Washington, DC – Last night, after promising an open amendment process on the Keystone XL pipeline bill, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell shut down debate and moved to table a number of Democratic amendments. Among the tabled amendments was a provision by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) that would have required companies or individuals who hold leases or stand to make more than $1 million from tar sands development — such as the Koch Brothers — to disclose their political spending.
After debate was squelched and the amendments were tabled, several Republican Senators left town for a Koch Brothers event in California.
“You just can’t make this stuff up,” Whitehouse said. “The Koch Brothers have been spending millions of undisclosed dollars through their network of shadow groups to benefit Republicans and attack Democrats. My amendment would have required them and others who stand to benefit from the Keystone XL pipeline and tar sands development to disclose their spending. It would have laid bare who the special interests driving this debate are. But not only did Senate Republicans say no to transparency, they did so as they were on their way out the door to meet those very special interests in Palm Springs. Even if this is all a coincidence, it certainly is not the open process Majority Leader McConnell promised.”
Koch Industries is one of the largest leaseholders in the Canadian tar sands, with 1.12 million to 1.47 million acres.