In Congressional Hearing, Rep. Whitfield (R-KY) Defends Koch Industries, Changes Subject to Solyndra
During a House Energy and Commerce Committee meeting this morning, Rep. Henry Waxman made the case for inviting representatives of Koch Industries to testify on the company’s connection to the Keystone XL pipeline. At least, he was in the process of doing so when he was rudely interrupted by the committee’s chairman, Rep. Ed Whitfield. Slamming down his gavel, Whitfield informed Waxman that the committee would not, in fact, be inviting anyone associated with Koch Industries to testify.
That’s when things got interesting. Mr. Waxman attempted to raise a point of order, inquiring as to why he was cut off mid-sentence and why Mr. Whitfield was taking unlimited time for himself. Rep. Whitfield responded by changing the subject to Solyndra, attacking the Obama Administration, announcing “I am the Chairman” and ending the hearing early.
Mediaite, which provided the clip below, referred to the episode as a Congressional throwdown.
Transcript below, starting at the 0:35 mark.
Rep. Waxman (D-CA): This committee has an obligation to understand who benefits from this legislation. Last year news organizations reported that one company – Koch Industries – would be one of the big winners if this pipeline were constructed. We asked Koch whether this was true and were told they have no interest whatsoever in the pipeline. But then we learned that they told the Canadian government they have a direct and substantial interest. Something does not add up.
To understand this situation better Mr. Rush and I suggested that we invite the Koch Brothers to come here and testify. The Chairman hasn’t even responded to our letter. We therefore, Mr. Chairman, are invoking the minority’s rights under Rule 11 of the House rules to have a minority day of hearing. It’s important we hear from Koch and other stakeholders. I think this pipeline is a bad idea. It ignores the concerns…
Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-CA) Gentleman’s time has expired. I would also tell the gentleman we will certainly accept the letter and we will follow the rules but we are not going to be subpoenaing the Koch Brothers and we’re not going to ask them to appear because the Koch Brothers have nothing to do with this project.
Rep. Waxman: Point of order, Mr. Chairman. You’ve made a statement where you were not recognized for the time. You cut me off in the middle of a sentence.
Rep. Whitfield: Your time was up, Mr. Waxman. Now we’re going to recess this hearing for ten minutes and then we’re going to come back.
Rep. Waxman: Are you calling the Koch Brothers during the recess?
Rep. Whitfield: Let me tell you something. If you want to talk about that, let’s talk about the millions of dollars the Obama Administration gave companies like Solyndra, to people like Geroge [inaudible] whose out there bundling money for the President. Would you like for us to subpoena him too.
Rep. Waxman: Why are you interrupting members and then you take unlimited time for yourself?
Rep. Whitfield: I’m responding to your questions, your allegations. I’m the Chairman, and I’m telling you right now we’re going to recess for ten minutes.
Update: On Fox News on Wednesday, Charles Krauthammer called Waxman’s request a “stupid, intellectually desperate argument.”