Tampa during convention week is awash in politicians, big donors and journalists. And sometimes they all choose the same place for dinner, as billionaire industrialist David Koch learned last night.
A group of reporters including Slate’s Dave Weigel spotted Koch and Republican Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson, a millionaire businessman elected in 2010 with help from Koch Industries and tea party interests, in a private room at the well-reviewed SideBern’s.
(You know you’ve picked a good place to eat when one of the richest men in the world is at a table nearby.)
Koch, 72, and his brother, Charles Koch, 76, co-own Koch Industries, one of the largest closely held companies in the world. The two are currently Nos. 7 and 8 on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, together worth more than $70 billion.
David Koch is in Tampa as a New York delegate and will be honored at an Americans for Prosperity event on Thursday (he co-founded the group.). He and his wife, Julia, hosted a fundraiser for Mitt Romney last month at their beach home in the Hamptons. It was closed to the press. And David and Charles Koch typically prefer to route their political money through nonprofits, including Americans for Prosperity, that don’t disclose donors.
So Tampa represents a rare stepping out for David Koch. Judging by the look on his face when freelance reporter Matt Laslo snapped his photo, he’s not altogether thrilled about it.