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Billionaire Who Denies Connection to Tea Parties Bankrolls Tea-Partying Glenn Beck Fans

David Koch, billionaire backer of the Tea Party movement, says he's never been to a Tea Party event. So, what do you call the conference full of Tea Partiers he just convened?

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As the Americans For Prosperity Foundation ferried its troops to the site of the Beck rally, the grounds between the Lincoln Memorial began to swell with at least 300,000 Beck fans, many of them wearing Tea Party T-shirts and other regalia. Nearly everyone I spoke to said they had learned of the rally by watching Glenn Beck. Most of them seemed convinced that the government had taken over the private sector of the economy, and that that was exactly what President Barack Obama intended. And that's why he must be opposed on all fronts.

If there were any missteps made in the execution of the billionaires' weekend events, it may have been the appearance of Koch himself at his Americans For Prosperity Foundation banquet and the selection of George Will to receive the organization's George Washington award.

As I composed a blog post in the hotel lobby after the event, I overheard an attendee talking to her friends. "Michele Bachmann, now she's real," the woman said, speaking with a Southern accent. "You would never know that she's an attorney. But George Will and that other guy -- these people have never had real jobs. They don't know what it's like to sit in a broken office chair because your job can't afford for you to put in for a new one."

She seemed unaware that "that other guy" was the one who was going to get her to the big rally, and rake in a windfall -- likely at her expense -- if the agenda she signed onto through her activism ever came to pass.

Adele M. Stan is AlterNet's Washington bureau chief.

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