THE BLOG
11/22/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Murkowski Spokesman Admits GOP Talking Point Is Completely Irrelevant

Spokesman for Senator Murkowski loses temper with blogger, admits that major GOP talking point on costs of climate legislation has nothing to with legislation that is actually being considered.

On September 16th, Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski joined a growing chorus of Republican politicians touting a flawed analysis of the costs associated with cap and trade legislation (see: Treasury Department, CBO, Media Matters, Politifact and Grist) by issuing this press release:

"It's becoming apparent that the administration knew all along how much their cap and trade program would cost, yet they continue to claim it will cost no more than a postage stamp a day," Murkowski said.

A previously unreleased analysis prepared by the U.S. Department of Treasury says the total cost would be between $100 billion and $200 billion a year. 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.

These statements are factually incorrect, and they are thoroughly debunked by the links above.

On Monday, I wrote about the eight Republican politicians (note: since then Rep. Pete Sessions joined the party) who had already begun parroting this false talking point. I followed up with many of these Republican politicians, requesting clarification on their factually incorrect statements. The most interesting response -- by far -- came by way of a series of increasingly heated emails between myself and Murkowski staffer Robert Dillon. Mr. Dillon is the Republican Communications Director for the Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

The emails were followed by a brief phone conversation, in which Mr. Dillon made the following comments.

At the outset, Mr. Dillon displayed his firm grasp of the obvious:

You obviously are already biased.

When I pointed out that the $1,761 figure Senator Murkowski's press release cited was taken directly from a flawed analysis conducted by a conservative blogger, Mr. Dillon shot back:

Are you accusing CBS News of being conservative?

After just a few minutes, Mr. Dillon became openly exasperated. In a comical display of his understanding of journalism, which was strikingly similar to a Stephen Colbert parody, Mr. Dillon said:

Why can't you just listen to me and write down what I say?

Seconds later, he shouted:

You're not a reporter!

Later in the conversation, after I had repeatedly pointed out that the documents Senator Murkowski's claims were based on had nothing whatsoever to do with any legislation Congress has actually considered, came the admission:

We are not talking about Waxman-Markey.

At this point, Mr. Dillon became openly angry and began shouting:

It will never pass the Senate. It will never be introduced in the Senate. Don't you know how this works?

He then went back to questioning my credentials as a journalist (note: I am not a journalist and have never claimed otherwise):

What have you covered before?

Finally, before being dragged away from the call to "brief the Senator on this very subject," Mr. Dillon gave away just how delusional his job spinning 24X7 for a Republican Senator has made him:

It is impossible to lie about something there are disagreements on -- which is the cost estimates.

He then promised to call me later, and hung up.

The full text of the emails between EnviroKnow and Senator Murkowski's spokesman can be found here.