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Koch-Walker Fundraiser Sunk by Superstorm
Walker was scheduled to headline a New York Republican State Committee fundraiser tomorrow in New York City hosted by Koch, among other well-heeled GOP bigwigs. A New York State Republican Party notice today informed participants that the event has been postponed.
The event was to feature not only a $1,000-a-plate lunch at the famous '21' Club on Manhattan's Upper Westside but a $2,500 combo deal that gets the donor lunch along with a photo op. What's unknown is how much a picture of Walker and Koch will be worth afterwards.
Americans for Prosperity (AFP), which David Koch started and whose foundation board he still chairs, was a big backer of Walker's union busting bill, spending hundreds of thousands on television ads defending the measure. When Walker faced recall because of the bill, AFP again came to his defense, spending $10 million defending Walker against the close to one million angry voters who signed recall petitions, almost twice what Walker's opponent raised and spent. Koch told the Palm Beach Post in February 2012 that, with regard to Walker, "We're helping him, as we should. We've gotten pretty good at this over the years. We've spent a lot of money in Wisconsin. We're going to spend more." After a "benefit dinner of salmon and white wine," Koch told the reporter that Walker is "an impressive guy and he's very courageous."
Koch's ties to Walker became national news when Ian Murphy, editor of The Buffalo Beast, impersonated Koch in order to get through to Walker by phone.
Koch is listed as a co-host of the fundraiser. Other co-hosts include banking heir Matthew Mellon and his wife, socialite and designer Nicole Hanley Mellon, as well as his in-laws, Palm Beach-based oil company executive Lee Hanley and his wife Allie.
Joining them may be another Palm Beach plutocrat, "leveraged buyout king" John Castle of Castle Harlan, a multibillion dollar private equity fund based in New York, who showed his dissatisfaction with a waiter in January by allegedly breaking his finger.
Also co-hosting is private equity investor Oliver Grace, Jr., who was charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission in October 2011 "for conducting a scheme to evade the group purchase limits of the public offerings of seven banks that were converting from mutual to stock ownership." He bought the Empire State Building in 1991, secretly on behalf of Japanese businessman Hideki Yokoi (whose own offer had been rejected "because he was in prison after a fire at one of his Tokyo hotels killed 33 people," according to the New York Times). Grace is also on the leadership council of the right-wing political group Club for Growth and attended the "Koch Strategy Group" in Aspen in 2010.
It is unclear if the massive superstorm, which has been linked to climate change and the warming of the Atlantic, will change Walker's or Koch's mind about the urgency of global warming. Stay tuned.