(Mostly Koch Backed) Conservatives Seek to Regain Control of Republican Agenda

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Eighty-five percent of attendees mentioned in a recent Washington Post article  have some connection to the Kochs.  The two high-profile senators at this Tea Party conference—Sen. Ted Cruz and Sen. Mike Lee—have both attended various Koch-sponsored events and strategy meetings.  Other attendees, such as L. Brent Bozell (Media Research Center) and Michael Needham (Heritage), have either worked for or worked with Koch-funded think tanks and organizations.  These hard-line conservatives produced a 10-page manifesto for the conference that outlines the kind of far-right policies they believe should be implemented.  Buried within this manifesto is a mention of the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which is a key part of the Koch agenda.       

Robert Costa, Published: May 15. The Washington Post

Although many Republicans are optimistic about their chances in this year’s elections, some of Washington’s leading conservatives gathered Thursday to privately vent frustrations about what kind of party they will be left with after November.

The group, alarmed by a resurgence of the GOP establishment in recent primaries and what activists view as a softened message, drafted demands to be shared with senior lawmakers calling on the party to “recommit” to bedrock principles.

Some of those principles laid out in the new document — strict opposition to illegal immigration, same-sex marriage and abortion — represent the hot-button positions that many Republican congressional candidates are trying to avoid as the party attempts to broaden its appeal.

Several attendees said they fear that elected Republicans, even if they succeed in retaining control of the House and winning the Senate majority, would cast aside the core conservative base.

“Conservatives ought not to delude themselves that if Republicans win the Senate majority, it will somehow be a conservative majority,” said L. Brent Bozell III, president of the Media Research Center, which monitors perceived media bias. “We should have no expectation whatsoever that they will listen. That’s why we’re fighting.”

Others worry that a toned-down campaign message by the party would dim GOP turnout and undercut Republicans in competitive races.

“I’m terrified that Republicans will blow this election if they are not going to stand for something,” said Michael A. Needham, the chief executive of Heritage Action, a conservative group.

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