Mainstream Media Won’t Name Koch Donors, But We Will

David Koch CU
David Koch, clearly unhappy with the publicity, golfing with VIP donors on Saturday, August 1.

Nine news outlets, including Politico and the Washington Post, have been given access to the Koch brothers donor fest on the condition that they not report on the identities of donors without their permission.

Notes Huffington Post’s Michael Calderone:

The problem is that the ground rules could restrict journalists from reporting what’s right in front of their eyes. If, say, Rupert Murdoch, or even a lesser-known billionaire, walked by, they couldn’t report the person’s attendance without permission. So it’s possible journalists end up reporting largely what the event sponsors want, such as fiery speeches and candidate remarks criticizing Democrats, but less on the power brokers attending who play key behind-the-scenes roles in the 2016 election.

Calderone is on-the-money, but there is a further, perhaps bigger danger. The presence of major media companies at the retreat lends the Koch operation the appearance of transparency, essentially white-washing activities that are corrosive to American democracy.

The Undercurrent has been on-the-ground in Dana Point covering the retreat, and was not granted any special access. In fact, this reporter was stalked by the Koch security team and manhandled by top Koch operative Kevin Gentry. (More on that debacle to come.) Additionally, one of Undercurrent’s photographers was threatened by a guest who did not like having his picture taken. This man got out of his car and shouted angrily, “You don’t know who you’re f*cking with!”

To his point, no, we don’t, and we need your help. The Undercurrent and its sponsor, American Family Voices, are committed to doing what the mainstream media won’t: exposing Koch donors. If you know the identity of the aforementioned man below, please let us know in the comments section, and stay tuned for more independent, on-the-ground political reporting from The Undercurrent.


The nine news organizations and their journalists in attendance are:

Associated Press: Julie Bykowicz
Bloomberg News: Zachary Mider
CNN: Maeve Reston
Politico: Mike Allen, Ken Vogel
Time Magazine: Philip Elliott
USA Today: Fredreka Schouten
Wall Street Journal: Patrick O’Connor
Washington Post: Matea Gold, James Hohmann
Washington Times: Ralph Z Hallow

Barry Troll


Inside ALEC: An Interview w/ an Insider (Uncut)

I interview OH State Rep. John Adams about his experience as State Chair of the Year for the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC. Interview conducted on Thursday, August 15.

Special Edition: On the Ground w/ Occupy Gezi

I interview Occupy Wall Street activist and co-founder of the Paul Robeson Freedom School Justin Wedes, who is on the ground in Istanbul for the Occupy Gezi protests. We hear from Turkish protester Ali Ozdemir who tells us how a tiny protest about the development of an urban park turned into a national movement against the “fascist” policies of President Tayyip Erdogan.

Send Me to Netroots

Most of you know that I actively work in the Citizens United/campaign finance reform movement. I am competing to win a scholarship to an important political media conference, Netroots Nation, and I need your help. If I win, it won’t just be a personal victory for my career, but will also help my overall cause of getting money out of politics. That’s because Netroots offers 80 panels, 40 training sessions, and the opportunity to network with like-minded activists.

Please vote for me here:… Any other help you can give, like Facebook posts or tweets, is greatly appreciated. I’m behind in votes, so your help will definitely make a difference… Voting ends tonight at 11:59 PM Pacific! xoxo, L.


Villaraigosa Fracks Up?

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, former Vice President Al Gore, and Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune gathered at the LA Department of Water and Power to announce that the city would be coal-free by 2025. Apparently it’s an urgent matter. This “press conference” was part of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal initiative, which aims to replace coal with clean energy sources nationwide.  I say “press conference” in quotations because of all the press present– and there was plenty– I was the only journalist to ask a question.

Beyond Coal

The city derives 40% of its energy from two out-of-state power plants in Arizona and Utah. During his speech, Villaraigosa said that energy would be replaced with wind, solar, and natural gas. I wanted to know if the city planned to obtain that natural gas through fracking. This controversial method of extracting oil and natural gas from deep in the ground with pressurized water and many carcinogenic chemicals is already happening in LA communities like Baldwin Hills and Culver City. It’s not exactly a clean energy replacement.

Villaraigosa, astoundingly, said no. I followed up with him afterwards to get confirmation of his statement, which he re-affirmed, though qualified with “at that site, no,” referring to the Utah coal plant that will be transitioned to natural gas. Shortly thereafter, I was approached by Mayor Villaraigosa’s press secretary, who offered to have him do a follow-up to clarify his remarks. Stay tuned for updates… Watch the video below for my question and interview…