries and big economies. But what has separated us from all human history, (inaudible) for almost two centuries, unlike any other place that’s ever existed, here, men and women from all walks of life through hard work and perseverance have achieved a better life.

This is the universal hope for people everywhere. People everywhere on this planet want to achieve that, too, but it happens so often for so many people in this country that that dream that has come to be named after us. This universal hope of men and women everywhere is called the American Dream, and we often misunderstand the American Dream.

The American Dream is not about becoming wealthy, although that may be part of your dream. The American Dream is not about becoming famous or powerful. For millions and millions of people, the American Dream is much simpler, yet more profound. It’s about the ability to acquire a job that fulfills you, but also allows you to provide for your family; the freedom to speak openly and worship as you please; to provide a safe and stable home for your children; to one day be able to retire with dignity and to leave your children better off than yourself.

That is the real American Dream. And if you ask me what the single greatest challenge before our country today is, it is that there are now millions of people in this country that believe that dream is not our dream for people like them. And that is not just a threat to our economy. That is a direct threat to our identity. This erosion of the American Dream threatens to rob us of what makes us special and what makes us different.

Why is that happening? It’s not just because we had a great recession. It’s because before our very eyes, our economy has undergone an extraordinary transformation, and it is still undergoing that transformation. Not that long ago, we used to be a national economy. Your competitors, your clients, they were all in the same neighborhood or the same city. Now, they’re halfway around the world. We compete with other countries for jobs, for investments, for innovation.

The other thing that’s changed is that the better paying jobs of the 21st century all require some form of higher education. When my parents came here in 1956, it didn’t matter that they had little formal education. Working as a bartender and a maid, they made it to the middle class. Never rich, never famous, but fully a part of the American middle class. Today that has gotten harder than ever because the middle class and above jobs of the 21st century require a higher level of education, and yet millions of people find it inaccessible to them. Those are the challenges that we’re facing.

The good news is this doesn’t have to be the new normal. We do not have to accept what we have today as the new normal. We can still restore what we have come to know as the American Dream. This can still remain a country where anyone from anywhere can accomplish anything. We have time to do that, but we do not have forever.

The fundamental challenge that we have in accomplishing that work is that I think to some extent both political parties are broken in how they approach this. The Democratic Party wants to continue to invest in programs from the last century. They believe that we can continue to tax people and that there’s no competition. They think we can continue to regulate businesses as though there’s no global competition. And they want to keep pouring money into a broken and stagnant higher education cartel that has become inexpensive — increasingly expensive and inaccessible to millions of Americans.

The problem we’ve had on the right for too long is we have not shown people how our principles of limited government and free enterprise apply to the challenges of the 21st century. And so why I’m so proud to endorse candidates like Cory Gardner, and Joni Ernst, and Tom Cotton, is because they fully understand the need that our country has to restore this agenda.

It’s an agenda that begins by saying our goal number one is to create millions of higher paying jobs in this country, and it isn’t rocket science how to accomplish that. Jobs and opportunity are created with a simple function of either investment or innovation. Someone risks money to start a new business or expand an existing one, or someone creates a product or a service that no has ever done.

And our goal must be to make America the greatest country in the world to invest and to innovate, and we’re losing our advantage in both. We have a tax code in America that isn’t just complicated, it’s expensive. It incentivizes people to invest their money in other countries. That’s why (inaudible) $2 trillion of American corporate taxes sitting in bank accounts overseas.

We have a regulatory code that discourages innovation. In fact, we too often have a regulatory code that is used by established businesses and industries to crush innovative competitors. We have a perfect example of this in Miami, Florida. Now, this is a small-scale example, but it’s an important one, where an innovative new car service called Uber cannot operate in Miami Dade County because government does allow it, because that government has become influenced by an established industry that doesn’t want the competition.

And perhaps more than anything else that I think we have failed to do is to convince people that big government doesn’t hurt the people who have made it. If you’re a multinational corporation, if you’re a millionaire or a billionaire, you may not agree with big government, you may not like big government, but you can afford to deal with big government. You can hire all the lawyers and lobbyists in Washington to help you out.

If you are trying to start a business out of the spare bedroom of your home, not only are you violating the zoning code, but you can’t afford to do all those things.

(Applause.)

MARCO RUBIO: And so, we need a tax code that says the more you invest, the less you’ll pay in taxes. We need a regulatory code that encourages investment and innovation in America for the 21st century.

(Applause.)

MARCO RUBIO: And I would just add — I would just add (inaudible), you do have to deal with the national debt because a debt crisis is not good for investment and innovation. People are not excited about investing and innovating in a country that’s headed for a debt crisis.

The second point I made to you was about the need for higher education. We have a completely outdated 19th century higher education system badly in need of reform. For the life of me, I do not understand why are we not graduating more kids from high school ready to go to work. Why aren’t we graduating more plumbers, and electricians, and airplane mechanics?

(Applause.)

MARCO RUBIO: The other reality that we face in the 21st century is we have millions of people who are the ones that need higher education the most. I have one in my state. Her name is Christine. She’s a single mother of two girls. She works for a pet boarding operation making $9.50 an hour. She struggles to provide for her girls. Daycare alone takes up almost a third of her salary if not more. The President’s answer to her is let’s raise the minimum wage by another 50 to 60 cents, but what she needs is a raise to a job that pays $30 an hour.

The only way she will ever get that is if she gets a degree or a certificate in some profession. She wants to be an early childhood educator, but she can’t because our higher education system is not meant or built to help people like her. She can take online courses, but they cost more than going to class. She can go to a for-profit college, but oftentimes that costs five or six times what a community college or university costs. So what does she do? She can’t go to school. She will be stuck making $9.50 for the foreseeable future, and no government program in the world that exists right now will reverse that.

What we need is a higher education system that’s accessible for her, one that allows people like her to raise her family and work full time to acquire the skills and knowledge they need so they can improve their lot in life. I saw that with my own two eyes in my office. When I was in the state legislature, my administrative assistant, my secretary, made only $29,000 a year. That’s what the state paid. That wasn’t my decision. But she was able to go to school at night to become a paralegal and go from $29,000 a year to $51,000 a year. We need an education system that allows us to provide that learning for people that are facing these challenges who have to work full time and raise a family.

And it exists. There’s all sorts of ways to learn in the 21st century — massive online courses, community colleges. You should be able to get credit for life experience and work experience. You should be able to package all these things into the equivalent of a degree, but we can’t because only accredited colleges can give degrees. And guess who accredits colleges? The accredited colleges –

(Laughter.)

MARCO RUBIO: — who don’t want any competition from anyone else. If we do not address this, we are going to leave millions of people stuck and behind in this country.

And last, but not least, the traditional college route isn’t working out great either. We are graduating millions of young people in this country with degrees that do not meet the jobs. And that’s why I believe that before you get a major in Greek philosophy, that that school better tell you, here’s how much Greek philosophers are making these days.

(Laughter.)

MARCO RUBIO: So you can decide for yourself whether it’s worth borrowing $50,000 to major in it.

(Applause.)

MARCO RUBIO: And I also believe that we should provide alternatives to student loans. I’ve offered something that was actually featured this weekend in the Wall Street Journal. It’s called Student Investment Plans. This is especially good for graduate students. It allows them to go to a lender, basically a venture fund, and say this is who I am, this is what I’m going to do with my future, and if you help me pay for my education, I will pay you back by promising over 10 years or 12 years to pay you a percentage of my salary. This has actually been used overseas, and I have filed a bill that creates a legal framework for this sort of lending to be available. It was featured this weekend. I encourage you to pick up the weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal. There are other things that we can do, but we have to think about these sorts of innovations.

Here’s my last point that I’ll make to you. We have to reinvigorate values in family life in America. This idea that somehow the social well-being of your people can be separated from their economic well-being is simply not true. This is not the part where I tell people how to live their lives, or what they need to believe, or what church they need to go to. This is the part where I tell you that I know for a fact, and so do you, that perhaps the leading cause of poverty in America today is the breakdown of communities and American families, and that we need to empower families like never before.

We have a tax code that punishes family life. We have safety net programs in America that punish people and keep them from getting married. We know the power of parents. Parents should be able to send their kids to any school of their choice, and this is especially true (inaudible).

(Applause.)

MARCO RUBIO: It is fundamentally unfair, in my opinion, and I’m married, that the only people in America who cannot pick where their children to go to school are poor people. The only parents in America that are stuck having to put kids in a school of the government’s choice are the parents that can’t afford anything else. The people who need it the most are the ones that are the ones that are least likely to get it. And it’s a fight that I believe we’re winning, but we’d better speed it up because in the process millions of children are being left behind by a broken education system, and their parents have no power over it.

My last point is we need to help families with the cost of living, and that means healthcare and alternatives (inaudible). I’m not going to spend a lot of time preaching to this choir about Obamacare.

But let me tell you one more area that I want to talk to you about, the cost of energy. You tell me — Christine, I just told you about her. She lives in Florida, which means she — and actually where she lives, her utility is very coal dependent. I promise you, though, what this President just did by executive order is going to raise her electric bill. She’s already struggling to provide for her family. She is already struggling with the cost of healthcare, and childcare, and gasoline, and health insurance, and transportation. And on top of that, you’re going to raise her utility rates?

Interestingly enough, the people who are in favor of all this stuff, they can afford to pay all of this. The people who are being crushed by it are the people that this President claims to be helping.

(Applause.)

MARCIO RUBIO: I guess I’ll just wrap up by saying this. The Ford F-150 is the best car on (inaudible).

(Laughter.)

MARCO RUBIO: I apologize, sorry. I’ll wrap up by saying this. You know, by by every measure, I’m not considered to be someone that came from privilege. As I told you earlier, my father was — when he was nine years old, his mother passed away. He went to work as a nine-year-old. My son is nine years old, so that’s hard for me to imagine. Went to work when he was nine years old, and he worked for 70 years of his life. He worked primarily as a bartender at events just like this. When I see the men and women who have served us here tonight, it reminds me of my father who worked events like this over and over again, standing behind the bar so that his family could have a better future.

My mom (inaudible) I told you about earlier. She worked as a cashier, as a stock clerk at K-Mart, as a maid at the Imperial Palace Hotel in Las Vegas. My parents never owned more than one car and one house. Never took a trip to Europe. Never owned a yacht or a private plane. Nothing wrong with any of that. And yet I can tell you without a doubt my parents fully lived the American Dream, and I did come from privilege.

You see, I had the privilege of growing up in a strong and stable home where I knew that my parents loved me and they encouraged me to dream dreams. I was raised by two parents who loved each other, and I was raised in the single greatest country in all of human history.

I was raised in the one place on earth where even the son of a bartender and a maid could have the same dreams as the son of a president or a billionaire. This is real privilege. This is what all of us have been privileged with. I am struck tonight by how many people in this room started with nothing (inaudible) wealth. But it shouldn’t surprise us because this is the fundamental story of our Nation and our people.

And I close with this story of my parents not just to give you insight into who I am, but to help remind us of who we are. This is a defining characteristic of what it means to be an American. What it means to be America has never been we’ve got the most powerful army, although I always hope we will, or that we have the largest economy, although I hope we will. What it means to be America is this is the one place on earth where no matter where you start out, you have a God-given right to go as far as your talent and your work will take you.

And I’ve been reminded of that time and again in my life, but perhaps never more than on the night of my primary victory for the U.S. Senate. I had a general election. I had a primary. By then Charlie Crist had become an Independent, and now he’s a Democrat, potentially a vegetarian (inaudible). But anyway.

(Laughter.)

MARCO RUBIO: He actually is talking about traveling to Cuba, so maybe he’s got one more party switch in him.

(Laughter.)

MARCO RUBIO: Anyway, I’ve got to stop. The election was four years ago. I’ve got to stop.

(Laughter.)

MARCO RUBIO: Okay, so I was never more reminded of all this than the night of my primary election. My father got very sick during the end of my campaign, and he was living in my sister’s house. And he had not been out of bed for a week. He had chemotherapy, and he was nearing the end of his life now. And he had not gotten out of bed literally for two or three weeks.

So I went to see him, and this was not a very competitive primary. So I went to go see him that day, in the middle of the day. I knocked on the door, and my nephew who lived there opened the door with a big smile. And I said, “What are you smiling about?” He goes, “Well, come in and see for yourself.” So I walked to the back of the house, and there was my dad, fully dressed sitting in his wheelchair, ready to go because he had gotten up from his bed for the first time in three weeks because he was going to go to my victory party that night. Now, unfortunately as the day — this was the afternoon. As the day wore on, he didn’t have the strength to go. And by the time my victory party came (inaudible).

But I wonder often, why is it that it was so important for him to be there that night? And my sense was that he knew the end was near, and probably doubted he would make it to November (inaudible). And of course, part of it was that his son was going to win and he was very proud of me. But I now realize it was about something a lot more than that. You see, I’m sure when he was my age and younger he had all sorts of dreams. In fact, I know he did. He wanted to be a successful businessman, and he tried his hand at a couple of things. Didn’t quite work out.

I’ll never forget growing up he was a bartender. One day as a kid, I had this habit of whoever I saw on television, I would play pretend that I was that. So I was all sorts of things. I was a football coach. I was the Pope. I was whatever I saw on TV.

(Laughter.)

MARCO RUBIO: One day I dressed up like a bartender, and my dad said to me, I don’t want to you do that. I want you to wear a suit and tie to work. Little did he know how prophetic that would be.

(Laughter.)

MARCO RUBIO: Because to him, that was a symbol of success. That’s what he saw all the businessmen that traveled to Miami Beach wearing, and that’s what he wanted us to be able to do in our lives. You see, at some point in time — I don’t know when it was — but at some point in time, the very purpose of his life was opening up for us doors that had been closed for them. The very purpose of his life had become to make possible for us all the things that were never possible for them.

