Senate Votes to Confirm Conflicted Susan Combs to Top Interior Position

Majority of Senators Side with Oil and Gas Special Interests Over Public Lands and Wildlife

Whitefish, MT. – Today, the Senate voted 57-36 to confirm Susan Combs, a Koch Industries alum, to be Interior’s Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management and Budget. While Combs’ nomination has been stalled since 2017 because of the controversy that has swirled around her name, she has been working as an unconfirmed appointee at Interior since her nomination announcement, tasked with reorganizing the department.

Combs is a former visiting senior fellow at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, an organization heavily funded by Koch Industries and big oil companies. Her public financial disclosure report showed hefty investments in oil and gas corporations that stand to benefit from her work. Those investments have potentially earned her upwards of $2.1 million in recent years according to an investigation by Rolling Stone and Global Witness.

In response to the final vote, Western Values Project Executive Director Chris Saeger issued the following statement:

“Susan Combs has proven herself again and again as an advocate for oil companies and special interests over our public lands and wildlife. While her confirmation vote was presumably on hold for numerous reasons, not the least of which is her million dollar conflicts with oil and gas and her previous employment at a Koch Industries-funded right-wing think tank, she’s still been doing the bidding of special interests at Interior as an unconfirmed appointee tasked with leading the department’s reorganization.”

“Combs is just latest the latest to be confirmed into the Trump swamp, officially joining the culture of corruption permeating Interior. Should we expect anything less from a Senate that already confirmed the ultimate D.C. swamp creature in Secretary David Bernhardt?”

Combs recently compared her work on the department’s reorganization to the Koch-funded American Legislative Exchange Council in a draft speech obtained by Independent Reporter Jimmy Tobias. Several Western Senators voted to confirm conflicted Susan Combs despite their rhetoric.


Susan Combs is a long-standing figure in Texas politics. She has consistently worked to undermine the Endangered Species Act, which has wide support in Colorado and Arizona. Notably, Combs served as a Texas State Representative and as the Texas Comptroller where she described endangered species listings to ‘incoming SCUD missiles.’ During her tenure in Texas politics, Combs received nearly one million dollars in campaign contributions from oil and gas industries.

Combs’ colleague from the Texas Public Policy Foundation, now the Assistant Secretary for Insular and International Affairs, Doug Domenech, is currently under investigation for potential ethical misconduct, along with five other Trump appointed senior Interior officials. Secretary Bernhardt became the subject of a multi-faceted investigation just four days after his confirmation.

Combs’ is a regular Republican donor and helped lead Carly Fiorina’s 2016 presidential

campaign. She also believes Texas is the “niftiest-shaped” state. A full profile Susan Combs is available on the Western Values Project’s Department of Influence website.

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