January 13, 2017

Senator “Shocked” at Outpouring of Support for Pruitt from Koch Front Groups

Washington, DC – Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) reacted today to a letter released by 24 groups supporting the nomination of Scott Pruitt to be Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

“I am ‘shocked, shocked’ that the vast network of Koch brothers front groups have put their logos on a letterhead for Scott Pruitt.  Actually, I’m only surprised it took so long.  Of course front groups who have vowed to prevent congressional action on climate change have weighed in to support a man poised to dismantle a broad range of federal public health protections,” said Whitehouse.  “It’s business as usual for these phony front groups.”

The letter bore a striking resemblance to a letter sent by an interrelated network of climate denial front groups to Senator Whitehouse and other senators who took to the Senate floor in July to expose the interrelated network of climate denial front groups.   The letters are available here and here.  Like the groups on that letter, funding for most of the groups signing onto the January 12th letter can be traced back to the Koch brothers or Koch-affiliated groups.

“Let’s not be fooled.  There’s no outpouring of support from real ‘families and communities’ for a man who has been shown to turn industry talking points into the official position of his state.  The Koch family, and the community of fossil-fuel polluters, are his constituency,” Whitehouse said. 

Academic research into the front groups has been done by researchers including Robert Brulle of Drexel University, Naomi Oreskes of Harvard University, Riley Dunlap of Oklahoma State University, Justin Farrell of Yale University, and Aaron McCright of Michigan State University.

Senator Whitehouse and other members of the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee have asked Pruitt to provide a full account of his political solicitations, which he has so far failed to do. 


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