Is Mitch McConnell Working for Kentucky or Chemical Companies?

Washington, D.C.—As Sen. Mitch McConnell is being pressured by Kentucky public health professionals and environmentalists to back legislation to protect Americans from chemical pollutants, a top aide to the state’s senior Senator is joining the lobbying shop of a chemical company, another example of McConnell’s close ties to Washington special interests.

Politico reported last Thursday that McConnell general counsel and policy adviser Brandi White is joining the government affairs office of Eastman Chemical Company, one of the leading manufacturers of chemicals, fibers, and plastics in the United States.

The news comes as environmental advocates and health professionals in Kentucky continue to press McConnell to support the Safe Chemicals Act.

“Will McConnell work for the health and safety of all Kentuckians, or will he do the bidding of his chemical industry donors and their lobbyists?” asked David Donnelly, executive director of Public Campaign Action Fund. “If past history is a guide, we unfortunately know the answer.”

Over his career, McConnell has received $314,000 from donors in the chemical industry, including $8,500 from Eastman Chemical donors. He has also received an additional $68,200 from employees and PACs representing lobbying firms that have worked for Eastman Chemical, according to a Public Campaign Action Fund analysis of data provided by the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP), which was found at http://www.opensecrets.org. Eastman has spent $840,000 on lobbying so far in 2012 on tax, trade, climate change, and environmental safety issues, according to CRP and reports filed with the Senate Clerk’s office.

“Perhaps the way for Kentuckians worried about public health and toxics to get a fair hearing with Senator McConnell is to set up a political action committee and raise money,” said Donnelly.