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The Congressman From Koch

US Politics & Gov't  (tags: abuse, americans, congress, corruption, cover-up, crime, dishonesty, economy, Govtfearmongering, lies, media, politics, Pompeo, propaganda, republicans )

- 3042 days ago -
Liberal groups say Pompeo is a particularly egregious example of the power brothers Charles and David Koch wield via their considerable personal wealth estimated at $44 billion.


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Kit B (276)
Monday March 21, 2011, 12:17 pm
GOP freshman Pompeo turned to Koch for money for business, then politics

When Mike Pompeo needed funding for a Wichita aerospace company, one of the places he and his partners went for help was Koch Industries, a hometown firm that is among the world’s largest privately held corporations.

Last year, Pompeo turned to Koch for help again — this time to support his successful campaign for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Pompeo received $80,000 in donations from Koch and its employees, making him the top recipient of Koch-related money in the 2010 elections.

The contributions have put the House freshman in the middle of a broad partisan battle over the role of corporate money in U.S. politics, which has gained urgency in the aftermath of last year’s Supreme Court ruling allowing unfettered spending on elections. President Obama and other Democrats have repeatedly criticized the decision as giving unfair advantage to business interests, a claim that Republicans dispute.
Often mentioned in the debate over corporate political influence is Koch Industries, a conglomerate with holdings in oil, paper and other interests owned by brothers Charles and David Koch, whose combined net worth is estimated at $44 billion. The longtime conservatives have told supporters that they plan to spend tens of millions of dollars on the 2012 elections, and they have come under attack from Democrats for supporting union-busting Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R).

Now liberal groups have begun turning their ire toward Pompeo, who hired a former Koch Industries lawyer as his chief of staff and proposed legislation in his first weeks in office that could benefit many of Koch’s business interests.

The measures include amendments approved in the House budget bill to eliminate funding for two major Obama administration programs: a database cataloguing consumer complaints about unsafe products and an Environmental Protection Agency registry of greenhouse-gas polluters. Both have been listed as top legislative priorities for Koch Industries, which has spent more than $37 million on Washington lobbying since 2008, according to disclosure records.

“It’s the same old story — a member of Congress carrying water for his biggest campaign contributor,” said Mary Boyle of Common Cause, a liberal-leaning group that has spearheaded protests against the Kochs. “I don’t know how you make the argument to your constituents that it’s in their interests to defund the EPA or a consumer database.”

But Pompeo said in an interview this month that his legislative proposals have no connection to Koch or its owners. Instead, he said, his actions in the House reflect a long-held belief in limited government widely shared by his constituents in Kansas’s 4th District.

“I have run two small busi­nesses in Kansas, and I have seen how government can crush entrepreneurism,” said Pompeo. “That’s why I ran for Congress. It just so happens that there are a lot of people in south central Kansas who agree with me on that.”

Burdett Loomis, a University of Kansas political science professor, said that “almost any Republican legislator from Wichita is going to be very, very solicitous of the Kochs. They’re major constituents, major employers and major money.”

But, he said, Pompeo’s ties seem to stand out: “I’m sure he would vigorously dispute this, but it’s hard not to characterize him as the congressman from Koch.”

Pompeo, 47, is a California native who attended the U.S. Military Academy — where he finished first in his class — and Harvard Law School before working at the Washington law firm Williams & Connolly. In the late 1990s, Pompeo joined three buddies from his West Point days to form Thayer Aerospace in Wichita, a specialized machining company that sought financing for an expansion.

The investors included Koch Venture Capital, an arm of the oil-and-gas conglomerate; Pompeo and his aides said Koch’s investment amounted to less than 2 percent of the total. The private transaction’s details are not publicly available.

Pompeo went on to head a Wichita oil-rig firm, Sentry International, before his run for Congress. The Center for Responsive Politics estimates Pompeo’s wealth at $521,000, slightly below average for the relatively wealthy freshman class in the House.

In addition to contributions from Koch’s political-action committee and employees, Pompeo was supported in the general election, according to press reports, by Americans for Prosperity, a tea-party-affiliated Washington group whose foundation is chaired by David Koch. Pompeo won handily, beating Democrat Raj Goyle with 59 percent of the vote.

Koch Industries spokeswoman Melissa Cohlmia said in a statement that the company supported Pompeo “because we believe he will be a champion for fiscal responsibility, limited government and free markets, all of which are critical to the success and survival of our nation.”

Mark Chenoweth, the lawmaker’s chief of staff, previously worked in Koch Industries’ general counsel’s office, where he focused on “government affairs compliance,” according to Pompeo aides; he was not a registered lobbyist. Chenoweth also worked as counsel to Consumer Product Safety Commissioner Anne M. Northup, a former GOP congresswoman who opposes the product-safety database targeted by Pompeo’s recent legislation.

