Just when you thought Scooter Libby’s former defender Barbara Comstock couldn’t get any shadier, a troubling article in The Nation magazine outlines how Comstock’s campaign (and the campaigns of other Republicans around the country) is being boosted by Saudi Arabian oil money passed through a 501(c)4 nonprofit called the “American Action Network.” That’s right: as if it’s not bad enough that Comstock previously worked as a lobbyist for the fossil-fuel-baron, climate-science-denying, right-wing-extremist Koch brothers, it turns out her campaign is being boosted by a secretive nonprofit that does not disclose its donors, but is headed by a lobbyist retained by petro-state Saudi Arabia. Sensing a pattern here?
It turns out that the “American Action Network” is headed by former US Senator Norm Coleman, a Republican who is also registered as a lobbyist for Hogan Lovells, a firm retained by the Saudis on “policy issues involving Iran” and “Middle East peace issues regarding Syria, Iran, etc.” According to a recent Politico article, the “American Action Network” and the “Congressional Leadership Fund” — an allied group tied to House Speaker John Boehner — intend to spend $1 million against 10th CD Democratic candidate John Foust. Of course, it’s nothing new for outside groups to intervene in a Congressional campaign, but it seems like 10th CD voters might be interested in the amount of money pouring in from a group with close ties to Saudi oil money on behalf of Barbara Comstock.
Of course, given that Comstock previously served as a lobbyist for big oil, it’s no surprise that those who once paid her to lobby against environmental regulations are now backing her Congressional campaign. Even if not surprising, however, it should be disturbing for 10th District voters who care about things like protecting the environment, not selling our government to Big Oil, and basic ethics.
Finally, 10th CD voters might ask themselves who Barbara Comstock really intends to represent if she’s (god forbid) elected to Congress in November: a) the people of her district; or b) Big Oil, Saudi Lobbyists, and her fat cat backers trying to buy the election? Clearly, that’s a rhetorical question, as the answer is obvious (hint, it’s not option “a”).