A spokesman for Koch Industries applauded U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo’s selection to serve as CIA director Friday.
“Congressman Pompeo has served Wichita and Kansas well for a number of years on Capitol Hill,” Philip Ellender, president of government and public affairs for Koch Companies Public Sector, said in a statement. “We wish him nothing but the best in his new role serving the country.”
The Wichita-based company has been the Republican congressman’s biggest political contributor since he first ran for the U.S. House in 2010. Members of the Koch family, their employees and affiliated groups have donated a combined $357,300 to Pompeo’s campaigns and political action committee, according to The Center for Responsive Politics.
The donations from Koch Industries and affiliated groups dwarf the contributions from Pompeo’s second largest contributor, Textron Inc., which gave $72,310 during the same time period.
Pompeo’s selection was criticized by American Bridge 21st Century, a progressive super PAC that supports Democratic candidates. The group called Pompeo a “Koch puppet” in an e-mailed statement.
“Now that he’s on track to lead the CIA, we’re sure the Kochs are already whispering in his ear, making sure the top spy agency in the world has their interests in mind,” the group said.
Pompeo has defended Koch Industries, one of Wichita’s biggest employers, against criticism from Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, and other Democrats in recent years. He and his representatives have also repeatedly downplayed the significance of the campaign contributions.
“Of course Mike has support from many Koch Industries employees, just like he has support from Kansans all across the 4th District from every walk of life,” his campaign manager told The Eagle in 2014.