Nancy Pfotenhauer, McCain’s Dirty Energy Spokeswoman

On “Fox and Friends” yesterday, Nancy Mitchell Pfotenhauer — a top policy adviser for Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) — derided those who say that lifting the offshore drilling moratorium won’t affect gas prices, saying it “reveals ignorance on the futures markets.”

That position puts her at odds with the federal Energy Information Administration, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA), McCain economic adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin, and even McCain himself. Why would Pfotenhauer go so far off message?

Perhaps it’s because the only ones who would benefit from lifting the moratorium are energy companies like Koch Industries (pronounced “coke”), the largest private company in the United States, the secretive backer of the right-wing message machine, and Pfotenhauer’s longtime boss.

Koch Industries Is The Secret Dirty Energy King. With $90 billion in annual sales, Koch Industries is the largest privately owned company in the United States. Begun in 1940 as an oil refining business by Fred Koch, his company — now controlled by sons David and Charles Koch — has diversified into “refining and chemicals; process and pollution control equipment and technologies; minerals and fertilizer; fibers and polymers; commodity and financial trading and services; and forest and consumer products” — a global warming pollution factory. [Forbes, 2007]

Koch Industries Is At The Center Of The Right-Wing Message Machine. Koch’s founder, Fred Koch, also helped found the John Birch Society, an ultraconservative organization that believed the U.S. government was controlled by a traitorous cabal of Communist sympathizers. Koch Industries’ charitable arm, the Koch Family Foundations, has provided over $120 million in the past 20 years to the Cato Institute (founded by Charles Koch), Citizens for a Sound Economy (founded by David Koch, now Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks), the Heritage Foundation, George Mason University, the Federalist Society, the Mercatus Center, and dozens more right-wing, anti-regulatory, and global-warming denial organizations. [Media Transparency]

Nancy Pfotenhauer Is A Pure Right-Wing/Koch Industries Product. Pfotenhauer’s resumé includes George Mason University (funded by Koch), Citizens for a Sound Economy (founded by Koch), Americans for Prosperity (founded by Koch), and the Independent Women’s Forum (funded by Koch). She also worked directly for Koch Industries as their top Washington lobbyist. When not on the Koch payroll, Pfotenhauer worked for the Republican National Committee, Sen. William Armstrong (R-CO), and Dan Quayle’s Council on Competitiveness. [Media Transparency, Dunamis International Ministries]

After graduating with a master’s in economics from George Mason University (funded by Koch) in the late 1980s, Pfotenhauer became the “chief economist” at the Republican National Committee before the age of 24. She then worked for George H.W. Bush’s transition team and Sen. William Armstrong (R-CO), and was then appointed to be “chief economist of the President’s Council on Competitiveness,” Dan Quayle’s secretive anti-environmental project.


During the Clinton years, she rejoined the Koch Industries machine as “executive vice president for policy” of the Koch front group Citizens for a Sound Economy. With her then-husband Daniel Mitchell, a Heritage Foundation economist, she co-hosted the call-in show “Mitchells in the Morning” on National Empowerment Television, run by Heritage Foundation founder Paul Weyrich. From 1996 to 2001, she was the top lobbyist for Koch Industries.

While working for Koch, she divorced Mitchell and married Gordon Smith’s (R-OR)’s chief of staff Kurt Pfotenhauer, now a top mortgage-industry lobbyist. In 2001 she was named president of another Koch front group, the anti-feminist Independent Women’s Forum (IWF). In 2003 she also became president of Americans for Prosperity (originally CSE), until joining the McCain campaign in 2007.

On the IWF/AFP agenda:

* Privatizing social security* Global warming denial* Cutting corporate taxes* Opposing affirmative action* Opposing Title IX* Opposing domestic violence laws and equal pay* Opposing any government regulations of industry* Opposing global warming regulation