Politics

Merkley Cites Pompeo’s ‘Very Close Association With the Koch Brothers’ As Reason to Oppose Him

Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley (Ore.) gave a lengthy speech Wednesday stating his opposition to secretary of state nominee Mike Pompeo because of Pompeo's alleged "conflicts of interest" with Charles and David Koch.

Merkley gave three major reasons to oppose Pompeo's nomination. First, Merkley said he takes issue with Pompeo's "choice of military action over diplomacy." He also said he is concerned about Pompeo's belief that the president can exercise military power without consulting Congress.

The Oregon senator got to his last concern at the end of his speech.

"My third concern goes to the conflict of interest that he brought into consideration for this position," Merkley said. "Specifically, the conflict of interest that he carries into his career through his very, very close association with the Koch brothers."

"He has been given the nickname ‘the congressman from Koch,'" Merkley continued. "The headquarters of Koch Industries is located in his district. The Koch brothers gave him the money to start his business."

Merkley said the Koch brothers were the biggest donors to Pompeo's congressional campaigns and claimed his tenure in the House consisted of him "advocating for whatever they wanted him to advocate for."

One major consequence of this, Merkley argued, is the Koch brothers advocating against working with other countries to take on "climate chaos."

"Now, mother nature has a big rude awakening last year with three powerful hurricanes tearing apart parts of the country," Merkley said.

"Because of the carbon pollution that's warming the seas and changing the weather patterns, drying out our forests. And we suffered that. But we see so much more: We see the moose dying, we see the lobsters migrating, we see oysters unable to have babies," Merkley said.

He finished his speech by recapping his concerns, arguing the country needs "an individual whose career is not tied to a single industry, and whose outlook is to continue to protect that industry even in taking his job."

In November, Merkley said Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch was appointed to enable the rich to rip off "ordinary Americans." He said "we know who is behind this strategy. It is the Koch brothers through their organizations."