Dirty votes and dirty money. For some members of Congress this is a normal day in Washington.
This August, as members return home to face voters, we will expose some of them for exactly who they are: dirty deniers. Starting August 4, the NRDC Action Fund will name "Daily Dirty Deniers" each weekday. These #DailyDenier$ will feature members who allow polluters to foul our air by casting dirty votes and accepting dirty money.
Why Expose Them Now?
As we approach the dog days of summer, I can only think about how hard it is to teach an old dog new tricks. With 99 days until the mid-term elections, the same old polluters and polluter allies (cue the Chamber of Commerce, Koch Bros. and Karl Rove) are running the same old attack ads, using the same old lies and scare tactics, and hoping the American public is none the wiser. We can't let representatives and senators off the hook for voting against our best interests. So this August we are holding them accountable.
What's at Stake?
Since 2012, the Republican-led House and the Democratic majority in the Senate have been stalemated. Some have declared it gridlock. I'd argue it differently. What we are witnessing is actually trench warfare to block a relentless Republican assault on basic health and environmental protections. If the fossil-fueled politicians have their way, it will only get worse. So far, we've been lucky: for every Republican effort to pass a destructive rider or launch an attack on the Environmental Protection Agency, there is an environmental champion digging in to protect our air, land and water. But, our champs need our support so we can win these battles decisively and move on. If deniers are successful in November, we will be having to spend a lot of time playing defense when we need to make major strides to complete the Clean Power Plan to reduce carbon pollution from power plants. This is especially important in the Senate, where the President's Clean Power Plan will face the most crucial votes.
The Koch Brothers alone are estimated to spend $390 million in targeted races this year. In fact, reports in March already had them at the $30 million mark. Their goal? Protect dirty deniers who will, in turn, follow a right-wing agenda and protect the Koch's polluting interests.
Why Polluters Will Lose Again
Two years ago we endured a long election season, but entered the winter excited that Americans had re-elected a pro-environment President and environmental champions to the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Even though polluters spent big, more than $150 million in ad campaigns by mid-September, they had very little to show for it. At the time I wondered if this could be the turning point for many in the Republican Party. Would they see the error of their Tea Party ways and finally return to the roots of their party, which once prided itself on conservation? The answer turned out to be a resounding "no."
Many of them actually doubled down on their dirty votes. House members have now voted well almost 200 times in this Congress to weaken or eliminate environmental protections. This defies logic. Support for climate action is only growing stronger, especially among the rising American electorate: women, Latinos, and millennials. Without the support of these voting blocs, candidates on either side of the aisle don't stand a chance of winning. In our recent battleground polling, voters from multiple demographic groups overwhelming supported reducing dangerous carbon pollution. This includes 53 percent of Republicans, 63 percent of Independents, and 87 percent of Democrats. Even when we used opponents' arguments voters supported our arguments for addressing climate change by a 22-point margin. Yet polluters continue to spend money on anti-environment ads and dirty air villains continue to vote to allow polluters operate with impunity.
We Need You to Act
Taking on dirty polluters and their hand-picked congressional allies isn't easy. We need you to help us spread the message that protecting our environment isn't just good policy, it's good politics. Will you commit to sharing #DirtyDenier$ on your favorite social media channels? You can also visit online pages of the deniers to let them know you're unhappy with their dirty votes or highlight their destructive views in a letter to the editor of your local paper. You can get the #DirtyDenier$ every weekday starting Monday, August 4 at www.nrdcactionfund.org and on Facebook and Twitter.
The Koch brothers may have more money, but we have more people. Together we will act to stop the deniers' agenda because: "It's reckless. It's radical. It's relentless. It's wrong."