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Ducey headed to Palm Springs for Koch Brothers conference

  • Updated
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PHOENIX -- Gov. Doug Ducey is one again headed off to the California desert to spend some time with the billionaire Koch brothers and the group of big-dollar donors they are gathering at Palm Springs.

Ducey press aide Daniel Scarpinato confirmed that the governor and chief of staff Kirk Adams are headed to the event today and will be returning Tuesday.

"Gov. Ducey is looking forward to attending this conference with other elected officials, policy experts and business leaders from all over the country who are advocates of limited government, innovation and the free enterprise system,'' Scarpinato said in a prepared statement.

He said the pair are flying commercially and paying for the trip themselves.

The official host for the event is Freedom Partners, which has acknowledged its ties to Charles and David Koch.

Ducey's ties to the brothers -- and their money -- actually predate his 2014 election.

During the campaign, American Encore put more than $750,000 into ads targeting Democrat candidate Fred DuVal and spent another $650,000 promoting Ducey.

That group is the successor to the Koch brothers-financed Center to Protect Patient Rights run by Phoenix political consultant Sean Noble. The group is organized under federal tax laws as a "social welfare'' organization and does not disclose its donors.

But the links go back even farther.

In 2012 Ducey was leading the campaign to defeat Proposition 204, which would have implemented a permanent 1-cent sales tax, largely to fund education.

Americans for Responsible Leadership put $500,000 into killing that 2012 ballot measure. But facing charges of violating campaign finance laws in California, Adams, who headed that group at the time, had to reveal that its money came from the Center to Protect Patient Rights -- now American Encore.

Ducey has been a supporter of the ability of groups organized under the federal tax code as "social welfare'' organizations to refuse to disclose the source of their funds.

This is actually Ducey's third foray to the gathering. His first trip was during the gubernatorial campaign, where he was taped as saying, "I can't emphasize enough the power or organizations like this.'' He also made the trip in 2015, during his first year in office.


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