Mike Schaufler's new friends the Koch Brothers

It finally happened. Koch Industries has finally started putting money into races here in Oregon. Just yesterday, they contributed $3,000 to Mike Schaufler’s campaign.

If you’ve been under a rock for the past couple of years, you may not know that Koch Industries is a privately held company that contributes to extremely conservative politicians and has been a crucial financial backer for the Tea Party movement.

While the rest of the political community is stunned by this news, in many ways it makes a lot of sense. Schaufler has never been a friend to Oregon’s environment during his time the Legislature. Lifetime, he has a 57% rating on OLCV’s scorecard. For House District 48, a district that straddles the Clackamas/Multnomah County line, that lifetime score is incredibly low. Conservation values are broadly shared across this district, and Schaufler is far from the mainstream. He has routinely advocated and voted for legislation that would threaten Oregon’s air and water, create more sprawl, hurt our health and the health of our children, and irreparably damage Oregon’s natural legacy.

Frankly, the match between Koch Industries and Schaufler is a match made in heaven. In a report released by the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 2010, Koch Industries rated as the 10th worst polluter in the United States. They are also known as an organization that denies climate change is a problem. As an example, Rob Cornilles – a climate-denier who lost to Suzanne Bonamici in the January Special Election for Congressional District 1 – also took campaign contributions from Koch. By contributing to Schaufler, Koch Industries is joining a long list of climate deniers and polluters who support Mike Schaufler. Just a quick look at Orestar shows that Shaufler’s accepted contributions from Chevron, the Oregon Petroleum Association PAC, and the Natural Gas Political Action Committee.

Mike Schaufler’s terrible environmental record is something that’s been discussed time and again. So is the money Koch puts into denying climate change, choking our air, and funding radical conservative politics. What’s new is that they are now here in Oregon, supporting a “Democratic” legislator.

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