And so, for him that night wasn’t just going to be his son winning an election. It was going to be affirmation that he mattered, that his life had a purpose, that the sacrifices were not in vain, that all those nights that he had to stand behind a bar in his 70s when he was tired was not for nothing; that he had opened those doors for us, that he had made possible for us what had been impossible for him.

This is the fundamental promise of this country. It is a promise within each of us, in all of us. And this is how our future will be judged, not by how well our stock market performs, or by how large our GDP may grow. These are important things. But how our future will be judged will be whether or not people like my father can still leave their children better off.

Whether or not we will remain an exceptional country will be decided by whether or not the men and women who are working in this hotel tonight can one day have children sitting in chairs like these or standing at a podium like this one. That’s how we will be judged.

And that is the great problem of our time, not simply to stabilize America, but to save her exceptional nature, to keep her a special and unique place, and to leave for our children what our parents left for us: the single greatest Nation in all the history of the world.

So I thank you for what you’re doing in that regard, and I know that working together this is what we will achieve. We will leave our children what Americans always leave for their children, the greatest country that man has ever known. Thank you for the opportunity.

(Applause.)

CHARLES KOCH: You know, Marco, that was quite a coincidence that you had the wrong notes because I seem to have the wrong notes a lot of times.

(Laughter.)

CHARLES KOCH: And the only way I know is when later that evening or the next day I get my report card from Liz.

(Laughter.)

CHARLES KOCH: But, you know, most of the many, many years and decades I’ve been involved in this struggle, I thought “principled politician” was an oxymoron.

(Laughter.)

CHARLES KOCH: And I still think that’s largely the case. But we see a few now and then, and when I think about it, that’s what we’re about: to find and get elected some politicians with principles. But how do we do that? The only way we can do that is have more principled voters, more principled Americans, who will try to do what’s right for the country rather than what’s in their personal interests as opposed to everybody else.

Now, this has been, in my view, a very special seminar, and in many ways it’s been, in my view, the best seminar we’ve ever had. The only thing that doesn’t make it the best in everything is we didn’t raise a record amount of money.

(Laughter.)

CHARLES KOCH: So Kevin is going to come back out and we’re going to try again.

(Laughter.)

CHARLES KOCH: So our record is January 7th?

SPEAKER: Yes. Yes.

CHARLES KOCH: Okay.

SPEAKER: I’m ready.

(Laughter.)

CHARLES KOCH: So now, I want to thank everybody who made this such a special seminar, all of you partners — fabulous — and the presenters, and the staff. I mean, it really was an uplifting experience. The only problem is (inaudible) I get (inaudible) having tears in my eyes. God, Liz, bring the Visine.

(Laughter.)

CHARLES KOCH: Now, I want to — sorry, I mean, after that great talk and thank Marco for a very inspiring story, very uplifting story, and a great message, and for all he’s doing to try to preserve and enhance our free society.

But I want to kind of give an overview of what we’re about and what our strength is in my idiosyncratic mind. And the way I view it is what we need to do is build a movement of people who are totally dedicated to preserving and enhancing our free society. And when I say “a movement,” I mean a group of people who will act or are dedicated to act, who don’t just give lip service, but are willing to dedicate themselves to our free society, and to making it better and better, whatever the cost to them personally. And I’m not big on self-sacrifice. I think it’s a win-win for all of us who do this.

And that means — when I say “to act,” I mean in whatever way fits their passion and capability. Everybody doesn’t have to give money. Everybody doesn’t have to be a college professor, be an activist, a writer, a leader of an organization. Whatever fits them and however they can contribute.

And this is absolutely critical because to me what’s going to determine the future of this country is the balance of people who are willing to act to affect the future of this country. And if the majority of those people are collectivists, we are doomed. So we have to be much more aggressive in identifying, recruiting, educating, and mobilizing those people who will be willing to act on behalf of our free society.

And so this seminar is a great foundation for that, but this is a labor intensive business. And the most we can have is several thousand, and we need a movement of several million. So we’re going to have to get — coordinate all of our organizations to do this identification, recruiting, and mobilization, and build new capabilities for better, more efficient outreach to find, and recruit, and mobilize these people.

I think Thomas Jefferson said this well. “I know of no safe depository of the liberty and property of the people but the people themselves.” And that means us and anyone else we can find and learn how to find to dedicate themselves to this cause.

Now, in these efforts, we’re guided by the three — what we consider the three requirements for action: that is, dissatisfaction with the current state, vision of a better state, and a path to get there.

So how do we satisfy these requirements? First, we encourage people to have a realistic level of dissatisfaction. And the way we do that is we help them understand the realities of collectivism and government control, and to get them to realize that the record in this regard is stark; that society dominated by government has impoverished and starved the very people they promise to help. And at best — in the best condition, it condemns them to a lifetime of poverty, dependency, and hopelessness. Even when they have enough to eat, they have no hope. They have no reason for living.

So our goal is to get people to understand, to recognize that continuing down the path we’re on will make their lives worse and those of their families’ worse, and possibly much worse.

Then next, we need to help people develop a vision of a better state, which we will do by demonstrating how even modest increases in freedom have benefited billions of people in every dimension of their lives. And how with increased freedom, individuals can enjoy far better lives, individuals from all walks of life.

And finally, as for a path to a better state, we will help people see that as we’re able to clear away these obstacles that the government has put in their path, that even the poorest among us will be able to create much better lives for themselves. And we will help them find that path, both by understanding how to eliminate those obstacles, and by helping them develop the skills and the values required for them to succeed.

Now, this may seem like not a vision, but a fantasy. But I think given the courage and commitment that this room has demonstrated, that we can make this vision a reality. And just speaking for me personally, your trust in us is tremendously gratifying to me, and makes my resolve, not that I was ever unresolved –

(Laughter.)

CHARLES KOCH: — makes my resolve even stronger. And I want to assure you that we are doing our utmost to earn that trust because together I believe that we can prevail.

So my last words are, be strong and Godspeed. Thank you.

(Applause.)

(Whereupon, the meeting was adjourned.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top Koch Strategist: “Get Off Your Ass And Work Hard Like We Did”

AUDIO OBTAINED FROM SOURCE WHO WAS PRESENT.

FULL REMARKS/VIDEO TRANSCRIPTION IN PROCESS.  HIGHLIGHTS BELOW.

 

OPENING SESSIONS

June 15, 2014

SPEAKER:

RICHARD FINK

“The Long-Term Strategy: Engaging the Middle Third”

 

P R O C E E D I N G S

KEVIN GENTRY: Okay. Well, to round out this before we break, I’d like for Richard to come forward, and for those if you (inaudible) Rich has always played a role, sort of grand strategist. He helps us understand the path to get there. So Charles has started off by laying out the vision, and Victor Davis Hanson has helped us understand the nature of the threats we face. Will has helped us understand that there’s a path there (inaudible) for a better life. Rich is going to tell us how to get there.

And as we all know, we stumbled upon the Thomas Jefferson (inaudible) for liberty (inaudible). That’s always frustrating, so, Rich, (inaudible), right? So drumroll, please. Take it away.

RICHARD FINK: (Inaudible). That’s something I always think about (inaudible). That’s the definition of (inaudible). That was one of my bets (inaudible).

(Laughter.)

(Applause.)

RICHARD FINK: (Inaudible). It makes life worth living. If you don’t have (inaudible). (Inaudible) They’re really something special.

(Laughter.)

RICHARD FINK: So as Kevin summed up, Charles and Drs. Hanson and Ruger talked about what are our choices, okay. Here is the choice of collectivism, which as we see (inaudible) in the world today leads to devastation to the population. And wonderful for the rulers, but terrible for everybody else. We’re a free society, and everybody has an opportunity to benefit and to live their lives as they choose to live.

So where do we stand now? Let’s take a quick look about America on this debt. We’ve got $16 trillion in debt on a net times value basis. We’ve got $200 trillion in unfunded liabilities with no idea how we’re ever going to meet — pay those off and meet those obligations.

The labor participation ratio is the lowest in decades, and that’s extremely important. Labor participation ratio. That means more and more people are out of the labor market. And as I talk today, you’ll see how critically important it is because a job is a critical form of earned success and feeling good about yourself.

We’re increasing dependency programs in almost every dimension. This Administration has gone nuts about handing out money they don’t have, promising favors to people, the government’s failure to (inaudible). In just about every area, you name the government agency that isn’t screwing something up. The Federal Reserve depreciating the currency. The Post Office running billions of dollars’ worth of deficits. The IRS is completely corrupt, losing emails, the Veterans Administration, K through 12 education.

You know, with our decline, which, is obvious to the rest of the world in almost every dimension, foreign leaders are now emboldened to do things that they would otherwise not do. So you’ll see the Russians now invading Crimea, planning to take over Ukraine, and basically trying to recreate the Soviet empire. China is becoming more aggressive in Asia. The Middle East, of course, is a (inaudible) on that. Increased terrorism, focused on, on (inaudible) and killing Americans. And as Will pointed out, any journalist worth his salt knows the most important defense is a strong economy.

While this is happening, what are domestic leaders, domestic collectivists doing? They’re attacking free speech. They’re trying to destroy the dissidents. We have a speaker of — we have a President of the Senate who has 200 times trashed really Charles and David Koch (inaudible). You’d think he might spend a little time focusing on some of those other problems, okay? He changed the filibuster rule to pack the courts. Mark Holden will talk about that tomorrow. And they’re trying to amend the Constitution to ensure their continued dominance. So we live — we live in a very, very dangerous time.

But I am not depressed because I believe that we are at a point, at a crossroads. Like Victor Davis Hanson said that (inaudible). Our decline is becoming more and more palpable to Americans across the country. And while they’re not particularly intrigued with some of their alternatives, they recognize that we need to do something fundamentally different, and therein lies an opportunity.

And that opportunity is you, and you, and this seminar network because we are in the best position to challenge the collectivists and to turn this country around. We are the most credible threat that the collectivists have. Don’t believe me. Let’s look at what they do.

Who are they attacking? They are spending more time attacking the Kochs and this seminar network than any other group in the country. Is that by accident? No, it’s because they understand that we are the most credible threat to their continuing destruction of the American Dream.

So how are we going seize this opportunity? Well, let me — let me present a diagram which I promise you I won’t give you a (inaudible). Liz, I promise I’m not going to do this. But this is the integrated (inaudible) production which I shared with you during the first half of today that those who are returning have seen many times. We have built the most effective set of institutions, individuals, and ideas for the side of liberty that has existed during my lifetime. Now, it’s still (inaudible) opposition, but this offers our best hope.

So we have been focusing on, as you know, educating and mobilizing people that are conservative and libertarian that believe in freedom, which has been critically important to our successes in beating cap and trade, and in turning the House of Representatives around. And while we did — we were very successful in 2010, the electoral process. We got our clocks cleaned in 2012. We’re going to get our clocks cleaned again. This is a long-term battle, but there’s a lot of activity going on for 2014 in regards to the Senate that you’ll hear a lot about Monday morning.

So let me tell you — reiterate what Charles said. Okay. The two-year cycle — the focus on the electoral process is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for a win. And to the extent that we are overly consumed with the electoral process, that is a long-term losing strategy.

And I’ll show you this picture, and I won’t spend a lot of time on it. But I want you to tell me where Democrats and where Republicans have really controlled the government, and where we’ve decreased government spending, where we’ve increased free enterprise, okay? You understand? We don’t know. As a matter of fact, some of the Republicans (inaudible) increased government a lot faster and a lot greater than previous Democratic Administrations.

So believe me, we need better people in government, and we’re working hard on it, but it’s not a panacea. And we can blame politicians about it, and we won’t argue (inaudible) about politicians. But the ultimate responsibility is with the people, okay, because politicians are responsive to the people in the ultimate end (inaudible). When you lose touch with your constituency, you pay the price. It’s not a perfect system, but that’s what we need to focus on in addition to what we’re — what we’re doing.

So let’s take a look at what that exactly means. We need to have — for long-term success, we need to get a majority of active Americans, okay, to understand the need (inaudible) for a free society. Now, I’m thinking 50 percent, 51 percent majority, but we need a margin of error there. It’s a very uncertain and complex process. So we need to reach 60 percent of people who understand about freedom and who understand about collectivism.

Let’s take a closer look at that. These are just rough numbers because everyone’s got their own data. But roughly a third of this 60 percent of active Americans, okay, are very conservative libertarians, and we’ve been very successful in mobilizing them. And that’s why we win mid-term elections. That’s why we can defeat cap and trade, almost defeated Obamacare even though the Democrats held the House and Senate (inaudible). The collectivists have about a third, and they believe that growing government is the ultimate solution to all of our problems and (inaudible) very clearly.

The battle for the future of the country is who can win the hearts and minds of that middle third. That middle third is not ideologically unified in a way that the freedom, or the conservative, or the collectivist third is. So this is a combination of different ideas and different philosophies. But whoever can mobilize a majority of that 30 percent will determine the direction of the country.

So the thing (inaudible) we wanted to spare you a 20-minute dialogue about this strategy, put together a two-minute video that’ll be a lot clearer than my 20-minute rant on this. And I’ll tell you now, because we want your dollars invested in very effectively a fight for freedom, we couldn’t hire a professional narrator, so we found one who would do it for nothing. And it’s a third rate narration, but he really was the cheapest one we could find.

(Video presentation.)

CHARLES KOCH/NARRATOR: “The national conversation today is dominated by divisiveness: class warfare, government (inaudible) attacks on free speech and other constitutional rights (inaudible). We need great people today to drive the national conversation who want to help people improve their lives and have Americans working with each other to solve (inaudible) problems.

