Kochs pull out their big guns against a carbon tax
Today the Citizens Climate Lobby is holding a public event on Capitol Hill as part of its lobby day. The event is meant to promote putting a price on carbon and will give attendees a chance to share their climate story, record a message for congressional leaders, and even create some art.
Perhaps to preempt that display of grassroots support for a carbon tax, yesterday a group of some 75 conservative groups sent a letter to Congress expressing their opposition. The five-sentence paragraph offered nothing in the way of facts or evidence, instead falsely claiming that “a carbon tax increases the cost of everything Americans buy” while also growing “the power, cost and intrusiveness of the government in our lives.”
Unsurprisingly, a number of the groups are on the Koch network payroll (a percentage likely approaching 100%) making it a natural fit for coverage in the Koch’s Daily Caller, as “reported” on there by the Koch’s resident churnalist Michael Bastasch.
The angle Bastasch takes, and can therefore be assumed to be the angle fed to him by the Koch groups, is that the letter comes “days after reports that Utah Republican Sen. Mitt Romney openly considered backing carbon tax bill.” Though the letter itself is “not specifically aimed at Romney,” Bastasch relays it its intended meaning is “to warn Republicans that their conservative base is not in favor of taxing carbon dioxide emissions.”
But in reality, even the Republican’s favorite pollster Frank Luntz has found a majority of Republicans support a revenue-neutral carbon tax, an inconvenient fact that didn’t make its way into Bastasch’s story.
What he did find space for though, was a lovely quote from the Koch-funded Institute for Energy Research’s Dan Kish, who found Romney’s potential support for a carbon tax to be “unsurprising” given that it would benefit “the money changers in the financial temples of Wall Street.”
Why Kish felt compelled to blow a faintly anti-Semitic dog whistle in attacking the Mormon Mitt Romney is unclear. What is perfectly clear is that no one should believe the Koch network talk about pivoting away from politics.
Until and unless the Koch brothers stop funding universities to create their talking points, stop funding groups that attack climate solutions like electric vehicles or a price on carbon and the supposed “news” organizations that uncritically parrot such claims, the Kochs will remain a potent political force for protecting polluters at the expense of public health.