Waxman on GOP-led House: “All that seems to matter is what Koch Industries thinks”

Speaking at the Center for American Progress Action Fund this week, House energy committee ranking member Henry Waxman (D-CA) railed against the toxic influence of Koch Industries on efforts to fight global warming. Brad Johnson has the story and video.

Waxman, who fought polluters to pass the Clean Air Act of 1990, is dismayed by the level of outright science denial among the Republican Party today, exemplified by their votes to slash and burn environmental protection, and the Upton-Inhofe bill to reverse the scientific finding that carbon pollution threatens public health:

It apparently no longer matters in Congress what health experts and scientists think. All that seems to matter is what Koch Industries think.

Watch a compilation of Waxman’s remarks:

“Science denial, partisanship, and the rising power of special interests are deeply intertwined,” Waxman said, “and they feed off each other.” He explained the vicious circle fueled by Koch Industries, the private petrochemical conglomerate, and the Republican Party. “Koch Industries benefits immensely from the rollback of EPA regulations, so it backs Republican candidates who advocate this position. And it funds groups that attack science and it organizes anti-regulation demonstrations. Republican strategists see a partisan advantage in attacking efforts to address climate change, so that leads to a growing acceptance of science denial.”

In the question-and-answer period, Waxman was asked why industry is split on climate change, with some companies supporting action, and others opposed. After discussing how he has worked with coal and oil interests to bring them on board to action, he returned to David and Charles Koch:

The Koch brothers, I think, are unique, because they’re not just interested in their financial well-being, they’re interested in ideology. They are uniquely involved in the right wing of this country. They are financing the Tea Party movement, and the Republican Party, and they’re making the politics pay off for them both ideologically and economically.

“So there are industries that we’re never going to completely satisfy,” Waxman concluded. “We’ll do our best to hear their concerns and try to be responsive to them. But if their position is nothing, no way, no how, it’s hard to compromise with that kind of position.”

Brad Johnson, in a Wonk Room repost.

13 Responses to Waxman on GOP-led House: “All that seems to matter is what Koch Industries thinks”

  1. Doctor D says:

    This is deomocracy’s last stand.

  2. Money in politics is nothing new, but it’s gone to such an insane level the corruption is threatening our democracy.

    The Supreme Court ruling on Citizens United vs FEC only made things worse. If you haven’t heard about it, I recommend this video…

  3. David Smith says:

    I think the Koch name should be memorialized at the head of this gross manipulation of our government and culture as a warning to future individuals who decide to mount such an effort to impose their own views and personal interests on our country. The Koch name should be remembered like Ponzi or Mudd

    Rather than using their creative energies and wealth to make America better, the Koch brothers have done more than anyone else to create a system of organizations whose purpose is to impose their personal will on the American system. They go way beyond looking out for the interests of their business and seem to be attempting to reshape the American experiment to their own whim at the expense of many, or, without regard for the many. They try to stay below the radar. They have created a public face as generous philanthropists but even these efforts promote their one-sided view of America & the world. I would guess that they spend more money in influence peddling than in philanthropy.

    This activity that they and others are undertaking should be called “koching”. It is a verb, an action. People who participate in such activities could be called “kochers”. As an adjective, “kochish”, ie, a kockish piece of legislation. Paid members of the various Koch organizations and those funded by the Koch brothers could be called kochs. The Koch brothers go way beyond “special interest”.

    You get the picture. Keep up the good work, Dr. Romm and Rep Waxman

  4. Scrooge says:

    I too believe this is a fight for democracy. The enemy is Koch head republicans. I think we are deciding now what type of govt will be in place for the next several years. Will we come together as a democracy to fight the effects of AGW. Or will we have Koch head dictators.
    We are possibly leaving our grandchildren a life of hell. Let’s not make it worse by allowing the Don and his captains run the show.

  5. “Science denial, partisanship and the rise of special interests.” The three major problems with the Republican Party as it exists today. He showed how each one is connected to the other. Of course what makes this even worse is how they have managed to take control of the Supreme Court.

