The Growing Influence of the Koch Brothers

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Koch Industries is the country’s second-largest privately run company, but billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch once chose to stay on the sidelines of Washington politics, preferring to fund think tanks than to think up electoral strategy. That has all changed over the last few years, and now they’re using their deep pockets to make sure they have a seat at the table, particularly in the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Koch Industries and its employees are the largest single oil and gas donor to members of the committee. Americans for Prosperity, a Koch-founded advocacy group, was instrumental in helping several Republicans get elected, and now most of the new GOP lawmakers on the panel have vowed to oppose President Obama’s efforts to regulate greenhouse gases. Even the panel’s new chairman, Rep. Fred Upton, who had long been criticized by conservatives for his middle-ground approach to environmental issues, is now forcefully pushing to limit the powers of the Environmental Protection Agency.-slate

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