‘LET’S STAND TOGETHER’: KOCH MEETING CLOSES ON OPIOIDS, HOMELESSNESS, CRIMINAL REFORM AND REHABILITATION (AND NO POLITICS)

The Daily Caller | 1/28/2019 | Staff
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Palm Springs, Calif. — The 2019 winter Koch Seminar conference closed Monday with barely a mention of the 2020 elections.

Skipping the subject 22 months before the election actually takes place might seem totally normal, but in the elite world of high-dollar Republican donors, maybe less so. Words and phrases like “election, “campaign spend” and “issue ad” were replaced with “sentencing reform,” rehabilitating” ex-cons, “fighting opioid addiction,” “empowering the homeless” and, especially, “broad-based coalitions”– or, working with liberals on issues where there’s agreement. Indeed, the previously omnipresent torch logo of Americans for Prosperity, an umbrella group associated with tea party activism and center-right policy prescriptions, was hard to find, though its officers still littered the crowd and spoke on the stage.

Billionaire - Industrialist - Charles - Koch - Seminar

Billionaire industrialist Charles Koch’s libertarian Seminar Network has always stressed issues outside of Washington, a city he’d rather never think about, but recent mainstays of the meetings have shifted, replaced with a concerted effort to promote organizations like Stand Together, a group that focuses on working with successful nonprofits to scale their operations.

Non-profits like The Phoenix, a now-national, free exercise club for addicts who’ve been clean for at least 48 hours, took center stage. In three states and seven communities when they hooked up Standing Together, they’re now in 22 states and 36 communities. “We were one of their earlier catalysts,” founder Scott Strode told reporters Sunday evening. “We had been operating for eight years, nine years [when we connected with the network] … “That’s not just because of capital investment, that’s because of Stand Together helping us to refine our business practices.”

Strode - Crack - Addiction - Boxing - Years

Strode, who beat a crack addiction in the boxing ring 22 years ago, was beaming when he told reporters the Koch Seminar Network had donated another $3 million to The Phoenix for 2019. “We’re gonna use 2019 to really...
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