We support this effort through hard facts, (inaudible) leveraging science and universities (inaudible). We support a network of (inaudible) who will vote (inaudible). That’s an opportunity. (inaudible) so people can understand our impact the (inaudible) lines that are removed. That’s what state think tanks and citizens have to achieve (inaudible) to work with global decision makers to advance policies that help people put value in themselves (inaudible).

By doing this, we will mobilize (inaudible) in support of the movement for well-being (inaudible) and focus on intensive efforts (inaudible) people are most receptive to a message of freedom. We can instill (inaudible) and in doing so, create the conditions to impact the federal government. If we are successful, there will be enough (inaudible) support to not only drive state policies, but also to elect a majority of freedom advocates in the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, and we need 317 electoral votes to elect a president who will advance (inaudible). The future of America ultimately depends on having a majority of educated and active citizens who understand and support a free and prosperous America.”

(Applause.)

RICHARD FINK: Hired for nothing. (Inaudible). So our sessions this afternoon are going to focus in depth on those, the first few stages of that strategy. We have panels for each one, and Monday morning we’ll focus on the fourth, the impact of the Federal government.

But I want to talk to you about something that I am very, very excited about, and I think (inaudible) as I’ve kind of alluded to. And I — let’s focus on the middle third. I think we’re doing a pretty good job on the third set of freedom and libertarian conservatives, but we’ve got to reach the middle third. And I want to talk about three different topics that I think are critical for reaching the middle 30 — the middle third — I’m sorry (inaudible).

(Laughter.)

RICHARD FINK: And that is intent (inaudible) this is going to sound a little strange, so you’ll have to bear with me for this — intent, well-being, and meaning, and I’ll explain that throughout the process. But one thing is intent, or intention, as Charles articulated in his comments last night for those of you who were here, is absolutely critical for this middle third. And for the, for the (inaudible) third it is somewhat less critical because they see the results of (inaudible). They see better houses, better clothing, better products. But intent matters to this middle third.

And throughout western civilization, intent has been extremely important. So we say you have intent. Well, the road to hell is paved with good intentions, right? Well so is the road to heaven, okay? So, so intent matters.

In the criminal justice system, to commit a crime you have to have knowledge and intent. There’s a reason for this. When you have a complex state in the legal system, the jury can struggle with the law. What do they do? They try to figure out who’s got the white hat, who’s got the black hat, and they try to rule based on the well intentions (inaudible) Mitt Romney won on leadership. He won on the economy. He won on experience. What did he lose on? He lost on care and intent. Intent is extremely important.

So remember — I’ve brought in a really simple little diagram to try to illustrate this. On the horizontal axis I’ve got failure in terms of advancing well-being and success. Everybody with me? Okay. On the vertical axis, I have good intent or (inaudible) intent. Okay. So this is about the middle third based on focus groups, based on meetings. Many of the people in the middle third (inaudible). I’ve kind of put this generalization together. So this not a complete science, so don’t kill me.

But basically the middle third understand that fascists and communists are both, generate sadness and they’re — have bad intent, so they understand Stalin and Lenin and Hitler and Mao. Not everybody in that group, but basically they do. They have a sense of (inaudible), okay? But for liberals, they say, you should ignore all the liberal programs, haven’t worked out that well, but we mean well, and that’s important to me, they care about me. They want to do good things. What do they think about big business? Big business they see as very suspicious. Okay, yeah, they produce great products. They do all the wonderful things that you all talk about — housing and clothes. You’ve got a lot of stuff.

But you know what? They’re greedy. They don’t care about the underprivileged. They don’t care about people who don’t have the same opportunities. What do they say? What do people like you say? I grew up with pretty much very little, okay. And I worked my butt off to get what I have. So, I see (inaudible) on the street (inaudible) I said, listen, get off your ass, and work hard like we did. We did it; you can do it, okay? We did it. That’s what we did, okay. They’ve got (inaudible).

What this middle third sees is something very different, the people in the younger generation, okay, who have benefited from our productivity, our large — our largesse. They go to good colleges, they have cars, they have decent houses. (Inaudible) now and they say, I’m not born into opportunity. I haven’t really earned it. It was my generation. And why does (inaudible) not have it? They feel guilty about it, so they — intent to them is not just opportunity for themselves. It’s opportunity for other people. It’s very important.

We talk to people about (inaudible). Yeah, we want decrease regulations. Why? It’s because we can make more profit, okay? Yeah, cut government spending so we don’t have to pay so much taxes (inaudible). There’s truth in that, you all know, because we’re in the 30 percent of the freedom fighters. But the middle part of the group doesn’t see it that way. And who wins this country is whoever can get in that northeast quadrant. Who has got both success and good intent will drive the country because they’ll drive that 30 percent.

It’s going to be a lot easier for us because the liberals, to be successful in added-value is extremely difficult because their programs fail, okay? That’s a lot harder. We’re doing the hard stuff. We’re actually producing well-being, but we’ve got to convince these people that we mean well, that we intend, and that we’re good people.

Okay. Let’s talk about one way we’re going to do this, and that is our focus on well-being. Our focus — when we focus on decreasing government spending, over-criminalization, decreasing taxes, it doesn’t do it, okay? We’ve been reaching the third by telling them what’s important — what we think is important should be important to them. And they’re not responding and don’t like it, okay? Well, we get business — what do we do? We want to find out what the customer wants, right, not what we want them to buy. You know, I’m one of those people in my narration (inaudible) give me a million dollars to narrate. What’s the market pay? Zero.

(Laughter.)

RICHARD FINK: So we need to understand what they do. And what we’ve done is we took 20 years of objective research of left, right, middle scientists, and we’ve looked at 170,000 surveys of people around the world, in the United States — they were all people in the middle — and what they think is important. And what they think are important is summarized by these six categories. And I won’t spend a lot of time on this because there is a session on Monday afternoon, for those of you who want to explore this in depth, I recommend that you go. But the problem is that session is at the same time there’s a value added event. We’re going to talk about how we’re going to bring this to the — to the middle third, so you’re going to have to make a choice there. If you’re a couple, I say one go to one, one go to the other (inaudible).

So here’s this opportunity. People want opportunity, this third, the middle third, for themselves, for their neighbors, for their communities. Okay. They want a strong, healthy — they want health, they want a clean environment, they want high living standards, they want freedom. We’re talking economic freedom. They want political freedom, religious freedom, and (inaudible). So we’ve been only hitting on one out of four cylinders in that area. Community relationship is extremely important to them, and peace and security is as well.

So I talked a little bit about opportunity, but peace and security is also important to them, and it’s an area we haven’t focused on, and it’s not just international security from terrorism or whatever. They’re really worried about a free country, okay? They’re worried about a police state, and drive down the street, and to go to their cars. And that’s where we’re talking with people to understand that problem, at the same time to prevent people from getting into a life of crime, providing them real opportunities and make their neighborhoods safe. And we’ll talk about that on the next panel.

Okay. So what is — the last one we’re going to talk about meaning, and that’s the meaning of life. And this is something that I’ve actually thought a lot about for four years. Matter of fact, it’s one of the topics that (inaudible) constantly and mankind has wrestled with this since the beginning of time, and that is the meaning of life.

So let’s talk about what the collectivists do to the meaning of life. They take people and they tell them that you’re a victim and the American Dream no longer exists. The people who built those businesses, they built it on your backs, but they’re getting the majority of the share. And if you know anything about psychology and about people who have “victimitis,” they are the most — they are the most (inaudible) depressed, unproductive people. They become depressed, they become addicts, or they become aggressive. You take two young children that grow up in horrible circumstances. The one that blames other people for it, tends to stay there. The one in the worst circumstance in the world that doesn’t blame people, that works to build themselves up, tends to be very, very successful.

So when you destroy someone’s meaning by making them a victim, okay, you actually destroy their purpose of life. And psychology shows that is the main recruiting ground for totalitarianism, for fascism, for conformism, when people feel like they’re victims. And what we do is we take away their jobs or their independence. So the big danger of minimum wage isn’t the fact that some people are being paid more than their valued-added — that’s not great. It’s not that it’s hard to stay in business — that’s not great either. But it’s the 500,000 people that will not have a job because of minimum wage, because there is no such thing as a dead end job. As Martin Luther King said, “(Inaudible) every job is an opportunity.” Okay (inaudible).

And now what to do with them. We’re taking these 500,000 people that would’ve had a job, and putting them unemployed, making dependence part of government programs, and destroying their opportunity for earned success. And so we see this is a very big part of recruitment in Germany in the 20s. When the Germans were crushed by World War I, the Allies put a very strong settlement on that. They lost their meaning in life.

And if you look at the Third — the rise and fall of the Third Reich, you can see that — they’re fighting, the (inaudible) they don’t know what to do, whatever. And what happens is a fascist comes in and offers them an opportunity, finds the victim — Jews or the West — and offers them meaning for their life, okay? The nation, Germany, the superior race.

(Inaudible) and professors and people who do the most horrific things, and this is not just in Germany. It’s in Russia, in Lenin, and Stalin Russia, and then Mao. This is the — this is the recruitment ground for fascism, and it’s not just historical. It’s what goes on today in the — in the suicide bomber recruitment. It’s not just these young kids who don’t know what to do. They’re looking for, you know, something.

We had in our seminar here a number of years ago an Egyptian doctor. I don’t know if those of you here met him. But he was recruited to be a suicide bomber by Al-Qaeda, and he signed up. He’s a doctor. He was an (inaudible) in Egypt. Why would he do that? I asked him why would you do that. Now he had the brain to not put on the vest and he ran to the States. But he said, I just don’t (inaudible). He said, I thought I was successful just (inaudible) offered me during the battle (inaudible) gave my life meaning. And that’s how I was recruited and a lot of my wealthy — successful people were recruited. Meaning is extremely important.

It’s (inaudible) in the United States. The environmental movement. Occupy Wall Street. These kids are searching for meaning.  They’re protesting the one percent. They are the one percent, but they’re protesting the one percent. The environmental movement and climate change. It’s not about climate change.

I studied climate change for six years. I can’t figure it out, quite frankly. Charles is ahead of me on this. I’m not a climatologist, but I’m not completely stupid. I can tell you I meet with people, particularly in California, that are convinced the world is going to burn up in you know, a year or two. They don’t know the answer — they don’t even know the question, because it’s not about climate change. It’s about a cause. It gives their life meaning. And Harrison Ford is a great example of this. Harrison Ford said, I knew coming out of (inaudible) a kind of God. And he’s now a radical environmentalist climate alarmist (inaudible).

So the meaning is extremely important, and there’s a battle for meaning, okay? If these people become dependent, if they lose meaning in their life, if you put them on government programs, you put them on welfare, and you take away their job opportunities, we’ll lose the country.

Viktor Frankl focused on meaning with those who have chemical addiction. And his success in getting people off of chemical addiction was 400 percent higher than any other competing therapy because all he focused on was helping people find meaning for themselves. You can’t give someone meaning. You have to help them find it for themselves.

Here’s a couple statistics on this. Ninety percent of alcoholics are not psychologically built. They see their lives as without a purpose. Same too with addicts, same percentage. Eighty-five percent of students who attempted suicide said life (inaudible) meaning. What’s interesting is 93 percent of that 85 percent of those students are actively engaged socially, performed well academically, and had good terms with their families. So by the university’s standards, they were well adjusted. They were — they were exactly the people who you think would not commit suicide, or attempt to, but they did. Why? Because they lacked meaning. They lacked purpose. They didn’t know what life was all about, whether it was worth living.

In surveys of, of students, 68 percent of all students in the United States — well this is (inaudible) to show that the highest goal was developing a meaningful philosophy of life. Sixteen percent of students said their highest goal was making a lot of money. Seventy-eight percent of students said their highest goal was finding a purpose. And it’s not just students, and alcoholics, and addicts. (Inaudible) workers. 1,532 workers were asked what’s important to you in a job. Good pay came in fifth. Fulfillment came in first. And that’s why Charles has that as one of our principles at Koch Industries. Fulfillment in your job is critically important.

Here’s one that surprised me. There was a study of Harvard grads 20 years after they graduated, of a hundred Harvard grads all successful on Wall Street — doctors, lawyers, and what else, made a lot of money — by all stretches of the imagination were highly successful. An overwhelming percentage of them said they weren’t sure if the success was worth it. They weren’t sure why they worked so hard and what did it mean.

And this goes back to the definition of “mid-life crisis.” It’s a lack of meaning in peoples’ lives, and it affects all aspects of society. And in America right now, we’re in a situation where we’re living in a society where people have enough to live by, but nothing to live for. They have the means, but no meaning. In the past, in history, people every day had to get up to fight to survive to win (inaudible), for clothing and whatever. To them, meaning was survival, okay? And if you look at collectivist institutions, the institutions that have arised or developed over time to give people meaning are almost all the ones they target. Meaning is (inaudible) family.

If you look at most of the collectivist policies, they attack the family. They attack marriage, okay? You get a (Inaudible) on welfare if you’re married. If you’re single, you get more money, okay. They attack business. They attack religion (inaudible). Why do they attack religion? Because that was giving people meaning, and if people have meaning, they’re not going to be (inaudible) to big government collectivist policies.

So what do we offer the middle — the middle third with our freedom approach, with our well-being approach? We can work with them, okay, on issues that are important to them. One is we offer them an opportunity to pursue their dreams as they see them, not as some government official sees them, and we maximize the opportunities there. We offer a higher standard of well-being than the world has ever known for themselves, for their families, and for their neighbors.

