Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar happily takes Koch money. It's time for him to stop.
We've known for a long time that the Koch Brothers – the billionaire donors who run an international oil, chemical and manufacturing conglomerate – bankroll Republican campaigns and fund shady Super PACs to further corporatist conservative interests.
So it's troubling to learn that long-time Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar eagerly accepts thousands in campaign contributions from the same mega-donors who spend hundreds of millions funding climate deniers, Tea Party extremists, right-wing judges and a whole host of dangerous anti-worker and anti-environment policies.1
No Democrat should ever accept donations from the largest funders of fossil fuel interests and right-wing hate. We must speak out now to hold Rep. Cuellar accountable.
Tell Rep. Cuellar: Stop accepting Koch money and return donations immediately.
Known as "Big Oil's favorite Democrat," Rep. Cuellar has accepted hundreds of thousands from the oil and gas industry, and in 2018 alone, he received more than $140,000 from fossil fuel PACs.2,3 In addition to consistent donations from the Kochs, Cuellar was the second-largest recipient of campaign cash in the House of Representatives from the GEO Group, a private prison company getting rich off jailing immigrants and separating families.4
While Rep. Cuellar promises that political donations from conservative interests don't affect his actions as a member of Congress, his voting record tells another story. In the last Congress, Cueller voted with Donald Trump nearly 70% of the time.5 He's received an "A" rating from the NRA and voted to fund Trump's border wall while publicly opposing it.6,7
Unsurprisingly, Cuellar is an outspoken supporter of the fossil fuel industry and backs increased drilling, fracking and oil exports and does little to address climate change in Congress. As Waleed Shahid, from CREDO-ally Justice Democrats, put it, Cuellar "does not have a plan to tackle climate change. He has a plan to continue receiving money from his wealthy donors...You can’t take money from [the fossil fuel industry] and then try to hold them accountable. It just doesn’t work."8
If Rep. Cuellar refuses to hold the fossil fuel industry to account, we must hold him accountable for taking Koch money and voting for their anti-climate, oil and gas interests in Congress. Will you join us to demand that Rep. Cuellar stop accepting Koch donations and return the tens of thousands he's already received?
Thank you for speaking out.
- Alex Kotch, "Conservative Democrat Continues to Take Koch Cash," Sludge, May 20, 2019.
- Josh Magness, "Big Oil’s favorite Democrat? Texas lawmaker’s votes reflect industry interests," McClatchy, May 15, 2017.
- Open Secrets, Donations to Rep. Henry Cuellar from Political Action Committees 2017-2018, accessed June 14, 2019.
- Open Secrets, Recipients of donations from GEO Group: 2018 Cycle, accessed June 14, 2019.
- FiveThirtyEight, Tracking Congress In The Age Of Trump: Henry Cuellar, accessed June 14, 2019.
- Sonia Smith, "The NRA Spends a Lot of Money on the Texas Congressional Delegation," Texas Monthly, Feb. 22, 2018.
- Kate Aronoff, "Henry Cuellar’s Policy Preferences Could Destroy the World. But Then Again, He’s a Really Nice Guy." The Intercept, Jan. 19 2019.