Vice President Pence held an unannounced meeting with conservative political activist Charles Koch on Friday, the day before the Koch brothers network kicks off a donor meeting in Colorado Springs.
Pence, in town to headline a banquet celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Christian conservative group Focus on the Family, sat down with the chairman and chief executive of Koch Industries, along with key members of the Koch team.
The meeting was not on the vice president’s schedule released by the White House late Thursday.
A spokesman for the vice president’s office denied to The Hill earlier Friday that Pence would be meeting with the Koch brothers’ network. The spokesman did not respond to requests for comments late Friday.
James Davis, a spokesman for the Koch brothers’ network, said Pence and Charles Koch discussed issues ranging from tax reform to a measure reforming the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which President Trump signed Friday. The meeting lasted 50 minutes, Davis said.
Marc Short, the White House’s director of legislative affairs who once served as Pence’s chief of staff on Capitol Hill, and Marty Obst, a longtime Pence adviser who runs the vice president’s political action committee, both sat in on the meeting.
On the Koch brothers’ side of the room: Mark Holden, Koch Industries’ general counsel; Tim Phillips, president of the Koch brothers-backed group Americans for Prosperity; Brian Hooks, president of the Charles Koch Foundation and the Charles Koch Institute; and Davis.
While President Trump had an almost non-existent relationship with the libertarian billionaire Koch brothers, Pence has a much longer history with both Charles and David Koch.
Americans for Prosperity touted Pence’s record as governor of Indiana. His former pollster Kellyanne Conway, now a senior adviser in the Trump White House, worked for a Koch network group. And Short, the White House’s top lobbyist and former Pence chief of staff, once ran the Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, a key wing of the Koch brothers network.
While in Colorado Springs, Pence had lunch with service members at Schriever Air Force Base and toured the National Space Defense Center and Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station, according to a schedule released by the White House.
Pence is scheduled to appear at a fundraiser for Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), who chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee, at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs. The Koch brothers’ network is also meeting at the Broadmoor, a posh resort owned by the conservative billionaire Philip Anschutz.
Source: The Hill