But most importantly, we offer them the opportunity of not being a victim, of not being dependent, of not being depressed, not being mad at everybody, but of cooperatively working with other Americans to advance their earned success in their jobs, their communities, in any area that they think is important to them. That’s what a free society offers. And that’s what we need to be focusing on, and that’s what we’re spending a lot of time trying to develop. Now, we’re not completely there, but that’s what — a very big part of what we’re doing, okay?

If we can solve this problem and make this successful, I believe this seminar group will occupy that northeast quadrant, that we know — not only be able to see (inaudible) results to our free market activities, but also earn the respect and good feeling through that middle third. I think you going to hear that with some of our partnerships with the United Negro College Fund, with the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and the other programs that we’re developing.

So let me close because I’m running out of time (inaudible) go a little bit over, but this is so absolutely critical. And I’m going to ask for your patience and if you don’t give it to me, I’m going to (inaudible).

(Laughter.)

RICHARD FINK: So this is extremely important, okay? And I want to close by sharing with you another Frankl quote, and I need you to (inaudible).

(Laughter.)

RICHARD FINK: (Inaudible) because I don’t want you to get hurt, okay?   And you’ll see why in a minute. What (inaudible). So I talked about what “meaning” is for the middle third. Now, I want to talk a little about what “meaning” means for us. To fully appreciate this quote, I’m going to ask you to go on a journey with me. So I’m going to ask you to please close your eyes, and for those of you that are standing up, I’d ask you to lean against the wall because I don’t want anyone falling (inaudible).

(Inaudible) early morning (inaudible) you get out of the shower, you walk over to the sink (inaudible) in a moment of inner reflection, you ask yourself about how you have spent your life and how you will spend the rest of it, the meaning of your life. It doesn’t matter if you’re a professor, an activist, a mom (inaudible). What matters my friend, is the answer to this question: is my life what (inaudible)?

So I’m hoping that part of your answer to that question is like mine. And that is a big part of the meaning for my life is fighting collectivism, which has impoverished and murdered more people in the last hundred years than through all of past civilization. The fight for a free society that offers their fellow man the ability to advance their well-being to take care of themselves and their families, to a greater extent than has ever existed in the history of mankind.

We will offer a moral system where people advance to the extent that they help other people. So my father told me to look in the mirror over 50 years ago (inaudible) Father’s Day. I ask you to not (inaudible). My father told me to look in the mirror, and he said every time you look in the mirror, you (inaudible). And I was thirteen (inaudible).

So when I look into the mirror (inaudible). I saw my family. I saw my spirituality. I saw the Koch family. And I saw the seminar people as representing the meaning in my life. So I want to thank you for being part of the fight for freedom. I can think of no better way to spend my life. And I hope you agree with that and devote yourself to (inaudible).

(Applause.)

(End of session.)

 

 

 

 

 

EXCLUSIVE AUDIO: Dr. Will Ruger on a Free Society

AUDIO OBTAINED FROM A SOURCE WHO WAS PRESENT.

FULL REMARKS/VIDEO TRANSCRIPTION IS IN PROCESS.  HIGHLIGHTS OF SESSION BELOW.

 

OPENING SESSION

June 15, 2014

SPEAKER:

WILL RUGER

“The Free Society: Five Key Features and Benefits”

 

P R O C E E D I N G S

KEVIN GENTRY: So Dr. Hanson helped us understand the nature of the threats we face. So the next logical extension of that is to what is the vision for a better life. What is the alternative to that? (Inaudible) what that is. What does it look like? And so, Dr. Will Ruger, (inaudible) policy at the Charles Koch Institute, and he’s going to walk us through a little lesson that I think will be helpful to us all. Will, take it away.

WILL RUGER: Well, good afternoon and Happy Father’s Day. And as a former professor, I’m really excited to actually have a two-hour speaking block.

(Laughter.)

WILL RUGER: No, no, I won’t do that to you all. But I do want to take some time with you to talk — to talk about (inaudible) freedom.

Unfortunately, the U.S. is under siege, and this is why all of us courageously step up (inaudible) preservation. As Thomas Paine wrote early in the American Revolution, “These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will during this crisis shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands by it now deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered. Yet we have the consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.”

So what are we fighting for? What was it about this country, this ideal, that Paine and the Founding Fathers thought so worthy of fighting and dying for, and that people in this country generation after generation have sacrificed for? What is the free society (inaudible)? Well, it’s probably composed of economic freedom, but it’s also much more than that. A free society is not just about the one type of freedom. It’s about the freedom (inaudible). All types of freedom are honored (inaudible) flourishing life. Because of that (inaudible), let’s explore the features of this free society, and then the important benefits of mankind’s well-being that flow from it.

The first of these features is respect for the dignity of the individual. A free society is one where individuals are considered to have moral dignity that must be respected by other people and government. Individuals are more (inaudible) equal in the eyes of the law, and a just government does not make distinctions among people according to class, race, religion, and so many other things that make us different from one another (inaudible).

This adds up to an important emphasis in a free society on individual liberty. And a free society is one where individuals and families are the key building blocks of society and are ethically (inaudible). Individuals may not be sacrificed as they are in (inaudible) for the alleged good of the whole. And the (inaudible) over the state. But friends of liberty were (inaudible) that our lives are given meaning by the service we supply to the Nation.

Instead a free society is one which the most important things in life are meant to be realized by individuals in the private sphere through personal effort and voluntary cooperation: family life, providing value to others in business, the joint achievements of (inaudible) and voluntary associations, the cultivation of personal virtue, feeling satisfied about earned success, and a life well-lived. These are the important things, not what government decides (inaudible).

A second feature of a free society is that the role of government be limited. The state’s primary job is to protect people from the coercive acts of others, (inaudible) is one focused on protecting individual liberties, rather than achieving the grand designs — the grand collectivist designs of those who hold power, or the rule of the majority.

This means government should focus on upholding the law of equal freedom, mainly that people should be allowed to use their lives and property as they see fit (inaudible). State action is not designed to produce any particular outcome, but to allow individuals to pursue their own life projects as they want. Of course, that doesn’t mean you have to accept all of these as good, but it does mean (inaudible).

Government is thus limited to a small, but absolutely critical number of tasks, basically keeping our neighborhoods and cities safe from crime, defending our country from those who might violate our national territories, our commerce at sea, and providing justice in a fair and apolitical — political court system.

A free society must also be guided by the rule of law, and you’ve heard that already. It’s crucial. This means that government officials, like the President, cannot simply decide on their own when to obey the law and when to ignore it. The rule of law constrains our leaders and the corruptive nature of power. I tell you, a government that does not care about the rule of law is unlimited and despotic. And if we don’t constrain power through law, to paraphrase Thucydides, the strong will do what they will, and the meek will suffer what they must. That is not a good society. That is not a just society.

(Inaudible) tends to generate the third (inaudible), a free market economic order in which individuals freely and peacefully turn to each other to satisfy their mutual wants and needs. This market that Americans (inaudible) rational self-interest in mutually beneficial ways as freedom unleashes our national propensity to talk, barter, and trade. And it allows us to fulfill our desire to improve our (inaudible) and the conditions of our children and grandchildren.

Now let’s talk about (inaudible). Well, of course, freedom is valuable as an end in itself. But a free society is also valuable because of the great number of benefits (inaudible), okay, from respecting (inaudible) the individual from limited government, and from a free market order.

(Inaudible) likely obvious to you all (inaudible) frequently remember. (Inaudible) rising and broad prosperity. In 1776, at the same time (inaudible) the American Revolution, Adam Smith wrote that “Little else is requisite to carry a state to the highest degree of opulence from the lowest barbarism, but peace, easy taxes, and a tolerable administration of justice: all the rest being brought about by the natural course of things.”

Smith got it generally right, and mountains of research have supported that statement and shown how free institutions support rising living standards and greater material welfare. (Inaudible) that shows the relation to economic freedom and prosperity. It’s pretty remarkable how when freedom goes up, prosperity does, too. It’s pretty simple. It goes all the way back to 1776.

And we clearly see the difference between free societies and collectivist regimes in this night-time satellite image of the Korean peninsula, where the collectivist north is literally in the dark due to its poverty. This is what collectivism gives you. But just as important as overall wealth, a free society allows for greater prosperity for the least fortunate as goods and services become better and cheaper, and thus available to a greater number of people.

Here is a slide by Michael Cox of (inaudible). It graphs over time the percentage of households that have a number of products (inaudible) granted to them. What we see is a steady progress in the number of goods and services — of goods that were at first available only to the wealthy, but that are available to almost everyone today. And this is due not only to increases in individual and household wealth, but also to the dynamic power of markets to reduce the price and increase the quality of goods.

We should thank people in this group for doing that. Take cell phones, for example. Back in the 1980s when Gordon Gekko walked the beach in the movie Wall Street, cell phones cost $9,000 in current dollars, had 30 minutes of battery power, and weighed as much as a brick. Today phone companies practically give them away when you sign up for a plan, and they’re basically super computers that weigh a few ounces. And you can talk on it for about 10 hours before the battery runs out. But you didn’t build that, right?

(Laughter.)

WILL RUGER: A free society works with arts and culture, too. Just to take one example, in the United States orchestras employ 17,000 musicians and 11,000 administrative staff, and they give 27,000 performances annually for 33 million people. Technological advances and free markets have also brought art and culture to a wide audience, not just for the rich. Mozart played to small audiences of elitists, whereas today we have a whole range of music available to everyone at low cost on Amazon. In the 1760, two books cost two days’ worth of labor. Today now with paperbacks, books cost less than one hour’s work at minimum wage.

Free societies are also strong and resilient (inaudible). Free societies with capitalist economies are able to create strong militaries for defense against terrorists. And the government is not the creator of the wealth that it depends up to build these strong militaries. You are. The American society is. Admiral Mike Mullen, a recent chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, argued that “A strong economy and strong national security are inextricably linked.” He also noted that debt and deficits are national security threats because of the danger they (inaudible) for the military deficit.

One example that bears this out is how the United States was been able to bury the Soviets during the Cold War. The fundamental (inaudible) they showed in the economic system ultimately did them in. But the following is also true: during the entire Cold War period, the Soviet Union was forced to spend nearly twice as much and sometimes three times as much on defense as the U.S. did as a percentage of GDP. Why? Because their economy was much deeper than ours was, and this difference helped accelerate their collapse.

Free societies are also more resilient than others. Think about 9/11. Although it was a horrific loss of innocent life and caused (inaudible) economic (inaudible) in New York City, America as a whole was quite resilient in the (inaudible). The economy and civil society maintained their robustness despite the fact. And internationally when we think about national disasters, free societies with prosperous economies suffer far less harm than un-free countries.

In 2010 Haiti’s earthquake was one of the worst natural disasters in the modern age. It killed 316,000 people. The magnitude of that earthquake registered 7.0 on the Richter scale. Within a year, the much freer and more economically developed nation of Chile had a severe earthquake of 8.8 magnitude, but suffered only 532 deaths (inaudible). Free societies are robust ones.

Now another key (inaudible) of a free society is that it allows for people to realize true virtue, and true virtue is about choice. Sure, in a world without freedom, we could be prevented from (inaudible). But then any chance of actually doing it would be gone as well since real choice is a prerequisite of true virtue. (Inaudible) our common bonds without free will (inaudible). As conservative writer, Frank Meyer, said about men, “Unless men are free to be vicious, they cannot be virtuous.” No community can make them virtuous. The person is the one with the virtue. Unless (inaudible) he cannot be (inaudible).

And a free society actually incentivizes and conditions us to exercise true virtue. Freedom allows us to continually flex our moral muscles such that we do the right thing when (inaudible). However, in a less free world, our moral muscles get flabby and our moral strength becomes weak.

As Albert Jay Nock, the great old (inaudible), he said we need moral experience as a condition of wealth, and “Freedom is the only condition out of which any kind of substantial moral fiber can be developed.” And this is why (inaudible) to cultivate the bourgeois (inaudible) such as the ethic of hard work and perseverance as well as (inaudible) courage, prudence, hope, and so many others. Why? Because commerce as they say — as has been said (inaudible) tends to (inaudible) us all (inaudible). We are like coins with rougher edges. We are like coins with rougher — with rougher edges, that as commerce passes us from hand to hand, in the market we are worn down and smoothed. A polite society is created.

Another great thing about a free society is that it creates the stage for a robust civil society that claims personal responsibility and care for (inaudible). As Alexis de Tocqueville, the author of Democracy in America, put it, there’s (inaudible) everywhere in America doing everything, because in a free society we have needs (inaudible) voluntarily without the heavy hand of government.

To give you just one example of thousands, the Knights of Columbus. Most people don’t realize it, but The Knights of Columbus was created to help poor Irish immigrants, like the people shown here, who were met with (inaudible) and hostility when they first moved over to the United States. So the Knights provide insurance programs to assist widows and orphans. They also provided funds for members who couldn’t work through (inaudible). Clearly people can do great good, and will when given the choice.

And we’ve seen that the standard of the modern welfare state has tended to undermine and destroy that civil society, and it does separate (inaudible). A larger welfare state means less charitable giving. It crowds out the civil society that’s been a strength in our country.

Now, economic freedom in a free society is also (inaudible) the need for (inaudible) political freedom. This is borne out in cross-national studies that show that economic freedom leads to modernization, which leads to political freedom. Or consider it less abstractly. If we didn’t have economic freedom, who would decide who gets the (inaudible) newspaper? Who gets the (inaudible), and who decides on that? Who should get those things?

We all know from experience that if the government chooses who gets to have a voice, that that voice will not be as robust as it should be, and it will be politicized. Winston Churchill himself realized this when he was not allowed in the 30s to talk about the present danger they faced because of the government monopoly on the radio. It was deemed too controversial.

