Dem senators demand Trump explain ties to Koch brothers

Dem senators demand Trump explain ties to Koch brothers
© Getty Images

Senate Democrats are demanding that the Trump administration explain its ties to GOP mega-donor brothers Charles and David Koch after the brothers' network took credit for some policies passed during President TrumpDonald John TrumpConservatives express concern over House GOP immigration bill Poll: McSally holds 14-point lead in Arizona GOP Senate primary Trump defends Nielsen amid criticism over family separations MORE’s first year in office, McClatchy reported.

The letters come after a report was sent to a group of Koch donors called the Seminar Network that took responsibility for roughly a dozen new policies passed by the Trump administration, including the new GOP tax law and the repeal of the Obama-era Clean Power Plan.

“Americans have a right to know if special interests are unduly influencing public policy decisions that have profound implications for public health, the environment, and the economy,” the senators write in their letters obtained by McClatchy.

ADVERTISEMENT

Democratic Sens. Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseLive coverage: FBI chief, Justice IG testify on critical report GAO to look into Trump's reduction of carbon social costs Overnight Energy: Pruitt used security detail to run errands | Dems want probe into Pruitt's Chick-fil-A dealings | Yellowstone superintendent says he was forced out MORE (R.I.), Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyLawmakers prep for coming wave of self-driving cars Trump taps Hill veteran for White House environment job Dems unveil push to secure state voting systems MORE (Mass.), Catherine Cortez MastoCatherine Marie Cortez MastoHarry Reid undergoes surgery for pancreatic cancer Overnight Energy: House votes to advance Yucca Mountain nuke waste plan | EPA won't reverse danger findings for paint stripping chemical | County sues oil companies over climate How endangered GOP Sen. Dean Heller is seeking to hang on MORE (Nev.), Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenHillicon Valley: Verizon, AT&T call off data partnerships after pressure | Tech speaks out against Trump family separation policy | T-Mobile, Sprint make case for B merger AT&T, Verizon say they'll stop sharing location data with third-party brokers The Memo: Child separation crisis risks ‘Katrina moment’ for Trump MORE (Ore.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenWarren on family separation policy: Trump is ‘taking America to a dark and ugly place’ Overnight Defense: States pull National Guard troops over family separation policy | Senators question pick for Afghan commander | US leaves UN Human Rights Council On The Money — Sponsored by Prudential — Markets roiled by Trump's new tariff threat | Trump lashes out at Canada over trade | Warren looks to block Trump pick for consumer agency MORE (Mass.) and Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallOvernight Energy: Spending bill targets Pruitt | Ryan not paying 'close attention' to Pruitt controversies | Yellowstone park chief learned of dismissal through press release Senate committee targets Pruitt scandals in spending bill Overnight Energy: DNC to reject fossil fuel donations | Regulators see no security risk in coal plant closures | Senate committee rejects Trump EPA, Interior budgets MORE (N.M.) all signed the letters.

The letters were sent to administration officials including President Trump, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOvernight Energy: Senate panel sets Pruitt hearing | Colorado joins California with tougher emissions rules | Court sides with Trump on coal leasing program Pruitt to testify before Senate panel in August Lots of conservatives hate Trump’s coal and nuclear bailout — that’s a big political problem MORE and Interior Secretary Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeOvernight Energy: Senate panel sets Pruitt hearing | Colorado joins California with tougher emissions rules | Court sides with Trump on coal leasing program Interior 'disappointed' by billboards protesting uranium drilling in Grand Canyon Court rejects greens’ climate case against federal coal mining MORE.

A spokesman for the Koch network told McClatchy that the network is transparent about the efforts it backs and that they’ll “work with anyone to make progress on these issues.”

“This is emblematic of whats wrong with Washington. People playing political games rather than coming together and solving issues,” the spokesperson said.

The White House did not respond to McClatchy’s request for comment.

The Kochs did not back Trump during the 2016 presidential race but have supported top Trump administration officials, including Vice President Pence and Pruitt.

White House counselor Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne Elizabeth ConwayThe Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by PhRMA — Outcry raises pressure on GOP for immigration fix White House faces growing outcry over migrant family policies First lady spokeswoman: Melania Trump 'hates to see' families separated at border MORE, White House counsel Don McGahn and legislative affairs director Marc Short all previously worked for the Koch network.