House Speaker John Boehner is getting a lot of attention for picking only white men to serve as chairmen for 19 of the 21 House committees he controls, but it turns out it’s not just the lack of diversity that’s noteworthy. Many of these men hold extreme positions or bring in big campaign money from the industries they’re set to control.
Let’s take a closer look at some of these chairmen, the incoming and veteran.
Rep. Ed Royce is replacing outgoing Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen to head Foreign Affairs, but he seems to have an issue with non-traditional Americans. Last year he spoke at an anti-Muslim rally and described multiculturalism as something that “has paralyzed too many of our citizens to make the critical judgement we need to make to prosper as a society.”
Rep. Lamar Smith is taking over the Science, Space, and Technology Committee. He’s a climate change skeptic, which calls into question how much respect he has for science to begin with, given that 97% of scientists believe in man-made climate change.
Rep. Jeb Hensarling will be taking control of the Financial Services Committee. It turns out that some of his top donors come from the financial services industry. Now big banks have another strong voice in Congress.
At least two other chairmen with financial ties to the industries they head are returning too. Chairmen Fred Upton and Doc Hastings are back to lead the Energy and Commerce and Natural Resources Committees. Both Upton and Hastings can thank oil, gas, utility, and mining companies for a big chunk of their campaign cash.
With picks like these, it’s easy to wonder if Republicans learned any lessons from their losses of Election Day.