Koch industries has a long history as one of the most prolific corporate polluters in the country, but that hasn’t stopped Congressman Steve Knight (R-Palmdale) from accepting thousands of dollars from their political action committee. In the past six months alone, Knight has taken $10,000 from the Koch Industries PAC.
A recent study showed Koch Industries spewed roughly “31 million pounds of toxic air releases” into the atmosphere, earning it the dubious honor of being America’s 13th worst polluter. In fact, Koch Industries is a worse polluter than big oil companies like Chevron and Shell.
Knight, however, has struggled with fundraising for the last six months, trailing at least one Democratic opponent, Katie Hill, in each of the last two quarters. His sluggish fundraising helped him get labeled one of the country’s most vulnerable incumbents.
Knight’s first donation from the Koch PAC this election cycle came at a curious time — just a week before the House of Representatives was set to vote on the massively unpopular tax bill.
At that time, Knight and many other California Republicans received $2,500 apiece. As SoCal Daily previously reported:
The position of the Koch brothers was no secret. Americans for Tax Fairness reports, “The Kochs made securing big tax cuts for themselves and their corporation a key goal for their political network in 2017. The Koch groups spent over $20 million promoting the tax bill that ultimately became law.”
Knight voted exactly how his corporate donors wanted him to vote.
One study shows “Charles Koch and David Koch [the brothers who own Koch Industries] and/or Koch Industries could save between $1 billion and $1.4 billion combined in income taxes each year from the Trump tax law.” Quite a return on a $20 million investment.
In the months after the vote on the tax bill, Knight’s was rewarded with an additional $7,500 in campaign contributions from the Koch PAC.
But while both Knight and Koch Industries benefited, workers in California are not as lucky. Thanks to changes in the tax bill, homeowners in Knight’s Los Angeles-area district may see 30-year mortgages cost up to $76,000 more. Meanwhile, national surveys show most workers haven’t noticed any changes to their paychecks.
Knight championed the bill even though, according to Washington Post analysis, “blue states such as New York, California and New Jersey are among those with the fewest beneficiaries of the changes to the tax law’s income provisions.”
A financial windfall for one of the country’s worst polluters, and Knight was able to add to his struggling campaign coffers. The only people not benefitting are the people of California.