The database, which went live March 11, is slated to make public thousands of complaints about safety problems with products ranging from table lamps to baby strollers. Koch paid an outside lobbying firm $220,000 to lobby against the database along with other legislation in 2008, records show.

Rachel Weintraub, senior counsel at the Consumer Federation of America, said Koch and other opponents are “fighting to preserve the status quo, because the status quo has been very successful for manufacturers and others in keeping safety information out of the public eye.”

But Pompeo said he agrees with industry groups that the idea is ripe for abuse, including the danger that false allegations will spread about good products. He also said his amendment forbidding the EPA from implementing a pollution registry would help save jobs and rein in a bureaucracy that has exceeded its mandate under the Clean Air Act.

The freshman lawmaker said his views on these and other issues spring from a long interest in libertarian and conservative thought, first formed at age 15 when he read Ayn Rand's novel“The Fountainhead.”

Before running for office, Pompeo served as an unpaid trustee at the Flint Hills Public Policy Institute — now the Kansas Policy Institute — which was formed by devotees of the libertarian Cato Institute, which has received millions of dollars from the Koch brothers over the years.

Pompeo said he has met Charles and David Koch but does not know them well and does not consult with them on legislation.

“It should surprise no one that I’m out arguing for small government, reduced spending and getting our financial house in order, along with reasonable regulations and no more,” he said. “What I’m trying to do is pretty straightforward.”

By Dan Eggen for The Washington Post

Toni C (508)
Tuesday March 22, 2011, 3:12 pm
Noted... please excuse the language but this man is nothing more than a brown nosing horse's ass!

Helen Avila (166)
Tuesday March 22, 2011, 3:34 pm
This man should be in jail. He is paying the Koch brothers back for all of their economic support.. he now employs the Koch brother's attorney as his aide. Aide to what? Apparently this man has sold his constituents out for the good life for himself.. Someday maybe these guys will end up in jail.. lets hope so.

Mike S (86)
Tuesday March 22, 2011, 5:17 pm
Well said Toni and Helen! Noted and thank you very much for the informative article Kit.

patricia lasek (317)
Wednesday March 23, 2011, 8:35 am
Set e straight here. I'm confused.

He owns an aerospace company and an oil rig company and says he is a small businessman? How is this small business?

Kit B (276)
Wednesday March 23, 2011, 8:41 am

Good question, the Federal government describes a small business as one with less then 500 employees. Actually I think the number should be reduced. With 500 employees that can no longer be considered small. Small business, those independents in each town and city across America were once the most important businesses, now the giants have eaten them and the "mon and pop" business are a foot note in history.

patricia lasek (317)
Wednesday March 23, 2011, 10:18 am
I agree Kit. To most Americans, a small business has much fewer than 500 employees. That is their take on it.
So when RepublicanTs, in December were touting tax cuts for small businesses, they were thinking it was like the small company down the street with about 25 employees bringing jobs to their area. They didn't think it was multi-national corporations with 499 employees in China or wherever.

Kriti S (26)
Wednesday March 23, 2011, 10:28 am
Rep. Pompous talks about small government/ big government. His corrupt and sinister views mean that government should not control and put rules in place, Instead let BIG BUSINESS should be able to control everything so that there is no law and order and no justice, and they (GOP) and the scrupulous big business be able to manipulate and carry on the agenda as they choose. When they say "Stop Big Government", they mean no regulation and no laws and no rules to run the business. This way they can ignore environment and practically everything they want to choose.

Kriti S (26)
Wednesday March 23, 2011, 10:33 am
They call themselves so-called-Libertarians, which really means say "No" to Big Government and say "Yes" to BIG BUSINESS.

Ian Donelson (149)
Wednesday March 23, 2011, 11:37 am

Scarlett P (126)
Wednesday March 23, 2011, 12:43 pm
Alway Koch... But never anything on Obama and give away bail out to corporations...

Obama and GE: New Industrial Superstructure
January 24, 2011 By Steve Milloy

The choice of General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt to chair the new President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness must be one of President Obama’s most ironic appointments.

The purpose of the council is to advise the president on “finding new ways to promote growth by investing in American business to encourage hiring, to educate and train our workers to compete globally, and to attract the best jobs and businesses to the United States.”

Of Immelt, Obama said: “Jeff Immelt’s experience at GE and his understanding of the vital role the private sector plays in creating jobs and making America competitive makes him up to the challenge of leading this new council.”

The White House further burnished Immelt’s credentials by adding in its media release that “Mr. Immelt has been named one of the world’s best CEOs three times by Barron’s, and since he began serving as chief executive officer, GE has been named America’s most admired company in a poll conducted by Fortune magazine and one of the world’s most respected companies in polls by Barron’s and the Financial Times.”

