Senate Dems Demand to Know EPA Nominee's Ties to Koch Brothers
Senate Democrats are demanding to know what's behind Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) head nominee Scott Pruitt's ties to the reclusive conservative billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch.
The lawmakers, led by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, wrote a letter (pdf) to Pruitt on Tuesday demanding that he provide "a full disclosure" of his relationship with the Rule of Law Defense Fund (RLDF), a right-leaning public policy organization that receives funding from Freedom Partners—a group that funds initiatives supported by the Kochs, who have deep investments in fossil fuels.
Pruitt's association with the RLDF is one of several "troubling" ties to the energy industry, the letter states. The fund, which provides a forum for Republican attorneys general to engage on state-level policy, has been known to oppose EPA regulations.
"Before the Senate votes to confirm you to run EPA, it is important that you provide a full disclosure of your relationship with the energy industry so we can determine how that will influence your ability to run the agency," the letter states.
Pruitt currently serves as state attorney general in Oklahoma, which has been the site of increased earthquakes linked to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. His credentials have previously been called into question by environmental groups, who have called him a "puppet" of the fossil fuel industry and said naming him to head the EPA was like "putting an arsonist in charge of fighting fires." Read full story here