    First, Bush v Gore where a recount of only the counties Gore wanted would have resulted in his losing, but a recount of the entire state would have resulted in his winning by any of the rules under consideration. That according to detailed analysis performed by several major papers. But this came out shortly after 9/11 and was therefore buried and downplayed to preserve national unity in a time of crisis.

    Then the decision that corporations as artificial persons (in contrast to “preferred [flesh and blood] speakers”) are a disadvantaged class whose contributions to the political campaigns of parties and individuals constitutes a form of free speech that ought to be protected — and kept secret if they so choose. I have posted this before, but it bears repeating…

    The Supreme Court recently decided that corporations as artificial persons constitute a disadvantaged class and that their financial contributions to political campaigns and causes constitute a form of speech protected by the principle of freedom of speech and thus should face few restrictions:

    2. Austin is overruled, and thus provides no basis for allowing the Government to limit corporate independent expenditures. Hence, §441b’s restrictions on such expenditures are invalid and cannot be applied to Hillary. Given this conclusion, the part of McConnell that upheld BCRA §203’s extension of §441b’s restrictions on independent corporate expenditures is also overruled. Pp. 20–51.

    (a) Although the First Amendment provides that “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech,” §441b’s prohibition on corporate independent expenditures is an outright ban on speech, backed by criminal sanctions. It is a ban notwithstanding the fact that a PAC created by a corporation can still speak, for a PAC is a separate association from the corporation. Because speech is an essential mechanism of democracy-it is the means to hold officials accountable to the people—political speech must prevail against laws that would suppress it by design or inadvertence…. The Government may also commit a constitutional wrong when by law it identifies certain preferred speakers. There is no basis for the proposition that, in the political speech context, the Government may impose restrictions on certain disfavored speakers. Both history and logic lead to this conclusion. Pp. 20–25.

    Supreme Court of the United States: Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, No. 08–205. Argued March 24, 2009-Reargued September 9, 2009–Decided January 21, 2010

    My God! What has happened to the Republican Party? What happened to our country? And what will happen to the world as a result of this?

  6. #2 Andrew Davies — It is worth it. I did it. I think it has a chance — and it is probably the biggest step in the right direction we could take.

  7. Mike Roddy says:

    Thanks to Waxman for calling out the Kochs, something few Democrats have done. The oil and coal companies are from the dark side, and they threaten life itself.

    I like Ian Murphy’s description of Republican politicians: Koch Whores.

  8. Bob Lang says:

    Election Campaign Finance Laws outside the USA:

    1. Corporations, trade unions, and other unincorporated associations are prohibited from making contributions to registered parties, registered electoral district associations, leadership and nomination contestants of registered parties, and all candidates.

    2. Only citizens and permanent residents may make contributions to registered parties, registered electoral district associations, leadership and nomination contestants of registered parties, and all candidates.

    3. Individual contributions to these political participants are limited to a maximum of $1,000 annually (adjusted for inflation).

    These are the rules in Canada enforced by Elections Canada.

  9. Bill W says:

    Bob at #8, if those are the rules in Canada (and I’m not questioning that), then why does it seem like the Canadian government is just as much in thrall to Big Oil as the US government? Those rules are apparently necessary but insufficient.

  10. Bob Lang says:

    Bill #9. Good point.

    Like you said, these rules alone will not prevent inaction on climate change. Even an educated public will vote for whatever party it considers best for the economy (jobs).

    In a country like Germany people realize that jobs and a strong renewable-energy industry go hand in hand. In Canada the resource sector like oil and gas still accounts for a lot of jobs.

  11. J Bowers says:

    Henry Waxman will go down in history as a good man who at least tried to do the right thing and didn’t tug his forelock to pollutocrats. The Inhofes and Issas of Capitol Hill will be viewed as a stain on American history if they continue to behave in the manner that they currently are.

  12. Roger says:

    Thank you, Henry Waxman. You’ve been added to my ‘climate hero’ list.

  13. Chris Winter says:

    “Koch Industries thinking” should be classified as an oxymoron.