Groups target GOP on cap-and-trade

POLITICO LOGO The League of Conservation Voters, the Sierra Club, MoveOn
and Americans United for Change, will target five House Republicans that voted against the energy legislation with over $1 million in attack ads whose purpose is to illustrate the fight and opposition various groups are planning on putting forward against those who challenge climate change legislation.

Posted Aug. 25, 2009
By Ben Smith, Politico

Four
independent groups are launching more than $1 million in attack ads
Tuesday targeting five House Republicans who voted against energy
legislation in June, spokespeople for the groups said
.

The ads from the League of Conservation Voters, the Sierra Club, MoveOn
and Americans United for Change, will target Reps. Thaddeus McCotter
(R-Mich.), Denny Rehberg (R- Mont.), Roy Blunt (R- Mo.) and two
Virginia Republicans, Frank Wolf and House Minority Whip Eric Cantor.

The ad casts the members as siding with “big oil and energy interests”
and against “the jobs we really need” because they voted against the
legislation that would set up a system of trading carbon permits known
as “cap-and-trade” and impose a series of other measures aimed at
reducing emissions.

The legislation passed despite defections among some Democrats worried
about its impact on local coal and other industries. An official at the
League of Conservation Voters, Navin Nayak, said the ad is intended to
send the message to legislators that there will be a cost to opposing
the cap-and-trade bill, and to counter a broad political perception
that the main risk is in voting in favor of a bill foes cast as a job
killer.

“The whole [notion] that the Beltway has put out there is really
flipped on its head,” said Nayak, the director of the League’s Global
Warming Project. “We feel confident that if the public understands
people had a choice between voting for Big Oil and fighting for clean energy jobs, that we know who’s going to pay a price.”

Nayak said his group will also be taking out print ads attacking two
House Democrats who voted against the cap-and-trade legislation, Rep.
Jason Altmire (D-Penn.) and Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.).

The collaboration between the four groups is the latest result of a
constellation of tightly aligned liberal groups collaborating beyond
narrow subject areas. The combined expenditure, which Nayak said would
be in the “seven figures,” is relatively large for a debate which has
been overshadowed by the health care battle. The Senate is scheduled to
consider the White House-backed energy legislation in the fall.

“Despite conventional wisdom, the majority of Americans both want and
need the millions of jobs that will be created if we move to a clean
energy economy,” said Ilyse Hogue, a spokeswoman for MoveOn. “These ads
will remind voters who was with them and who was with Big Oil when it
came time to vote on a bill that will create millions of new jobs.”

Though the ads nominally target members of the House, the real audience
may be their Senate colleagues. The four states targeted – Michigan,
Montana, Missouri, and Virginia – include Democrats sensitive to
industrial and mining companies that bitterly oppose the bill.

“We want to put out very clearly what the choice was that members of
the House voted on and lay the groundwork” for a campaign in the
Senate, Nayak said.

Spokesmen for the Virginia Republicans, Cantor and Wolf, shrugged off
the attack, but a spokesman for Blunt, who is running for U.S. Senate,
blamed it on his Democratic rival, Robin Carnahan.

“Robin Carnahan's liberal allies including ACORN, the SEIU and the
League of Conservation Voters have been airing false attack ads since
April because they know she would support the cap-and-trade national
energy tax and the government takeover of health care,” said Blunt
spokesman Rich Chrismer. (Only the latter of those groups is involved
in the campaign in question.)

“If this is an issue, then Robin Carnahan ought to come out of hiding
and explain to Missourians why she has taken $20,000 from oil lobbyists
in her Senate campaign,” he said, warning that the legislation would
raise the prices of energy in a state heavily reliant on coal.

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