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Tester Says ‘Tightens the screws’ on Iran [AUDIO]


Senator Jon Tester intensified his call for Congress and the Obama Administration to crack down on U.S. companies that do business in Iran. Iran was caught allegedly planning a terrorist attack on American soil earlier this week. Tester says it is unacceptable that some U-S companies and their subsidiaries work in Iran and that the U.S. needs to – quote – “tighten the screws.”

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Recent reports indicate that a subsidiary of Koch Industries – an oil and gas company – sold millions of dollars of equipment to Iran’s oil industry. The State Department considers Iran to be a state sponsor of terrorism.  Iran has also supplied weapons used against U.S.troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Statement by Koch industries general counsel mark Holden in response to Senator Jon Tester’s remarks during senate banking committee hearing

Koch Industries voluntarily decided several years ago to stop sales to Iran, which is the policy Senator Jon Tester (D-Mont.) wants all U.S. companies to adopt. Our policy goes beyond what is required under U.S. law, which we urge Sen. Tester, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee to notice.

Sen. Tester, while singling out Koch Industries as an example of a U.S. company that had done business in Iran through foreign subsidiaries, omitted the fact that he has accepted numerous campaign contributions from U.S. companies that are apparently either continuing to do business in Iran or that just recently stopped doing business in Iran. Numerous media reports in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and elsewhere over the past few years have shown that some of the companies doing business in Iran also were receiving money from the U.S. government for various government contracts. While one would assume he was aware of this information, Sen. Tester did not call out any of these companies during the Senate Banking Committee hearing yesterday. He also has not refused contributions from them or, to our knowledge, has he returned a single donation from any of these companies.

It is apparent that Sen. Tester, as well as the DCCC and the DSCC are singling out Koch for political purposes. It is, of course, up to every company to decide how it chooses to deal with these issues. Koch Industries made its decision and it supports those companies that chose to stop sales to Iran. Koch, however, deplores the political hypocrisy that distorts facts and criticizes a single company for its actions while ignoring the activities of other companies who are the financial contributors to these same politicians.

If Sen. Tester wants “sunlight,” then he should examine those companies that contribute to him who engage in the practices he criticizes. If the DCCC and DSCC seek the return of contributions of any company that has ever done business in Iran through a foreign subsidiary, then they should voluntarily return the contributions they and their candidates have received from numerous U.S. companies that have engaged in sales to Iran.

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