July 2, 2012

Freshman Rep. Mulvaney (R-SC) Won His Seat With Koch Industries Support, Now Offers Earmarks To His Benefactor

Freshman Congressman Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) received a great deal of help in his first election two years ago. Though he took on one of the most senior Democrats in office at the time, Budget Committee chair John Spratt (D-SC), Mulvaney had help from thousands of dollars from the Koch Industries political action committee, and hundreds of thousands in secret Koch money run through the 60 Plus Association and American Future Fund, two undisclosed attack ad groups.

Now, it appears, Mulvaney is returning the favor.

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.

The Ways and Means Committee notes that Mulvaney’s HR 5196, which suspends “temporarily the duty on Microcrystalline anatase-type titanium dioxide,” and HR 5197, a bill to “extend the temporary suspension of duty on polytetramethylene ether glycol,” would only affect one chemical manufacturer in the country, Invista, a subsidiary of 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.” A special duty exemption must benefit at least 10 firms to qualify for an exemption to the earmark ban. Mulvaney’s bills, however, benefit only one firm.

Invista, a chemical and textile manufacturing company acquired by Koch Industries in 2003, has a plant in South Carolina that produces nylon fiber for the commercial flooring business.

Mulvaney continues to campaign as a small government conservative. In comments to the lobbyist-led group FreedomWorks, posted online on April 23, Mulvaney mocked earmarks for “banjo museums” and the “Bridge to Nowhere” (see video above). Curiously, his Koch Industries tariff-earmarks were submitted to the House Clerk only one week later, on May 1st of this year.

Roger Ramseyer, a public affairs executive with Koch Industries, spoke to Republic Report about the bills and stressed the importance of tariff-reductions in helping his company, which employs people in Mulvaney’s state, succeed. “Invista supplied information for a miscellanous tariff bill because the product we utilize domestically has no domestic alernative supply source,” he said. “If approved, waiving the existing tariff will help companies like like Invista be more competitive in the US.” Ramseyer noted that his company imports the chemicals highlighted in Mulvaney’s legislation from Germany and Japan.

Lee Fang assisted with this post.

RELATED: VIDEO — Congressman Tom Reed Gives Earmark-Tariffs To His Top Contributors, Defends Practice