In a free society, we here can hold this private meeting without asking — having to ask government for permission to use this building. But if we didn’t have economic freedom (inaudible) politics (inaudible) markets, only those favored by government or those government officials themselves would have a strong voice. It would be much harder for us (inaudible) and others like us to get our voices (inaudible).

Now, free societies are also best at creating and protecting (inaudible) and diversity. When politics is a smaller part of life, minorities have less fear that they’ll be targeted or lose an unfair race. Just look at how religion has flourished in this country where there have been few barriers to religious observation. And now, that isn’t to say we haven’t had our problems in this country, but often times government itself has been the source of recrimination, and they’re not performing the proper function of protecting the weak from the coercion of the strong.

Now, a free society has also produced the situation where people can vote with their feet in the market and politics, too. As I’ve shown in my research on freedom in the 50 states, people do this all the time, opting for (inaudible) freer state from a less free one. So essentially in a free society we can maximize those preferences we have or develop. We’re free to choose the products we like or don’t like. We’re free to choose the ideas we like or don’t like, and even the local governments we like and don’t like. And the market satisfies those preferences, whether it is a desire to bring us television programming, old Apple computers, or listening in (inaudible) Indiana rather than (inaudible) Illinois. They can both (inaudible).

And let’s (inaudible) think about (inaudible) consumption. Free societies also allow us to develop our own niche in the world, where we model ourselves after others, whether it’s the self-sacrifice like Mother Teresa, the value created by someone like Carly Fiorina, specific (inaudible) of a basketball coach, or the carefree life of a hippy, though we are all free to reject that as well.

Well, a free society is also one where ideas and innovation flourish often in unimaginable ways as ideas link with each other. And this allows for all kinds of great, robust creations, some interesting things in art, in business, in science. And we see this flourish in the scientific research in the U.S. The United States dominates in terms of the number of patents issued every year, about half of them. More than one in every three Nobel Laureates is from the United States. So we have four percent of the world’s population and one-third of the world’s Nobel Laureates. And more than half of all Nobels come from three countries alone: the United States, Britain, and Germany.

Likewise, universities in this country, which this seminar supports, are the envy of the world. And while our universities are certainly a (inaudible) ideological and government subsidies (inaudible) free exchange of ideas. Now all of these (inaudible) together show that in a free society, one with economic and personal freedom, we get the opportunity to live authentic, fulfilling lives. Without asking for anyone’s permission, we get to be the authors of our own life progress.

The kind of satisfaction that flows from that is worth all the challenges and responsibilities of being free men and women. The rewards of living an authentic life, one of our own choosing, are (inaudible). Rather than constantly being guided by government agents, we choose to (inaudible) as individuals. We choose limited government. We choose markets.

And that means that we choose prosperity, not just for the few, but for the many. That means we choose the flourishing of the arts and culture, strength and resilience, (inaudible), political freedom, the proliferation of ideas and innovation, and the opportunity for a life well-lived. And it’s a society worth fighting for and a society worth dying for. We choose the free society. Thank you very much.

(Applause.)

(End of session.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EXCLUSIVE AUDIO: Dr. Victor Davis Hanson on Collectivism

AUDIO OBTAINED FROM SOURCE WHO WAS PRESENT.

VIDEO TRANSCRIPTION IS IN PROCESS.

 

OPENING SESSION

June 15, 2014

SPEAKER:

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON

“Collectivism: Exploring Its Nature and Consequences”

 

P R O C E E D I N G S

KEVIN GENTRY: Thank you, Charles, (inaudible) for this group, so establishing the North Star for us. And so, we will spend the rest of this afternoon focused on the long term view, the commitment to a free society. So the next logical step is to talk about the nature of the threat we face. And I’d like to ask the noted historian, Dr. Victor Davis Hanson, to come forward, and he’s going to help us understand a little bit more about the true nature of our opposition, the enemy, and the nature of collectivism. Dr. Hanson, take it away.

(Applause.)

VICTOR HANSON: (Inaudible) the theme of courage and the (inaudible) the republic. And whether we like it or not, we’re six years going into that debate (inaudible). If something went wrong on our watch, before we pass on, we have an obligation to (inaudible). We have one last chance to pass to our children something they inherited (inaudible). I look at the world now (inaudible) more dire circumstances than 1979.

The last — the last 15 months (inaudible) live abroad (inaudible) behind the (inaudible) deadline (inaudible) in a matter of months. Our friends (Inaudible) want to know if they’re still in the American (inaudible) people in Japan, Thailand, the Philippines, reset with Russia, (inaudible) Latin America that can look for an alternate (inaudible). We’re not advocates of something that’s not (inaudible) we’re not playing that much of a role (inaudible). You look at home, you (inaudible) almost every day — the VA scandal (inaudible), or the (inaudible) scandal, or the IRS scandal, or the (inaudible) scandal.

We have a simple question. I know you ask yourselves, is this by intent or is this incompetence on the part of the Administration? Well, they’re not mutually exclusive.

(Laughter.)

VICTOR HANSON: (Inaudible) that’s important. But I think it’s more than that. There’s this hatred of what he calls the “one percent,” and that’s not new in (inaudible). Tocqueville, the great essayist, who wrote American Democracy, lamented that the American (inaudible) being what it is, that most people have the choice between being prosperous and free, but being unequal versus being equal, but poor, and the loss of freedom, they would rather lose their freedom so they could all be equal. Think about it. Aristotle says, they call it democracy, but unfortunately it’s usually an effort of people to make everybody the same.

(Inaudible), great Greek philosopher, said you know, there’s two types of enemies in the world. There’s the good enemy, and that’s (inaudible). And there’s the bad enemy (inaudible) that’s not fair that I don’t have it. And he said unfortunately, “Human nature gravitates toward (inaudible).” I don’t know why society is to the point and trajectory (inaudible).

Britain after the war — think about it. The world was flattened, there were no (inaudible), Japanese miracles. Japan was destroyed. Germany was destroyed. (Inaudible) China being adrift. There was only us and Britain. We were part of the world for the next 20 years (inaudible) Britain socialized (inaudible) so much so that in 20 years it looked like Frankfurt had never been wrong and Liverpool had because, after all, statism was much more (inaudible). German (inaudible).

So, this is not a new — a new phenomenon, this desire for equality and control. But what is new, I think, (inaudible) because, after all, we are in the 21st century. (Inaudible) doing things that are different from the Obama efforts to ensure that we’re all equal (inaudible).

The first is we’ve always had limousine liberals, but now we have a technocratic class, and they are in the expansion of the universities. Never before have we had more professors (inaudible). Never before have we had more people in Hollywood in the arts, never more people in government, never more people in foundations, never more people who are very, very wealthy who (inaudible) mechanisms other than (inaudible) endeavors. And the result is a lot of people feel very bad about that wealth that they enjoy. And they feel so bad that they want to be exempt from the ramifications, their own ideology, why they inflict it on everybody else.

So if you look at our branding on the left, the progressive party is what Democrats (inaudible). Al Gore feels terrible about carbon being released into the atmosphere, so bad that he wants to sell his cable TV station to (inaudible) head of government of Qatar, who has made a fortune by fossil fuels (inaudible). John Kerry wants big government and higher taxes, and yet he doesn’t want to pay taxes on his own yacht for (inaudible).

Think about that. The Steyer brothers say that politics is broken and that money poisons politics, but they’re to be exempt because of the need to save the climate from exploitation. However, they themselves made much of their wealth through investments in coal companies. I could go on and on.

Paul Krugman, the great economist believes that inequality is the greatest bane in our society. He was hired by the City University of New York to study inequality, and (inaudible) 225, which means he makes 17 times more than a person who teaches (inaudible) part time (inaudible).

But the thing about inequality (inaudible) to believe it’ll have the same material outcome. They want the same exemptions, but they do not want to follow the rules that they impose on everybody else. It’s just another little wrinkle in the age old quest for equality and control.

(Inaudible) we all have our (inaudible) concerns (inaudible) all, but because of globalization, there is an enormous amount of money made outside of what were the traditional efforts to live one more day. Tomorrow is never guaranteed. So we have people (inaudible) in agriculture, in oil production, coal production, construction, all of the muscular arts.

But somehow this unique, abundant country, if you look at the regulations they impose, they are particularly angry at those people — almost as if you in the audience are a reminder of their (inaudible) and created almost a (inaudible) that they are exempt from having to get their hands dirty and don’t want anybody else (inaudible). So we see today (inaudible) more and more (inaudible). There’s certain bad people who do it (inaudible).

There’s a problem certainly (inaudible) Obama. And then we’ve added a third element (inaudible), and that is to make the argument that the one percent (inaudible) politically democratic — that’s demographically not true. It’s a white male Christian belief that (inaudible) unfairly, and they are at war with people of color, gays, and young women. It doesn’t matter that the Nation is very wealthy or young women (inaudible) very wealthy, or that minorities are very wealthy. He’s made that argument and he’s symbolically taken his own persona, Barack Hussein Obama, and said that I represent you. The fact that he likes to go to Martha’s Vineyard, or his wife likes to go to (inaudible), that doesn’t matter because this group of people believe (inaudible). And that’s very hard to (inaudible) all at once.

And I think John McCain, for example, would have been a good president, better than Obama. I think Mitt Romney would have been an even better president, much better than Obama. But they were easily caricatured for this reason as white, aristocratic (inaudible).

So what’s the antidote for Obama (inaudible)? Well, the antidote is (inaudible) is to try to come up with a paradigm that says these people are elitists, and they’re hypocritical, and they don’t like you. (Inaudible) we haven’t seen that (inaudible) the left (inaudible). But that’s who we need, somebody now who does not play by the (inaudible). And made the argument with George Bush, essentially was (inaudible).

And so, what I think the antidote would be in the democratic process is (inaudible) and saying to the American people they are part of the very wealthy who feel bad about their wealth, and for psychological purposes want to help (inaudible) others, the poor (inaudible), but they don’t want to put their kids in the same school, and they don’t want to live next to you (inaudible). But on these issues we do.

We want to build the Keystone pipeline, and we want to frack because we don’t like (inaudible) paying $5 a gallon for gas, who doesn’t have access to the Google bus, and (inaudible). And we’re very skeptical of the economics of wind and solar because people in Fresno go to Walmart, but they can’t afford to turn their air conditioning on. And they don’t live in Newport Beach, which has a nice cool breeze all summer long.

And I know (inaudible) illegal immigration is (inaudible) issue, but we’re skeptical of it, because we feel that the middle class and the working people are having their wages (inaudible), and that the middle class people cannot afford to hire nannies and landscapers. They don’t have that asset.

So in other words, we’re arguing that on issues, the Republican Party, of all people, conservatives are worried about the middle class, and they want people to advance. And the people who don’t who are now in power, and they’re a strange and mixed alliance, from taking money from the middle and upper middle classes (inaudible) to the poor, and having themselves exempt from all of the regulations and utopian dreams they impose on the rest of us.

Finally, I think all of us in this room — not me, but you — all of you in this room don’t need any more money. You’ve been very successful. So your argument is that you are for a free market economy and for an equality of opportunity not only because (inaudible), but that’s the only paradigm that works. And in every great society that has tried following that paradigm and failed when it chose not to.

But because you feel that (inaudible) when you’re given a chance, your experience, your knowledge is used to create wealth for other people. You can give other people jobs. You want people to climb up, and you don’t want to (inaudible) equality. And so, you’re not in it for the money for yourself. You’ve already been successful. You’re in it so other people can have some semblance of what you enjoy and are not relegated to a (inaudible).

The theme of this conference is on courage, and I will leave you with the great Danton, quoted ad nauseam by George Patton: “Audacity, more audacity, always audacity.” Remember that. Do not let people call you names. Do not let people make fun of you. Do not let people threaten you. Welcome it as a badge of honor that they understand and they fear you. Because (inaudible) to be free. You can create wealth and (inaudible). Thank you very much.

(Applause.)

KEVIN GENTRY: Okay. Dr. Hanson has agreed to take a question or two. I think we want — we’d like to have (inaudible). He took a horrible bike spill just a few weeks ago. Seven stitches in his head. Lost his bottom teeth. And (inaudible), so what a trooper. And I thank you for being here.

(Applause.)

KEVIN GENTRY: Alright, I see Peter Farrell, and I’ll come back over here.

PETER FARRELL: Thank you very much, Victor. This is a (inaudible) question. How do we get (inaudible) for getting out of this mess?

VICTOR HANSON: Getting out of the mess?

PETER FARRELL: That’s right.

VICTOR HANSON: Well, I think one thing, as I said briefly in my brief remarks, is we have to say that they are the elitists. They are the exclusionary people. They are the people who do not care about the middle class because whether it’s their radical environmental agenda, or their radical debt agenda, or it’s reducing the size of the military, they affect working class people. And I think that’s a very, very important message.

We’ve alluded to the Delta smelt. You see, in California we have an elite that live along the coast that are championing the (inaudible) of people who are still in the center (inaudible) driving (inaudible) again and again and again on (inaudible) issues of finance, on issues of the budget, on issues of the environment, on issues of national defense, and issues of energy.

It is a war of the middle class against the (inaudible) enjoyed by the very wealthy. And the very wealthy are not the very (inaudible) or the old. This is a new group of people. They’re very new people. We know that these are academics, journalists, government people, media people, celebrities, and inherited wealth. These are people who do not want people — other people to enjoy the same material (inaudible) that they do, and they’re masquerading as populists. And (inaudible) is absolutely critical.

KEVIN GENTRY: (Inaudible) Well, stand up, introduce yourself, and fire away.

CHRIS BRYCE: Chris Bryce (inaudible). But as an historian, it’s written often (inaudible) from history, and those are tough questions, but your basic example of a society (inaudible) institutions have success, lost its way, and got it back?

