Some will recall the emergence of a video during the 2012 election campaign that had been secretly recorded of Mitt Romney speaking to a group of wealthy people, cementing even further his image as a plutocrat who had contempt for the poor. Now a similar audio recording of Republican minority leader Mitch McConnell pandering to billionaires at a closed-door meeting has emerged.
At a Koch Brothers-hosted secret strategy conference of right-wing millionaire and billionaire political activists in June, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) promised that if his party wins control of the United States Senate this November, the Senate will not waste time on things like increasing the minimum wage for people making only about $15,000 annually. Instead, audio of his remarks obtained by The Nation reveals, his Senate will focus on repealing Wall Street reforms, environmental protections, and affordable healthcare.
McConnell spoke at an annual event hosted by oil billionaires Charles and David Koch at the St. Regis Monarch Bay resort in Dana Point, CA. The conference, titled “American Courage: Our Commitment to a Free Society,” reportedly attracted hundreds of the nation’s wealthiest individuals and aimed to raise $500 million toward making McConnell the Senate majority leader next year and another $500 million to defeat a potential Hillary Clinton presidential campaign.
McConnell, who has been attacked by his opponent for voting 17 times against minimum wage increases, made it clear that under his leadership there would not be any increase in the current $7.25 federal minimum wage. “And we’re not going to be debating all these gosh darn proposals. That’s all we do in the Senate is vote on things like raising the minimum wage,” he told the billionaires in attendance.
Given the ubiquity of recording devices and the increased ability to freely disseminate audio and video widely bypassing traditional news outlets, it is becoming increasingly hard for people to tailor their message to specific audiences at ‘secret’ strategy sessions. If more than a handful of people are present, and it is a catered event, then word will leak out. And that is a good thing.