One Equal World

Secret annual conference features high-ranking public officials

Posted on: May 7, 2012

How strange that in an interconnected world there are still secret events, conferences that news agencies scramble to cover, filled with references to “anonymous sources.”  But these events do exist, and the annual OutGiving conference hosted by the Gill Action Fund is one of them.

The Gill Action Fund works on the state level to advance LGBT rights and oust lawmakers who oppose them. The event is selective and secretive, and individuals who participate pledge not to speak publicly about it.

That doesn’t mean the information doesn’t get out.  Chris Johnson at the Washington Blade managed to obtain a program and talk to several anonymous sources about the conference.   According to one donor who attended there were between “100 and 200 donors, activists and other individuals were in attendance.”

It’s so far been confirmed that David Plouffe, a senior adviser at the White House, gave a speech to attendees about the work the administration has done over the course of Obama’s first term.  Other sources confirmed that lesbian Rep.Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) attended, and that Ken Mehlman spoke on a panel about “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

Johnson spoke with John Aravosis gay editor of AMERICAblog to get his opinion on the secretive nature of the conference.  Aravosis, who didn’t attend, says that it doesn’t bother him.

 “If you hold strategy sessions in public, then they’re press conferences and not strategy sessions,” Aravosis said. “We don’t need the religious right taking notes about what our plans are for the next year.”

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