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Trump’s Cabinet Choices Reflect Deep Koch Influence
Trump’s Cabinet Choices Reflect Deep Koch Influence
A rundown of the people with ties to ALEC, the Koch brothers and federal land transfer legislation.
December 15, 2016
High Country News
A shorter URL for the above link:
President-elect Donald Trump vowed to drain the swamp and rid Washington D.C. of lobbyists, corporations and industry influence. But with each new appointment, it becomes clearer that many his transition team members, Cabinet picks and close staffers are the very types he said he would steer clear of.
According to an ongoing analysis by the left-leaning Washington D.C.-based policy research and advocacy organization Center for American Progress, nearly a third of Trumps transition team has ties to Charles and David Koch, the billionaire brothers that own the second largest privately held company in the country, Koch Industries, and have founded and funded many conservative organizations. Thats 72 of the 236 people the organization researched, including those on Trumps transition team for the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Interior, and Department of Energy.
The attention is on high level Cabinet picks, but those people working under the Trump administration on the ground, leading or working with transition teams inside each agency, are important to watch, too, says Jenny Rowland, research and advocacy associate for public lands at the Center for American Progress. Historically, these people have been tapped for undersecretaries or leading smaller departments within agencies. We wanted to keep an eye on where theyve been.
Many of Trumps picks have ties to Koch Industries and Koch Enterprises, which are corporations founded by Charles and David Koch that own a variety of manufacturing, energy, technology and distribution companies. Koch Industries executives and lobbyists have also given to Democrats, too, including the Clintons though not nearly as much as Republicans.
Some of these people are also tied to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a conservative nonprofit organization that pushes principles of free-market enterprise, limited federal control, and more power for state governments. Based in Arlington, Virginia, it is funded largely by the Koch family and its corporate advisory board includes ExxonMobil and tobacco giant Altria. ALEC is closely affiliated with the State Policy Network, a right-wing network of conservative organizations and think tanks, many of which are funded by Koch money.
ALEC has also become a leader in the land transfer movement by providing bill templates, research and public support to state legislators. For example, Utah Rep. Ken Ivory sponsored the Transfer of Public Lands Act, which demanded that Congress give states control of public lands. It passed in 2012, but little action has been taken to fulfill the bill’s goals. About a year later, ALEC wrote a similar model bill for land transfer laws, urging all executive officers of this State, to exert their full powers to cooperate and assist Utah and the other States to sell public land to state governments.
List of individual Cabinet members discussed in this article as having Koch Brother ties:
Vice President Mike Pence
Rex Tillerson, Secretary of State nominee
Rick Perry, Energy Secretary nominee
Mike Pompeo, CIA director nominee
Scott Pruitt, EPA administrator nominee
Jeff Sessions, Attorney General nominee
Ryan Zinke, Interior Secretary nominee
Wilbur Ross, Commerce Department Secretary nominee
Nikki Haley, United Nations Ambassador nominee
Tom Price, Health and Human Services Secretary nominee
Betsy DeVos, Department of Education head nominee
is a billionaire who has given millions of dollars to Republican candidates and super PACs. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, she has attended many Koch fundraisers and has donated to Americans for Prosperity and other Koch-funded organizations. DeVos has also pushed legislation for the privatization of school systems which ALEC is a proponent of and has model legislation for.
Myron Ebell, who is leading Trumps EPA transition team
Elaine Chao, Transportation Secretary nominee
Doug Domenech, who is leading Trumps Interior transition team
Ned Mamula, on the Interior transition team
Scott Cameron, a member of the Interior transition team
Thomas Pyle, who has been leading Trumps transition team
for the Energy Department
There are many other transition team staffers involved with Koch-funded ventures and ALEC members. Quite a few work for or have been funded by state, regional, or local conservative think tanks and organizations affiliated with the State Policy Network. For example, Daniel Simmons, who is working for the Energy Department transition team, works for the Institute for Energy Research and previously ran the ALEC task force on energy issues. David Kreutzer, who is working on the EPA transition team, was a senior research fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation, and Austin Lipari, on the EPA transition team, was deputy director of the student division at the Federalist Society.
Further Information about Climate and these organizations and people: The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), The Koch Brothers, State Policy Network, Koch Enterprises, Koch Industries, Americans for Prosperity, a Tea Party group founded by David Koch, Center for Responsive Politics, American Energy Alliance, Institute for Energy Research, and the Federalist Society FROM Previous Net-Gold posts.
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