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Press Release
February 2, 2011

Paul Ryan’s Koch-Fueled Weekend

House Budget Chair Goes to Kiss the Ring at Secret Special Interest Summit

MADISON, Wis. — U.S. House Republican Budget Chair Paul Ryan of Janesville traveled to a secret California fundraising junket this past weekend run by billionaires Charles and David Koch, the major financers of the so-called tea party movement, the ThinkProgress news site reported today.

“Paul Ryan has supported, in lock step, the big oil, anti-accountability for Wall Street agenda of Koch Industries, so he was in perfect company,” said Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Now Executive Director. “We encourage Paul Ryan to make public the speech he made at the fundraising event, so that Wisconsin will know what he has to say about our priorities when he attends his Koch parties.”

The fortunes of Koch Industries, which is among the nation’s largest privately-held companies, financed the Americans for Prosperity. Americans for Prosperity provided the infrastructure and paid resources for much of the pro-Republican tea party movement. According to its IRS 990s, Americans for Prosperity’s funding went from $7 milllion in 2008 to $16 million in 2009. Figures for 2010 were not available.

“It’s time to end the big lie and admit that the tea party was actually a Koch party, financed to keep Wall Street on top and protect oil profits and high gas prices,” said Ross. “It’s also important for GOP Budget leader Paul Ryan to come clean about what he had to say as a speaker at this Koch party.”

ThinkProgress said the total haul of this event could be tens of millions of dollars, reporting:

At last year’s Koch fundraiser, Charles Koch promised to match every dollar committed by attendees. He raised $30 million dollars at the Aspen meeting in 2010, and hopes to do better this year, again matching every dollar raised with one of his own.

Ryan is the author of the radical plan to give Wall Street speculators access to Social Security funds through privatization, tear down traditional Medicare and Medicaid benefits, all while cutting taxes on the wealthiest, paid for by increasing taxes on the middle class. [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 7/7/10]

Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin and the state’s tea party leaders, along with the Republican Party of Wisconsin and new Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus, were implicated in a thwarted voter-suppression scheme in 2010, which was uncovered by One Wisconsin Now. Information about that scheme is available at: www.SaveWisconsinsVote.org.

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One Wisconsin Now is a statewide communications network specializing in effective earned media and online organizing to advance progressive leadership and values.

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