VICTOR HANSON: Well, I’m pessimistic because I don’t know — I know human nature as well as you do, and nobody ever guarantees. But normally that is that entitlement. In other words your appetites always grow for more, and you feel if they don’t get more from the government, there (inaudible).

But there are situations where you have a renaissance — you had the Florentine Renaissance and you had the Venice, where people finally can say to themselves we are (inaudible). We can’t go on any more like it is now. And they, I think, step up and they say, well, we’re going to lose our culture (inaudible). France tried to do it. Margaret Thatcher tried to do it, and she was successful for a while.

But it requires (inaudible) a standard, it requires a diagnosis of the problem. We have to be like doctors. (Inaudible) make a diagnosis and make a prognosis. And the way that we appeal to the people who are receiving government money, as well as the people who are paying for it, we have to say that these people do not have their interests at heart. They want to be exempt from their ideology and feel good about having (inaudible), so that they don’t have to (inaudible). It’s not a matter of how much money. It’s how the government spends (inaudible).

If you’re the president of a big oil company (inaudible) and solidarity with your employees, and you both have a common goal, and that’s (inaudible). You don’t want to take away mass traffic at the job, but if you have some abstract idea that San Joaquin Valley salmon was started in the 19th century, you’re willing to (inaudible) Palo Alto to destroy millions of acres of agriculture, and they’re serious. Because after all, food for that man (inaudible). So we have to get back to basics.

The government that created America and allowed society (inaudible).

(Laughter.)

KEVIN GENTRY: Victor, thank you very much. Dr. Hanson, thank you.

(Applause.)

(End of session.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EXCLUSIVE AUDIO: Charles Koch

AUDIO OBTAINED FROM SOURCE WHO WAS PRESENT.

 

OPENING SESSIONS

June 15, 2014

SPEAKER:

CHARLES KOCH

“American Courage: Our Commitment to a Free Society”

 

P R O C E E D I N G S

KEVIN GENTRY: All right. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome. For about as long as we’ve had these meetings, we have always started at 1:00 on Sunday afternoon. I guess no particular reason (inaudible) we’ve always done it this way (inaudible) do it, but it’s worked out well. And as our movement has grown, we’ve had to add things on the tail end and add things on the front end. And people start coming in a day early, and sometimes two days early.

(Inaudible) all the meetings in different parts of the country as the freedom movement grows, and we are delighted to have all you here. And those of you who are coming in, there’s plenty of room on the left-hand and the right-hand side. We will gladly accommodate you. Those of you who are concerned about the temperature, I’m convinced (inaudible) over the next few minutes.

Well, again, welcome to the formal beginning of this conference, our next conference, the theme of which (inaudible) is “American Courage: Our Commitment to a Free Society.” And I’ll turn it over to Charles. Charles, take it away.

(Applause.)

CHARLES KOCH: Thank you all, and thank you, Kevin. And thank you for being here for what we consider a critical need at a critical time. And what’s great is that we’ve got, I think a record number of you (inaudible). So a big hand to all of you.

(Applause.)

CHARLES KOCH: And I believe that we’ve got a full and I think very exciting program with a lot of innovation in it. And I hope you will find it as valuable as I do.

But as good as the program is, I think what we all need to recognize is the real strength of the seminar is you. You are what makes possible all of these efforts. Maybe not all of them, but the majority of them. (Inaudible) joining the movement (inaudible).

And that gets me to the main part of my (inaudible) which really, started really focusing on that several years ago when a friend — a very close friend challenged me that what would you do if you weren’t afraid? And that was at a time when David and I were put squarely in front of the firing squad. I don’t mean just over on (inaudible). We were squarely in front of the firing squad.

There were ad hominem attacks from Capitol Hill, from the media. We started to get many more hacker attempts and hacker groups who interrupt and destroy our IT system. There were threats to firebomb our facility, and a continuing increase in death threats against us and our family. So it was a great question then and during the exploration in all of this. It’s an even a better question now. I mean, for example, we have 10 million malicious hacker attempts on our IT systems every month, so they’re not fooling around, and we can’t either.

So what would I do differently if I weren’t afraid? In all honestly, very little, but it’s a question all of us need to constantly ask ourselves. Are we afraid the government will single us out for harassment or investigation? Are we afraid of being criticized by the press or having our reputations tarnished or being called “evil” or un-American? Those are the kinds of questions we need to absorb. We’ve been attacked in all these ways and many more.

So there’s nothing wrong with being afraid. There’s plenty of reasons to fear today: fear of reprisal, fear for our businesses, fear for our families, fear for our country. What has saved America in the past when it’s been threatened is the courage of people who did whatever it took to save it, and that’s just as true today. If we don’t show the same amount of courage, we will lose our country as we (inaudible) in the past.

So in my view, America must choose between two entirely different solutions. One is freedom and one is collectivism. Now, to me freedom is based on a favoring of respect for people and what they value. Collectivism is based on the belief that people aren’t capable of running their own lives, and those in power are capable of running it for them. Collectivists believe — and this is not hyperbole. Collectivists believe we are either too evil or too stupid to be allowed to pursue our own values. In contrast, freedom enables people to improve their own lives by creating value for others.

Collectivism not only takes away freedom, it takes away prosperity, impoverishing the very people it purports to help. And (inaudible) is nowhere more clear than the lives of the — of the poor. Since World War II, poverty has been approached as a technical problem to be solved by experts. (Inaudible) of experts. These experts have become the new philosopher (inaudible).

But their solutions address the symptoms of poverty, not the causes, which in large part are due to the lack of political and economic freedom. That’s why even though the (inaudible) experts declared that war on poverty has cost over $20 trillion — now, I want to make clear that’s trillion with a “T” — $20 trillion since 1954. And as Ronald Reagan said, it was the war that poverty won, but $20 trillion down the drain. The poverty rate is the same as it was in 1964.

(Inaudible) has done more to alleviate world poverty than the IMF, the World Bank, Western charities, and foreign aid combined. In America, cronyism is corrupting the market and business people, and it’s devastating the poor. Here in California, tens of billions of gallons of water are being diverted from irrigation to save a trillion (inaudible) called the Delta Smelt. In San Francisco, commercial dog walkers now need a license, and vehicles that transport dogs must be inspected and improved. In Mississippi, hair braiding now needs a new license which requires 300 hours of course work. The list goes on.

One out of every three Americans now requires government — one out of every three American workers require government permission to work. All of this impoverishes the very people that the left is saying they’re trying to help.

The federal ethanol mandate is similarly misguided on an even larger scale. It requires millions of gallons of gas — of ethanol into gasoline, consumes two-fifths of the entire U.S. corn crop. This raises the cost of corn and other food staples by as much as 35 percent. Who does this hurt? All Americans, but especially the poor who spend one-fifth of their budgets on food. And now a new study shows that ethanol can actually be worse for the environment than conventional gasoline. You can’t make this stuff up, but I guess watching Administration works, you’ve got to believe anything.

When businesses collude with the government to capture illegitimate profits in the many, many tens of billions, this cronyism puts the economy in (inaudible) country is the corrupt business people who then are encouraged to support collectivism. And then when people witness this spectacle, it undermines their support for what they mistakenly take as free enterprise. This isn’t free enterprise. This is cronyism.

So to truly help the poor and the economy, we have to eliminate cronyism. We have to eliminate welfare for the rich. If we don’t, we have no chance of prevailing. So our strategy is to do just that and move us toward a society in which people do well by truly doing good, not (inaudible).

Now, the strategy is not perfect, and we don’t pretend that it is. But we believe that the other approaches (inaudible) that give us the best chance of saving our country, and tomorrow we’ll address the short-term dimensions of this strategy. Now, there’s an opportunity to make real political gains this year. Today we’ll address the long-term (inaudible) how to change the national conversation and begin to build a lasting freedom majority.

Now, like all successful business people, you understand the importance of having a long-term as well as a short-term focus. In business you can’t focus so much on quarterly earnings that you sacrifice the future. The same thing is true for our seminar’s efforts. We can’t solely focus on the next election. If we aren’t building capabilities for the long term, for the future, we will have no future.

Now for this strategy to work, we need more than (inaudible). We need to understand that we need more (inaudible). We need courage. Courage is considered the most important of all the virtues because without it, you can’t exercise your others when they’re needed most. As Aristotle put it, “You will never do anything in this world without courage.” It’s been called the foundation of every virtue (inaudible). Well, believe me, in this country we are at that place now.

Now, the free society is what I’ve devoted a great bulk of my life to. And for me, the stakes in this struggle are so high, that it’s not just a matter of political questions. It’s a moral imperative. And I know a number of you feel the same way, and I am truly glad to have you as partners (inaudible) efforts and long-term partners to help us build this network.

Thank you for your courage and commitment now when it’s needed most. Thank you very much.

(Applause.)

KEVIN GENTRY: Thank you, Charles, (inaudible).

(End of session.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EXCLUSIVE AUDIO: Koch-Funded Groups’ Strategy in the States

AUDIO OBTAINED FROM SOURCE WHO WAS PRESENT.

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT PRESENTS HIGHLIGHTS OF PANEL, FULL VIDEO TO COME.

 

AFTERNOON MEETING

June 15, 2014

SPEAKERS:

RACHEL CAMPOS DUFFY, EVAN FEINBERG, AND TERESA OELKE

Part 3

“Advance in the States”

 

P R O C E E D I N G S

RACHEL CAMPOS-DUFFY: Hi, my name is Rachel Campos-Duffy. I am the National Spokesperson for the LIBRE Initiative.

Now, we know that the electorate is divided into thirds (inaudible) are those that support our freedom agenda. We’ve done a pretty good job of sustaining and retaining our base. The left third are those who don’t and probably won’t. And in the middle are those who are up for grabs. And we call that group the middle third. These are non-political or apolitical people, and these are people that share our values. Sometimes they don’t even know it. This panel is focused on reaching the middle third.

We’re excited today because of some of the experiments that we’ve been doing with our grassroots advocacy groups to reach the middle third. With us today is Evan Feinberg. He’s at Generation Opportunity. There are a ton of young people that fall into the middle third. They are open to new ideas, and they’re searching. And so, they’re a perfect group for us to reach out to. The next is Teresa Oelke, and she’s from Americans for Prosperity. They are also working on programs to reach the middle third. Again, these groups are apolitical, but they also want to know that we care about them and the most vulnerable in our society. And so, they’re working on programs to do — to do that.

Finally, we have my group, the LIBRE Initiative. Hispanics are culturally conservative. They are generally aligned with our values and our principles on — when it comes to economics. But they are being won over by leaders of community groups, and my very radical liberal professor (inaudible). Now, I’m going to talk to you a little bit about what we have learned from these groups and from their tactics and strategies, and how we’re actually (inaudible) freedom.

Now, these are truly incredible the capabilities that we have built. How do we, before that, because typically, since we’re talking about advancing in the states, how does this work in (inaudible) in (inaudible) people on issues at a local and state level?

TERESA OELKE: I think that’s what (inaudible) said best is that the difference in this network is this (inaudible) infrastructure in the states to move it forward and carry out the (inaudible) plans (inaudible) component of health (inaudible) working in a concerted effort to advance freedom. And you know, we’re a nation by and we’re for people who can be really powerful (inaudible) to really help (inaudible) issues and stories happening in people’s communities. And that middle third is more likely to (inaudible).

RACHEL CAMPOS-DUFFY: So give us an example.

TERESA OELKE: Okay, if you look at business licensure in Arkansas, (inaudible) personal business (inaudible) expert (inaudible). But instead, we want to take it to the (inaudible) pass that $500-dollar threshold, who wants to pursue more opportunities, and so people who are either business entities (inaudible) contact Arkansas (inaudible) perspective. The University of Central Arkansas this fall will release research about the impact business licensure has on upward mobility. Our think tank, Advance Arkansas, is focused on investigative journalist stories, along with crime, as well as covering what’s happening with the capital on the stories (inaudible).

We have Americans for Prosperity invested in that effort (inaudible). Our focus is on making sure our members are educated on the issues and they understand that this isn’t just about (inaudible). It’s about people’s opportunities for prosperity. That way, when (inaudible) go back to (inaudible) they don’t just listen to special interests (inaudible) a number of citizens (inaudible) principles (inaudible).

Although we (inaudible) an interim committee this summer, (inaudible) regulatory (inaudible). So we have already the energy (inaudible) 2016 to advancing this story. And why, why can’t we make coalitions? Look at the black coalition at the state capital in Little Rock and because (inaudible) about the fact that the business licensure (inaudible) partnership, and this is a perfect opportunity to be talking about it.

RACHEL CAMPOS-DUFFY: And it’s such a great example because (inaudible) regulatory (inaudible) have in store for us, but the (inaudible) on the ballot is the same as where I live. And you know, I think so often on issues like this, the significance in fighting for freedom, we win those conversations, to say that the successful in this country (inaudible).

And it’s crucial that we’re fighting (inaudible) for those people, but we’re also fighting for (inaudible). And so, I think this is about engaging the little guy in this battle, taking up (inaudible) a lot of (inaudible) we need to be the warriors for those who (inaudible). Evan, this is (inaudible) important to (inaudible).

EVAN FEINBERG: Absolutely, Rachel. I think a lot of people think of my generation as being (inaudible), and it’s really all about themselves, but actually nothing could be further from the truth. Young people are really (inaudible). We’re marked by how much we care about others and the last and least among us in society. So that represents a huge opportunity for us right now in reaching out to people because we don’t think they really care about us. Definitely we don’t think people in Washington care about us.

(Inaudible) we often don’t think that they have our best interests at heart. That’s happening with all the generational (inaudible) that’s going on in Washington (inaudible). We’re seeing a real political impact on young American lives. So you know, this is the fact of young America (inaudible). Over a third are forced to move back in with their parents (inaudible) a lack of economic opportunities here in America today.