This praise should make us wonder if there is another Jeff Immelt leading another General Electric in some parallel universe .

When the Immelt-we-know took the reins of the GE-we-know from the legendary Jack Welch in the days before the Sept. 11 attacks, GE’s stock price was in the $40 range. More than nine years later, GE’s stock price is struggling to get back to the $20 level. And during the March 2009 depths of the financial crisis, GE’s stock dipped to below $7.

GE was in such bad shape at that time that it required a $139 billion bailout from taxpayers in the form of Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. backing of GE Capital debt. GE then cut its dividend 68%, from 32 cents per share to 10 cents per share.

Its dividend has since recovered to 12 cents per share, and shareholders may get a couple of more pennies per share in 2011, but GE’s financial performance under Immelt is anything but a success story.

Adding to the irony is the president’s notion that Immelt knows about creating jobs and increasing competitiveness.

Immelt actually eliminated 18,000 GE jobs in 2009, despite receiving untold millions in government stimulus and subsidies — like $60 million to build a “technology center” (office building?) in Michigan and $55 million to build a hybrid locomotive battery plant in New York.

As to competitiveness, consider the rather tawdry August 2009 e-mail solicitation of GE employees by GE’s political action committee (GEPAC), which read in part:

“The intersection between GE’s interests and government action is clearer than ever. GEPAC is an important tool that enables GE employees to collectively help support candidates who share the values and goals of GE. … We have made great strides toward convincing key lawmakers that GE Capital should remain a part of (GE). … On climate change, we were able to work closely with key authors of the Waxman-Markey climate and energy bill. . .. (It) would benefit many GE businesses. … GE is working relentlessly to ensure funding for F136 Engine, which is a critically important program for GE Aviation.”

One hundred years ago, Thomas Edison innovated to earn profit for GE.

Now Jeff Immelt lobbies for profit because there is no market for failed businesses, higher energy prices and duplicative military hardware.

That GE is so dependent on government largesse should raise the specter of Immelt’s obvious conflict of interest. Will he advise the president on what’s good for America or what’s good for GE?

The Obama-Immelt partnership is best envisioned as two drowning men clinging to each other in order to stay afloat. The failed CEO needs the president’s central planning policies and favor to keep his job. The struggling politician needs the mega-company CEO to camouflage and smooth over his anti-business beliefs and tendencies.

This symbiotic relationship may work out for Obama and Immelt as individuals, but we ought not hold our collective breath waiting for two men without track records of nonpersonal success to create jobs, increase our competitiveness or to fix what’s ailing our troubled economy.


may Howie (246)
Wednesday March 23, 2011, 12:53 pm
This man is no more than a pratt,and i would love to call him more but i would probably get suspended

Kit B (276)
Wednesday March 23, 2011, 1:14 pm

Scarlett, You post enough articles that detract from the job of the president we can read them there if any one were interested. You also post many articles of absolute unabashed hate, and I don't go littering on your comments section. Yeah, we all get it you hate Obama and pray bad things will happen to him, you claim to be a religious person but put your hate first. And no one cares. gone with your nastiness.

Renee A (4)
Wednesday March 23, 2011, 1:24 pm

Scarlett P (126)
Wednesday March 23, 2011, 1:47 pm
Kit... don't assume you know anything about me... I do not hate anyone and as a Christian I do not pray anythng bad will happen to Obama.. Just the opposite... I pray as a country the American people will stand up in one voice and "vote" him out...

You just think everyone acts and speaks like you...With hate and name calling... Sorry... You are wrong... I pray the eyes of American's will be open to the games he is playing...

Pamela D (16)
Wednesday March 23, 2011, 2:03 pm
I find it interesting that republicans want to silence the voice of organized labor, but don't see anything wrong with the influence of large corporations on politicans.

When campaign reform is enacted, then and only then will organized labor be less needed.

Also to Scarlett P. - really?...I doubt anyone will read your lengthly, boring, overloaded post, they will just skim over it as I did...get a life!

Robert B (55)
Wednesday March 23, 2011, 2:17 pm
@Scarlett P. I know you are good person but you need to take the blinders Off. Obama did NOT get us into this mess. Reagan started our decline and the GOP has stuck to that route ever since.
Down with the Kochroaches, who try to buy elections.

Vote OBAMA 2012 !!!!!!!!!

Kit B (276)
Wednesday March 23, 2011, 3:16 pm

Politics and prayer - the most dangerous and detrimental of all combinations. From your many nonsensical posts, I know more then enough about you. And again - I do not litter on your propaganda, so if you come here with that nonsense expect to be harassed.
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