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Koch Industries’ campaign donations questioned after decision to remain in Russia


Charles Koch talks passionately in this file photograph from February 26, 2007, about Market Based Management.

Bo Rader | Tribune News Service | Getty Images

More than two dozen U.S. lawmakers received roughly $120,000 in campaign contributions from Koch Industries in the weeks leading up to Vladimir Putin’s attack on Ukraine — money some ethics lawyers say should be returned given the company’s decision to maintain operations in Russia.

U.S. legislators are under scrutiny for accepting campaign contributions from Koch Industries. The conglomerate owned by Charles Koch is a billionaire and has been running the company while U.S.-based companies fled the country in an effort to avoid U.S. sanctions.

It company said last weekKoch Industries Chief Operating Officer Dave Robertson stated that the glass maker Guardian Industries, which operates two plants in Russia, will continue to operate despite war with Ukraine. President Joe Biden’sRussia’s administration has taken out sanctions against Russia and allies in the West, which includes targeting Russia’s central bank.

CNBC heard from ethics lawyers who said that such donations may influence the decisions of congressional leaders about how they will aid Ukraine in its fight against Russian aggressors.

Walter Shaub told CNBC that having lawmakers dependent upon Putin-enablers to make decisions on how to deal with this crisis is dangerous and dangerous for America. Shaub was the former head of Office of Government Ethics in multiple administrations.

If you have received money from Koch Industries from lawmakers, then simply “return the donation” and discontinue taking money form Koch. Richard Painter was the White House’s chief ethics lawyer during President George W. Bush’s tenure.

Rep. Kurt Schrader of Oregon, a lawmaker who is not able to accept donations from Koch industries, will give what it recently received to an organization that provides aid for Ukraine. Deb Barnes, spokeswoman, said this after CNBC had emailed her to inquire about the donations.

According to Center for Responsive Politics, Schrader received $4,500 in political action funds from Koch Industries during the 2022 election cycle.

Barnes stated in a statement that Schmidt believes donations will be refused if the company continues to conduct business in Russia during wartime.

CNBC has only contacted the Oregon Congressman who said that he would not accept additional Koch money. CNBC reached out to other representatives for the lawmakers named in this story that received big cash from Koch Industries. Koch Industries declined to comment on the request.

According to the latest Federal Election Commission filing, just $120,000 was contributed by Koch Industries PAC to more than two dozen federal legislators in February. The majority of these donations went to campaigns and political action committees for Republicans on Capitol Hill.

Charles Koch CEO was one of the largest donors to Koch’s company’s corporatePAC last month.

Ronny and Liz Jackson, both Republican Senators from Wyoming, were joined by GOP Sens. Chuck Grassley R-Iowa and Rand Paul R-Ky. They each received $5,000 in Koch donations.

While most of the donations to Koch Industries PAC have been directed toward Republican causes during the 2022 cycle, some other House Democrats have received money from this Koch-backed committee.

All three representatives, Henry Cuellar, D.Texas and Sanford Bishop D.Ga., Jim Costa D.Calif., Terri Sewel D.Ala. have received contributions from Koch Industries PAC during the 2022 election cycle.