March 21, 2011- When we last checked in with Rep. Mike Pompeo (R) of Kansas, he was trying to kill a consumer-product-safety database, allowing Americans to go online and access free information about the safety records of household products. The measure was easily approved with bipartisan support, but the freshman Republican perceived it as anti-business.
After all, if consumers are made aware of potentially dangerous products, Americans might not buy them. How can the manufacturers of those products make a profit under conditions like that?
As it turned out, the Koch brothers were the ones who wanted the online consumer-product-safety database scuttled, and Pompeo was happy to do their bidding — he represents the district where Koch Industries is located, and the Koch brothers and their political action committee were his most generous campaign contributors.
The Washington Post had an interesting piece over the weekend, noting that Pompeo is now also trying to gut an EPA registry of greenhouse-gas polluters — another Koch Bros' goal — and has hired a former Koch Industries lawyer as his chief of staff.
"It's the same old story — a member of Congress carrying water for his biggest campaign contributor," said Mary Boyle of Common Cause, a liberal-leaning group that has spearheaded protests against the Kochs. "I don't know how you make the argument to your constituents that it's in their interests to defund the EPA or a consumer database."
Burdett Loomis, a University of Kansas political science professor, added, "I'm sure he would vigorously dispute this, but it's hard not to characterize him as the congressman from Koch."
That pretty much sums it up. We're talking about a dynamic in which a congressman appears to be an employee of the Koch brothers.
This just isn't healthy.