By Erin Auel and Jenny Rowland
As of January 12th, 342 people have joined Trump’s transition team to fill 390 positions. Of those 342 people, 107 are associated with the conservative billionaire Koch brothers. This means almost a third of Trump’s team is part of the Koch’s elitist establishment that Trump promised to distance himself from when he was campaigning.
As the President-elect forms his administration, he’s already failing to follow through on the promises he made to his supporters. Trump vowed to “drain the swamp” and purge the influence that lobbyists and industry have on Washington politics. But as the weeks go on, it seems that he’s filling the swamp instead of draining it. This is particularly true when it comes to the financial and political influence of billionaire Koch brother’s network. Trump worked during his campaign to distance himself from the Koch brothers, calling those affiliated with the conservative billionaires “puppets of politics.”
The Kochs have long been influencing Washington by inserting their pro-fossil fuel, anti-regulation agenda into right wing politics, including the extremely conservative Tea Party movement. And despite refusing to support Trump’s campaign, their interests are well represented in the transition team. For example, Thomas Pyle, Trump’s pick to head the Energy Department transition, is a former lobbyist for Koch Industries. This is concerning given that the Koch brothers have a long history of lobbying against environmental protections and funding anti-environmental organizations. In fact, the climate change denial movement took root with overwhelming financial support from the Kochs. You can view the complete methodology here.