With South Carolina ranking as one of the worst states in the country for public corruption, from time to time we like to examine the influence special interests have on Palmetto State politicians — and the legislative benefits they get in return. Some of the biggest special interests around are the notorious Koch brothers, two midwestern industrialists who pour their prodigious wealth into Republican causes which conveniently line up with their own business interests.
According to campaign finance data collected by Palmetto Public Record, the Koch brothers’ political action committee has given a total of $85,000 to South Carolina’s congressional delegation over the last eight election cycles. Over a third of that went to the Palmetto State’s two current senators, Lindsey Graham and Jim DeMint, and all of it went to Republicans.
While SC-5 Rep. Mick Mulvaney is relatively new to the congressional scene, a new report indicates Mulvaney is a champion for the Koch agenda since his election in 2010. In fact, the report suggests Mulvaney’s willingness to do the Koch brothers’ bidding is so flagrant that he may have broken congressional rules.
Campaign finance data from the Center for Responsive Politics show Mulvaney has received $7,000 directly from the Koch brothers, plus much more funneled into the freshman Republican’s 2010 campaign through secretive, outsider groups. According to Republic Report’s Nick Lyell, the Koch brothers’ investment in Mulvaney is paying big dividends in Congress:
In May, the congressman introduced two bills to suspend certain tariffs on chemicals. According to disclosures, both of Mulvaney’s tariff-exemptions only benefit one company: Koch Industries. As the Wall Street Journal and Politico have reported, targeted tariff-reduction bills are nothing more than earmarks, the legislative giveaways banned by Congress.
The House Republican caucus rules make clear that Mulvaney’s legislative gifts to Koch Industries are in violation of the earmark rule. The rules state that “it is the policy of the House Republican Conference that no member shall request a congressional earmark, limited tax benefit or limited tariff benefit, as such terms have been described in the rules of the House.”
While Koch Industries does indeed have a few assets in the Palmetto State, Mulvaney’s legislation wasn’t aimed at benefitting all, most, or even a few South Carolina businesses. Despite all his “small government” attacks against earmarks Mulvaney’s bill was only written to help one company — Koch Industries.
And that’s how you buy a congressman.