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Last Update: 12:35 am
As wealthy, conservative business people met Sunday inside a Coachella Valley resort, members of a liberal political action and open access group rallied to complain that corporations were being given unfettered control of the nation.
Common Cause rented a hotel ballroom for about 350 activists to discuss the conservative political agenda being furthered by Charles Koch and David Koch, the billionaire brothers who own an oil conglomerate that is the largest privately-held corporation in the U.S. The brothers and their company, Koch Industries, are hosting an invitation-only strategy session in the Valley this weekend.
About 1,000 protesters then clustered on Bob Hope Drive's sidewalks near the Rancho Las Palmas resort, where the conservatives were meeting.
[Related: Check out more photos from the protest]
Signs read "Medicare for All,'' "Troops Home Now'' and "Tea Party Founded and Funded By The Kochs.'' Police wearing riot helmets and visors formed a cordon at the resort's gates, and the protestors responded by moving away, to the other side of Bob Hope Drive.
The protest was mostly peaceful, however, 25 people were taken into custody for trespassing.
"The arrested subjects were transported to a command post in close proximity to the protest site where two subjects with pre-existing medical conditions were released with a citation at the scene," said Lieutenant Jorge Pinon of the Riverside County Sheriff's Department. "The remaining twenty- three subjects were transported to the Indio Jail where they were booked and released with a citation."
Nancy Pfotenhauer, a spokesperson for Kochk sent KPSP Local 2 News this statement:
"We are happy to be back in Palm Desert, which has been such a gracious host community for these conferences for the last eight years. This meeting brings together some of America's greatest philanthropists and job creators and who share a common belief that the current level of government spending in our nation is simply unsustainable. In 2011, we will see yet another increase in the federal deficit and by 2021 debt held by the public will double. The discussion over the next couple of days will focus on solutions to this and other pressing issues in our nation and on strategies to promote policies that will help grow our economy, foster free enterprise and create American jobs. We support the right of all Americans assemble in a peaceful and respectful way and to express their own point of view, and we hope that any protesters will respect this community and not inconvenience local residents."
The Koch brothers have funded the effort behind Citizens United, the challenge to federal campaign laws that prompted a 5-4 majority of the U.S. Supreme Court to rule that corporations or other groups can secretly spend as much money on political efforts as they desire.
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Also read Riot Police Guard Against Anti-Billionaire Protesters in Rancho Mirage. John Amato is on the scene