Conservative megadonors the Koch brother are hosting a summit this weekend
They've invited former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina as well as Scott Walker and Marco Rubio
Longshot presidential candidate Carly Fiorina has won an invitation to the powerful Koch Brothers’ donor summit this weekend, an opportunity for her to impress some of the Republican Party’s most well-heeled contributors.
Fiorina, with little money and little support in early polls, will appear at the Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce’s semi-annual event this weekend, the organization confirmed. The line-up in California was first reported by USA Today.
Joining Fiorina will be Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. Fiorina’s inclusion at the exclusive retreat comes as Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who reportedly performed poorly at the Brothers’ most recent “seminar” in January, will not court the powerful this weekend. Though the Kentucky Republican is not scheduled to attend, Paul spokesman Sergio Gor said he was invited to the event and could drop in.
Fiorina, Walker, Bush, Rubio and Cruz will all speak at a forum that will be live-streamed to media, a rare view into what has historically been a very private, secret weekend.
The network, a broad group of top Republican funders organized by industrialists Charles and David Koch, has pledged to spend nearly $900 million on the 2016 presidential campaign. While the Kochs’ groups almost certainly will not endorse any individual candidate in the primary, many of the individual donors – including Charles and David Koch themselves – have indicated they are on the market for the right Republican candidate to support.
The Kochs are believed to be closest to Walker, but David Koch told interviewers in May that he and his brother are looking at the “top five Republican candidates” and are considering giving to a “very, very large extent.”
That group of five didn’t include Fiorina, who has excited some early-state activists but posted fundraising numbers this month that lagged well behind the rest of the field. But the former Hewlett-Packard executive does have some ties to the network: Koch Industries’ PAC helped host a fundraiser when she ran for the Senate in 2010, and her current campaign manager, Frank Sadler, has previously done political work for the brothers.
A clearer portrait of the Koch network’s loyalties will emerge this week when each candidate’s super PAC – which can accept donations of unlimited size – file the names of their donors with the Federal Election Commission.