So I think that this really is an incredible opportunity for us to show them that freedom drives (inaudible), that freedom leads to better options in young American lives. We don’t care about free market (inaudible). We care about improving their lives and the lives of (inaudible).

RACHEL CAMPOS-DUFFY: Okay. So what are some of the ways that Generation Opportunity is showing how freedom (inaudible)? But we’ll get to that. I just want to — I just want to give a little more context to how we do this experiment.

We have about like six components of well-being, and these people (inaudible) all the folks we’re going to hear about today are tied to either one or more (inaudible) opportunity, health and environment, living standards, freedom, community, relationships, and peace and security. So again, Evan tell us how you’re engaging young people (inaudible) desire for opportunity (inaudible) unorthodox and (inaudible) craft beer.

EVAN FEINBERG: Well, I have a big surprise for everyone here. Young people like beer.

(Laughter.)

EVAN FEINBERG: I know that’s very surprising, but (inaudible) in the context of opportunity when I talk about the context of what we’re looking for on a fun Friday night. Young Americans are really interested in the craft brewing industry. In fact, I’ve got a couple of friends who brew beer in their basement right now. They’d rather leave their jobs, and become an entrepreneur, and start their own brewery. It really actually is something that marks our generation. It’s a cultural phenomenon.

You know, I do that at my job, at Generation Opportunity. We actually did an experiment where we use technology on Twitter. We wanted to — overall we wanted to know what do young people care about? How do they form their communities online? And so we did a really intense analysis of their Twitter streams. We found out that craft breweries and craft beer were actually the largest cultural segment in North Carolina. So we set about to talk about craft breweries because it’s what they care about, so we care about it.

(Inaudible) just like a lot of other businesses, it’s one that’s marked by tons of government regulations, tons of cronyism where businesses are trying to keep the little guy down. And so young Americans were actually really interested in this topic in particular.

So we did a Free the Brews campaign. It featured young entrepreneurs that we’re really supporting and who were really trying to cut through the red tape and get started. We got hundreds of people into that event. In Asheville, North Carolina we have over 500 people that we were able to impact through our Free the Brews event.

I wrote an op-ed in a number of papers that was very well-received. We’ve been able to get tons of these young Americans interested in the ideas of freedom, not because we came through with a really great way to talk about marginal tax rates, but because we were able to talk about freedom and regulation about something that they care about.

RACHEL CAMPOS-DUFFY: So tell us about how the Free the Brews campaign led to other projects.

EVAN FEINBERG: Yeah. So, so another really fun project that (inaudible) is our Free the Food Trucks campaign. I don’t know if you’re aware of this phenomenon, but especially among urban youth and in college towns, having a truck pull up and bring delicious food directly to you is something you don’t usually care about. But it’s also focused on young entrepreneurs (inaudible) to work (inaudible) in life is to quit that job and (inaudible) drive a food truck (inaudible).

So this an opportunity where we can be a champion for entrepreneurs, a champion for young people, a champion for opportunity to talk about (inaudible).

RACHEL CAMPOS-DUFFY: You know, food trucks are a big phenomenon (inaudible). You can — you can agree with me on this one (inaudible) food trucks were cool.

(Laughter.)

RACHEL CAMPOS-DUFFY: (Inaudible) and so, we’re also looking in Florida with the food trucks, the fast-food truck communities, and they’re (inaudible) because of Generation Opportunity to share those practices. (Inaudible) big government, and cronyism, and over regulation (inaudible) the little guy, and we are taking it to the streets literally. And this is so important for us to (inaudible). This is a segment, this is a Hispanic segment with 800,000 percent (inaudible) every year. This chases the demographic (inaudible).

This idea of meeting people where they’re at, demonstrating that we care about them, and we care about what they care about. How important is the idea of (inaudible) when it comes to women (inaudible)?

TERESA OELKE: This is incredibly important to the (inaudible) of women (inaudible). Women tell you how — what women go through (inaudible) what decisions they make and how (inaudible). It’s our issues and that’s our problem, and we don’t want them to be (inaudible) about it. We want them to be (inaudible).

And so a key component of that is your sincerity. They want to know if you’re building a world that they want to be a part of, if you’re a building a community that they want to be a part of. So for example, they may not like Obamacare, but they trust the President’s intentions to make the world a better place. And that goes a long way (inaudible).

RACHEL CAMPOS-DUFFY: That actually reminds me of Michelle Obama. You know, these young girls were abducted in Africa, and what would we tell (inaudible) bring our girls home. Now, it didn’t do much to help the outcome, but it did (inaudible) some goals, that she cared. And that’s what Democrats want to do. That’s what they care about. That’s their goal. They want to help. And so on the right, we want (inaudible).

TERESA OELKE: We have to do a better job of selling our motivations and what motivates us. You know our activists, they do care. The people in this room, they do (inaudible). They want these people to have an opportunity to move from poverty to prosperity. That’s what drives us.

You know, our activists, they love this country, they love (inaudible), they love their communities. They spend a great deal of their time, and their talents, and their resources (inaudible). And it’s up to us to do a better job explaining what motivates us through the activities and the issues so people understand.

RACHEL CAMPOS-DUFFY: So tell us about the healthcare event that you guys (inaudible) that shows, that demonstrates, you know, that we care.

TERESA OELKE: In Arizona, our (inaudible), hosted several health and lifestyle events with (inaudible). Now, these events are focused on (inaudible) network (inaudible) of women who are not going to go to a town hall. They’re not going to become the political (inaudible). Just a little bit of a teaser here. Tomorrow at the value-added uh, break-out, (inaudible) a few of our board members: Frayda Levin, (inaudible), and Deborah Wesley (inaudible).

But I want to focus on what happened (inaudible). These women were not (inaudible). They don’t know their representatives. This is a valuable platform that empowers them. They want to live healthier lifestyles and make better decisions. This is also a platform (inaudible) our perspective on how to get there. And, boy, were they motivated to action and wanted to know what they could do about the President’s healthcare law.

RACHEL CAMPOS-DUFFY: Okay. So now I’d like to hear (inaudible) under the living standard. (Inaudible) by helping with the day-to-day tasks that maybe are difficult (inaudible) in this soft economy. (Inaudible) to give you an example.

But first before I do that, (inaudible) collective issues, taxes (inaudible) working (inaudible) builds up trust. They’ve successfully built loyalty by providing (inaudible) also be providing (inaudible) services (inaudible) has basically adopted that strategy of providing these services (inaudible). And when we do this, it strengthens our credibility and new opportunities.

And we’re doing this through what we call our Community-Based Events. These are events that (inaudible) multiple (inaudible) depending on what community it’s in, what that would mean for (inaudible).

So here’s one example. This is an example of an existing program. We now have (inaudible) the opportunity to get a better (inaudible). In the first year alone (inaudible) six students (inaudible) that program (inaudible) this opportunity. For some reason (inaudible) students were failing the exam at twice the rate. And so we decided to partner with (inaudible) and we provided two three-hour workshops to help (inaudible). And we were able to (inaudible) responsibilities and self-reliance (inaudible).

We had similar events in other (inaudible) states. We offered taxes. We partnered with H&R Block to help people to fill out their taxes. And again in all these events, we see that (inaudible). responsibilities (inaudible).

TERESA OELKE: Rachel, Americans for Prosperity has a very similar project (inaudible). We’ve held over 30 event (inaudible). And I have to say that people are tired of organizations (inaudible) that don’t do anything to empower them (inaudible), whether it’s better budgeting (inaudible) that empowers people that then have the skills. It gives us a platform that’s more credible (inaudible) are our concerns in regards to government (inaudible).

So, in Richmond, Virginia, we have a business budgeting (inaudible). Two members of the congregation who are experts on the topics (inaudible), and as a partnership with Americans for Prosperity, gave us a platform to engage people who (inaudible) in a way that was credible. And it allowed us to share our concerns (inaudible) how many people (inaudible) to say we want to help you survive, and we want to (inaudible).

RACHEL CAMPOS-DUFFY: (Inaudible) opportunity for living standards (inaudible) online (inaudible).

EVAN FEINBERG: Yeah. So I mentioned before the unemployment rate (inaudible). Right now nobody has got a (inaudible) young Americans (inaudible) student loans (inaudible) unable to find (inaudible). And it’s 20 percent of recent college graduates (inaudible) all these really highly qualified, really well-educated young Americans who can’t get their foot in the door of the economy. So rather than just talking about all the regulations, all the government spending, all the (inaudible), we decided to highlight and help some of those young people.

So through some of our regional (inaudible), we formatted them online, through our (inaudible) .org platform (inaudible). We were able to find some young Americans who fit that profile (inaudible) everybody learn, really qualified (inaudible), and we actually (inaudible) online and highlighted their stories, promoted it. (Inaudible) some real success, so (inaudible) online on Facebook. Eleven thousand people saw this particular story, and we’ve done about five interviews with (inaudible).

We also drove the national narrative. So this was an A1 USA Today story profiling what a great (inaudible) one of the people that we — that we highlighted, and describing the lack of (inaudible). They also (inaudible) my world, my commentary, and what it was that was (inaudible).

So we were able to go to them and say to our online activists and to young Americans (inaudible) that we care about them, that we’re trying to help, but also that (inaudible) advancing federal policies, prescriptions for what ails young Americans.

RACHEL CAMPOS-DUFFY: (Inaudible). That’s exciting (inaudible).

(Inaudible) who want to share (inaudible) fall under the (inaudible) we really think that (inaudible) this is about engaging our volunteers (inaudible) crisis (inaudible). Now, this will help us to demonstrate our goodwill, that will sort of help show that we care, and show how we can depend on each other and not (inaudible) for everything on the government. (Inaudible) saw what happened in Katrina when people relied solely on the government.

Again, (inaudible) this example (inaudible) it’s actually one of my favorite (inaudible). Our office is actually located in the (inaudible) Park neighborhood, (inaudible) about five minutes from our office, (inaudible) a baseball park. And they had a big (inaudible) kids couldn’t afford it (inaudible). And so we decided to give them (inaudible) to the park. Again, a really good example of how we were, one, able to (inaudible). We strengthened our ties (inaudible) in the community, and we were able to get just a really great local resource (inaudible).

Now, since March of 2013 (inaudible) LIBRE has organized 27 (inaudible) events. Now, based on our analysis, we know that (inaudible) are the most debatable segment within (inaudible) to pull off these events. Total attendance at these 27 events, over 8,700 (inaudible) on average. That’s about 220 people per event.

And again when these people come, they sign up for the event, they give (inaudible) to receive our newsletter, (inaudible) telephone, cell phone and also you have determined our message. So by talking to them, showing people (inaudible) about the importance of (inaudible) on the Federal level. (Inaudible) can you give us some examples of (inaudible)?

TERESA OELKE: The day before our (inaudible) was scheduled for (inaudible) there was a (inaudible) in the water. And the RGA (inaudible) and our organization pulled together to provide 20,000 cases of water and were able to distribute it there in the community using (inaudible). And that’s how Americans for Prosperity Foundation was introduced to the community because we were there for them, and we were invested in what mattered to them. Similarly in Arkansas, (inaudible) we were able to (inaudible) water and (inaudible) from across the state and deliver there (inaudible).

So this isn’t about us (inaudible). This is about being a member of the community, and with the community (inaudible), being a good partner. And that was after (inaudible) that’s with added value back to the community. And it also allows us to work with this network of people who are not our network. There are people not (inaudible). In Arkansas, we currently (inaudible) this network that we are learning how (inaudible) added value.

RACHEL CAMPOS-DUFFY: I hope that this helps you sort of get a sense of how (inaudible) territory (inaudible) we have a long way to go. But I use — I use individual experiments and (inaudible) success. If you would like to discuss any of these (inaudible) with any of these grassroots groups, we will have groups tomorrow between 2:00 and 4:30 outside the Monarch Ballroom upstairs, and we’d love to have you stop by.

(Inaudible) we’re going to have (inaudible), so if you are interested in (inaudible) Americans (inaudible). Additionally, there’s a break-out meeting tomorrow afternoon (inaudible) Americans for Prosperity (inaudible) people in the middle third. It’s part of our long-term effort (inaudible). Glad to be here and thanks for your support.

(Applause.)

KEVIN GENTRY: Thank you all very much. (Inaudible) this afternoon (inaudible). In particular, I want to say a special thanks to Rachel Campos-Duffy, whose husband, Sean, was sitting in the back of the room just a couple of minutes with child number –

RACHEL CAMPOS-DUFFY: (Inaudible).

KEVIN GENTRY: (Inaudible). How old? A month and a half old. So, Sean, you’re doing great work back there (inaudible).

(Applause.)

RACHEL CAMPOS-DUFFY: (Inaudible).

KEVIN GENTRY: So thank you very much, Rachel. Thank you. So, and again, this is really what you all are doing. You all are the investors in this effort and (inaudible) a lot of us it’s a challenge (inaudible) who are doing all these things (inaudible). We’ll have breakouts tomorrow, get into groups and (inaudible).

(End of session.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Republican Governors Association Head Says Non-Partisan Group His Strongest Partner

AUDIO OBTAINED FROM A SOURCE WHO WAS PRESENT.

 

MORNING SESSION: THE STRATEGY IN ACTION // PART 2 OF 2

June 16, 2014

  

MARC SHORT, PRESIDENT OF FREEDOM PARTNERS,

TIM PHILLIPS, PRESIDENT OF AMERICANS FOR PROSPERITY,

AND PHIL COX, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, THE REPUBLICAN GOVERNORS ASSOCIATION

 

“2014 Debate:

Immediate Opportunities to Defend Freedom”

 

PHIL COX: We’ve been very blessed because of your support of this seminar, a great partner with I360, Concerned Vets, LIBRE. We’ve really had no stronger partner over the last four years than Americans for Prosperity. So thank you for all that you do.

