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20 GOP Politicians Repeat $1,761 Clean Energy Bill Lie

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I've written several times in the past few weeks about the $1,761 energy tax lie Republicans have latched onto to oppose clean energy legislation. For those who haven't been following, here is how this went down:

STEP ONE: "News" generated by right-wing think tank.

STEP TWO: Right-wing print journalists write "breaking news" story.

STEP THREE: Promoted by Drudge, story repeated endlessly on right-wing blogs, Twitter, and talk radio.

STEP FOUR: Republican politicians, right-wing think tanks, and polluter front groups release statements of shock and outrage.

STEP FIVE: On Fox News, Glenn Beck calls President Obama a liar/socialist/Marxist/communist/fascist/racist.

Here is how I characterized the willingness of Republican politicians to latch onto this lie at the time:

Despite immediate and forceful pushback from the Treasury Department, the Congressional Budget Office and environmental groups, solid reporting by the Wonk Room and the Washington Post, and thorough debunkings by Media Matters and Politifact, several leading GOP elected officials have begun citing the highly misleading figure.

Since I wrote that a few weeks ago, several Republican politicians have continued repeating the lie.

Today, Representative Ed Markey pushed this story back to the forefront with a Huffington Post piece. After setting the record straight on Romney's falsehood and explaining the urgency of clean energy legislation, Markey finishes strong:

So the next time you hear Mitt Romney or other opponents of clean energy and climate legislation railing about the costs of action, you should multiply your suspicion by whatever number they are attempting to sell. Odds are, it is far from even-handed.

While this is a solid piece, and Representative Markey makes his case well, he barely mentions the other Republican politicians who have repeated this lie. I understand the value of pegging this on a potential 2012 Presidential candidate, but there are over a dozen current elected officials in the Republican party who have repeated this lie as well.

Since I last updated the count a few weeks ago, eight additional Republican politicians and party organizations have repeated the lie, bringing the total to 20.
  • Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) released a statement claiming that "The Obama administration's own estimate found a cap-and-trade scheme could cost American families an extra $1,761 per year."
  • Rep. Cynthia Lummis' Chief of Staff told a local Chamber of Commerce that Democrats' cap-and-trade bill "could cost individual households an extra $1,761 a year."
  • The Oregon GOP sent a fundraising email claiming that Democrats in Congress "Passed a huge energy tax that adds an estimated $1,761 to every family's yearly budget."
  • Joel Pollack, Republican candidate for Congrss in IL-9 told the Cook Country Republican party that "The House passed a cap-and-trade bill that will cost each family in America $1,761 per year."
  • Rep. Blaine Leutkemeyer issued a press release lamenting the "Majority's obvious disregard for the plight of American families who would have to shell out at least $1,700 a year in additional taxes..." (h/t Fired Up Missouri)
  • Rep. John Culberson blogged that "Treasury also estimates the cost per household would be $1,761 a year, while American families are struggling to make ends meet."
  • MN State Rep. Mike Beard blogged that "We are gaining some more perspective as to how much cap-and-trade proposals at the federal and state levels would cost the average Minnesota family: $1,761 and $575 per year, respectively."
Finally, here is one I missed as this lie was just beginning to take hold:
  • On September 16th, the National Republican Congressional Committee issued dozens of press releases with the headline "National Energy Tax Could Cost Families $1,761 A Year."
Here is the full list of 20 Republican politicians and local party organizations who have parroted some version of this widely debunked $1,761 lie:
  • Senator Lamar Alexander issued a press release saying "American families can't afford a new $1,761 yearly energy tax."
  • Senator James Inhofe issued a press release claiming that "the President's own economic team said his cap-and-trade proposal would cost each family $1,761 per year."
  • Senator Lisa Murkowski issued a press release stating that "At the upper end of the administration's estimate, the cost per American household would be $1,761 a year, on top of what they already pay in taxes to the government."
  • 2008 also-ran Mitt Romney told the crowd at the conservative Value Voters Summit on Saturday that the clean energy legislation "would cost the average American family $1,761 a year, the equivalent to a 15% income tax hike."
  • Representative Roy Blunt tweeted: "CBS reports the Obama Admin privately concluded cap & trade could cost families $1,761 a year. Same as a 15% personal income tax increase."
  • Representative Fred Upton fired off a letter, which cites the $1700 figure, accusing the Treasury Department of censoring information in the FOIA release.
  • House Minority Leader John Boehner said on PBS' NewsHour: "It's a cap-and-trade proposal that came through the House that we now find out from the Treasury Department would cost each American family over $1,700 per year."
  • House Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence copied-and-pasted the wholly discredited CBS blog post where the $1,761 figure originated into an email to supporters.
  • Update 9/21: Representative Pete Sessions writes "American households could pay an additional $1,761 a year in expenses."
  • Update 9/22: Senator John Cornyn issued a press release saying "According to a the Department of Treasury's analysis, new taxes would be between $100 and $200 billion each year, costing families up to 1,761 each year." Unlike some of the others, Cornyn didn't even try to hide his source. He linked directly to the conservative blogger who came up with the $1,761 figure. He attributes the figure to the Treasury Department -- which is false.
  • Update 9/22: According to user casinclair on Twitter, Sarah Palin repeated the lie at her speech in Hong Kong yesterday. I'm assuming this is paraphrased, and am trying to find a full transcript: "Cap and tax (trade) will cause unemployment. Say it will cost $1800 per Americans and cause no change."
  • Update 9/22: Republican Senate Candidate Scott Brown said yesterday: "They want a "yes" vote on cap and trade, even if it will raise energy costs on the average family in this country by $1,761 a year."
  • Update 10/7: Senator Roger Wicker released a statement claiming that "The Obama administration's own estimate found a cap-and-trade scheme could cost American families an extra $1,761 per year."
  • Update 10/7: Rep. Cynthia Lummis' Chief of Staff told a local Chamber of Commerce that Democrats' cap-and-trade bill "could cost individual households an extra $1,761 a year."
  • Update 10/7: The Oregon GOP sent a fundraising email claiming that Democrats in Congress "Passed a huge energy tax that adds an estimated $1,761 to every family's yearly budget."
  • Update 10/7: Joel Pollack, Republican candidate for Congrss in IL-9 told the Cook Country Republican party that "The House passed a cap-and-trade bill that will cost each family in America $1,761 per year."
  • Update 10/7: Rep. Blaine Leutkemeyer issues a press release lamenting the "Majority's obvious disregard for the plight of American families who would have to shell out at least $1,700 a year in additional taxes..." (h/t Fired Up Missouri)
  • Update 10/7: Rep. John Culberson blogged that "Treasury also estimates the cost per household would be $1,761 a year, while American families are struggling to make ends meet."
  • Update 10/7: MN State Rep. Mike Beard blogged that "We are gaining some more perspective as to how much cap-and-trade proposals at the federal and state levels would cost the average Minnesota family: $1,761 and $575 per year, respectively."
  • Update 10/7: On September 16th, the National Republican Congressional Committee issued dozens of press releases with the headline "National Energy Tax Could Cost Families $1,761 A Year."

Originally posted at EnviroKnow.

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