So let’s go ahead and take a look at the map. We have 36 governors’ races this year. The majority are (inaudible). Nineteen incumbents are up for re-election. I want to take a quick look at them in three categories.

First, we have 17 states — 10 Republican held, seven Democrat held –- uh, where they’re not currently competitive. Things we’re going to continue to watch for right now, but right now they’re not currently competitive. So let’s (inaudible) for now.

Of the 19 states left, we have 10 states, six held by Republicans, four by the Democrats. Um, these states are to some degree competitive as states that RGA either has or will invest in going forward this year, but I really want to focus on the last category.

Nine states are most competitive, six states with Republican governors, three where we have pickup opportunities. The six states — Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, Wisconsin, and Maine — with a Republican incumbent governor. These are six states that Barack Obama has won twice, and these are the six states that the public sector unions and the Steyer brothers have publicly targeted. The three states — Connecticut, Illinois, and Arkansas — these are all three states where candidates, indeed for Connecticut, are tied or in the case of Arkansas and Illinois, are currently, uh, leading.

There are four states from other groups that I’ve identified as priorities of this seminar, so I’ll take just a couple minutes to take a closer look at these states. The first is Florida. Florida is obviously a critical battleground state. This will be the most expensive race this cycle, Senate or governor. Well over $100 million, maybe as much as $150 million, will be spent in Florida this year alone.

This will represent the largest single expenditure in RGA’s history. The RGA will spend likely more than $20 million in this state alone this year. Again, a state that’s been publicly targeted, uh, by the Steyer brothers. Um, it’s going to be a very hotly contested and expensive race this year.

And there could not be a more clear contrast in this race between Governor Scott and Charlie Crist. Governor Scott has rolled up his sleeves and put policies in place to make Florida an engine of economic growth. The unemployment rate is down five points. Five hundred and forty thousand net new private sector jobs have been created in his term. Florida is second only to Texas in terms of overall job creation.

Now, he’s running against (inaudible) Charlie Crist over here. He is literally the ultimate political opportunist (inaudible). Republican walks into a bar, and the bartender says, (hey, Charlie, how you doing.)

(Laughter.)

PHIL COX: More importantly — more importantly, when Crist was governor, um, the state shed 800,000 private sector jobs, and the unemployment rate went from three and a half to 11 percent. So there’s a clear contrast in this race.

Three months ago, Governor Scott trailed by 12 points. It was looking pretty dire. Over the last eight weeks, the RGA and the Scott campaign have put $12 million into this race just over the last two months. Today, for the first time Governor Scott’s job approval is over 50 percent. Charlie Crist’s (inaudible) has come down a net 15 points in the last few months. Uh, and most importantly, the (inaudible).

(Video presentation – Obamacare ad.)

—CUT IN AUDIO—

PHIL COX: In Wisconsin, because of your support, the 2012 recall, uh, the, the story is very clear. Governor Walker’s reforms are working. He’s taken a $3.6 billion budget deficit and turned it into a billion dollar surplus, a billion dollars in tax relief. He’s cut taxes three times already this year alone. A hundred thousand net new private sector jobs. The unemployment rate is at the lowest point since 2008.

And a statistic I think you’ll all care about, given how heavily involved AFP and other groups were in the recall, uh, since the collective bargaining reforms were in place, teachers’ union membership in Wisconsin is down (inaudible) percent.

(Applause.)

PHIL COX: In Wisconsin, it was a really tough battle in 2012. AFP was a tremendous partner. And it’s still a very polarized electorate there. Um, Walker’s (inaudible) is pretty high, probably 47-48, but he’s handling it pretty well, and I don’t see him probably getting beyond 54 or 55. So it’s going to be a state we’re heavily engaged in.

The RGA has already put $18 million in Walker over the last four years. We’re not going to let up now. We put $2 million in this spring. Uh, AFP has been on the air. Walker’s been on the air, and the governor currently leads by six points. This is a race we’re going to have to be engaged in right on until the end.

He’s running against Mary Burke. Uh, Mary Burke, her family owns and operates Trek Bicycle in Houston, and about eight million of her own money in this race, so this one we’re going to be heavily involved in.

Michigan, this guy on the left, Governor Snyder, is a self-described “one tough nerd.” We now like to call him the “Comeback Kid.” The unemployment rate is down four points in Michigan since he eliminated the anti-competitive Michigan business tax. He’s provided strong leadership to save Detroit. Um, and he’s really got — he did this small little thing — he took the home of the UAW and he made it a right-to-work state.

(Applause.)

PHIL COX: Now, the unions, as you can imagine, are a little fired up. Uh, they’re not very happy with Governor Snyder (inaudible).

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The RGA’s already spent $3 million (inaudible) spend a lot more into the fall. As Marc referenced, it’s a blue state where Governor Snyder currently leads by eight points. Um, he’s right anywhere between 10 and 15 points ahead of Terri Lynn Land. I think he’s going to lead the ticket. It’s also a state where the RGA already has, can, and will continue to correctly invest into the state party. So we — our investment with the RGA can impact get-out-the-vote efforts that can help Terri Lynn Land in that Michigan Senate race.

The last state is Arkansas, another state where we have a competitive Senate race and a great candidate in Tom Cotton. Um, it’s an open seat for governor. Retiring, uh, outgoing Governor Mike Beebe, a Democrat who’s very popular. Mike Ross is the Democrat.

The Democrats are all in in Arkansas both on the Senate side and the gubernatorial side. They’ve already spent $3 million this spring. They started early. They started in January (inaudible) and Asa Hutchinson trailed by four points. Now, the RGA went out and we spent about $2 million tying Mike Ross, a former congressman, to Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama, as you pointed out his votes on the stimulus and the auto bailout.

And today Asa leads by eight points. Again, another state where our candidate for governor, a Republican candidate for governor is running ahead of our U.S. Senate candidate as a state where the RGA is investing literally millions of dollars in the get-out-the-vote activities.

So those are four states that have been identified as priorities for this seminar. When I take a look back — when I take a step back and kind of look at the 30,000-foot view of what this election is shaping up to be, I, I’m optimistic I think for three reasons. First, uh, the political environment is good and it’s getting better. Obama is stuck at 42 nationally and, of course, there’s no signs of life for him in the legislature.

Um, as Rich mentioned yesterday, uh, it’s an off year. This is going to be a more Republican electorate by nature, that that third of freedom, freedom-minded voters is going to occupy a greater percentage of the electorate this year. The turnout is going to be closer to 50, 50 percent in most states – uh, in most of these competitive states as opposed to 70 percent, uh, in the 2012 presidential.

And then when you look at the most interested voters, uh, the voters who are most interested in this election, they’re our voters. We have a four to five point advantage both in the House, Senate, and governors’ races generically across the board. So the political environment looks good.

If you look at the Senate now, in the 36 states where we have governors’ races, there are 25 U.S. Senate races. That’s a tremendous overlap. If you go back 30 years to 1994, 75 percent of the time when we win the governor’s race, we win the U.S. Senate race all in the same year, making a strong correlation between winning governors’ races and winning Senate races.

Unlike in 2012 in states like Missouri and Indiana where our candidates for governor were having to run away from our, our Senate candidate, this year our candidates for governor and senator are really reinforcing one another both on the messaging and the get-out-the-vote side. And four states — in Arkansas, Michigan, Georgia, and Iowa — our candidates for governor are running, uh, anywhere between five to 15 points ahead of our candidates for the U.S. Senate. Again these are (inaudible) where the RGA has spent well over $5 million in these four states in get-out-the-vote operations to help our Senate candidates.

And then finally, and most importantly, our governors are getting results, and their states are moving in the right direction. Uh, our governors inherited a mess in 2011. They turned deficits into surpluses without raising taxes and reforming education, their pensions, their health, their tax, their regulatory systems.

Most importantly, they made job creation job one — job one. They put policies in place to make their states engines of economic growth.

—CUT IN AUDIO—

The most important thing, really the most important indicator is, as to a governor’s, incumbent governor’s re-election prospects as we’ve seen here today, is how voters perceive the direction of the state. We looked at this question. Uh, this is the net change — this slide is a net change from 2011 when they asked this question to today. Uh, five of the six most competitive states have Republican governors. Look at that net change in that right track number: 36 points in Ohio, 25 points in Florida.

Democrats have a very different story to tell. When we met in Illinois yesterday, one of the presentations — you ask the question in Illinois, 19 percent of the voters in Illinois think the state is moving in the right direction — 19 percent. We have a great argument for change in Illinois. Our Republican governors can very easily answer the question, “Are you better off than you — than you were four years ago?” This is a key indicator for the re-election prospects of any sitting governor, as we sit here today four and a half a months out.

So with that, I want to thank you for your support. I want to thank David specifically for his very strong support of the RGA and AFP’s great partnership over the last four years. We’re going to be keeping our foot on the gas here over the next four and a half months. Thank you all so much.

(Applause.)

MARC SHORT: Thank you, Phil. I’m going to wrap up now just with a quick summary of the path forward. Um, we’ve shared with you the House, the Senate, and the gubernatorial races. We know as the year moves forward, there will be one more big investment (inaudible) be proud to be part of (inaudible) to help dramatically (inaudible). But what we have seen a lot of investors (inaudible) of what we think is our competitive advantage is our grassroots operations.

We promised you after 2012 that one of our lessons learned was that we needed to build a permanent ground infrastructure in the battleground states. In the last six months, we’ve doubled the size of our infrastructure in the competitive states (inaudible). We’re not there. We are building infrastructure for the long term. So when we talk about the investments of 2014, in many cases, it’s beginning to build a staff that will help us in 2016, 2018, 2020, and beyond.

Now, as we close in the last 60 days, I’ll give you one investment from this operation. It doesn’t mean we’ll be completely off the airwaves. What we’ve found is that because of FEC (inaudible) we do not mention candidates (inaudible) fighting in the last 60 days every 501(c)(4) (inaudible). It’s what many of our partner organizations want.

So here’s one thing for now, we have launched a new 527. As many of you are familiar with, it’s also known as a super PAC. The reason for this is it gives us we think another (inaudible) that will enable us to be more impactful in the closing 60 days and be more direct in what we’re trying to accomplish.

Many of you in this audience have already given to super PACS and are comfortable with that disclosure. If you are such an individual and you wish to partner with us, we would ask you to consider that part of your pledge is allocated to the new Freedom Partners PAC. For those of you who (inaudible) have a preference for (inaudible) in ways we are not disclosed, traditional vehicles will still be available to you. But for those of you who are comfortable and understand the need to be more specific in what we’re advocating for in the closing 60 days of the election, we would ask you to consider this as part of your contribution.

When we met in January, we told you our budget for 2014 was $290 million, and it still is. We, um, you’ll see on this pie chart that we focus a lot, that we talk about the media. It’s what the media covers. And you can see that we’re asking $10 million from the action fund, and we’ve spent $69 million already.

Basically we will end up getting back at least $7 million (inaudible). But as you see, that is not a chronic investment (inaudible). We acknowledge it’s what gets covered, but more important, it is what we do with our competitive advantage over the long term.

We also are continuing to invest on data operations. We’ve made tremendous strides there. For those of you interested, right after this session, there will be breakouts led by Michael Palmer and Emily Seidel, who will talk to people about (inaudible). Mark Holden’s presentation that preceded ours shared with you some information we’ve gathered from our new competitive intelligence that we continue to build out. We shared with you as well the investment information (inaudible) the intellectual foundation we use to help build our issue ads.

Keep in mind why you do this, why you engage in the election in 2014, is that the Republican budget that has been offered to spend a trillion dollars less in the next ten years than the Obama budget. Spending is a critical issue, as well as healthcare.

If Republicans can control the House and the Senate, we would, in fact, (inaudible) one of the last opportunities (inaudible) at repealing Obamacare. I acknowledge the President will never sign legislation that repeals it, but it does provide the opportunity to begin to defund central elements of it and begin to peel it back. That’s why we (inaudible). If it remains the law of the land for two more years, it will be that much worse.

So moving this forward, I thank you for the support you’ve given us. We thank you for helping us to extend this network (inaudible) onslaught of this Administration [BACKGROUND NOISE].

KEVIN GENTRY: Thank you very much, Marc.

(Applause.)

KEVIN GENTRY: (Inaudible) we had breakouts in the — on the second day, and we’ll have (inaudible) feedback on those. We’re going to give that opportunity to you now. If you want to go to a breakout on the three, just up above on the fifth floor in Monarch. Voter turnout is in Monarch 1. One of the folks in the hallway will guide you. Voter turnout is on the data, persuasion, the get-out-the-vote messaging. That’s in Monarch 1. Candidate ID, support, and training is in Monarch 2. Youth engagement is in Monarch 3.

And if you’re interested in the Battleground Texas effort, that’s something where our competitive intelligence efforts have been key to uncover what the left is doing to turn Texas. And as you all know, in an electoral situation in a presidential race, if Texas flips, we’re toast.

—CUT IN AUDIO—

And then finally, this copy of the Democracy Alliance giving report, and you can pick up a copy from (inaudible) for reference. The one thing I would urge you to do is not to contribute (inaudible) to them.

(Laughter.)

KEVIN GENTRY: Not. Don’t be confused. All right, we will break. Breakouts will be back here at 11:20 where State Senator Joni Ernst from Iowa, and Congressman Cory Gardner from Colorado, and Congressman Tom Cotton of Arkansas will talk about the Senate in more detail. Thanks.

(End of session.)