OFA Misleads on Climate Change

OFA video
• May 2, 2013 9:55 am


A new web video released by President Obama's dark-money group Organizing for Action falsely claims that 240 House members voted in 2011 to dub climate change a "hoax."

"Number of House members who voted in 2011 that climate change was a ‘hoax’: 240," the ad reads.

The Washington Post awarded the claim "four pinocchios" Thursday, noting that "readers should always be skeptical when political ads attach a particular meaning to a congressional vote."

OFA's claim actually concerns a 2011 Democratic amendment to a bill on Environmental Protection Agency policy, according to the Post. The overarching Republican bill, the Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011, sought to prevent the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases, and made mention of climate change, without specifying its cause.

Democrats, in turn, inserted a poison pill into the legislation–an amendment meant to either create an awkward vote for members or kill the bill. The amendment explicitly attributed climate change to human action and cited the EPA, in a bill meant to restrict the EPA's regulatory power.

The Democratic amendment failed 184 to 240.

As the Post's Glenn Kessler also writes, there was a range of views expressed while the legislation was being considered, as well:

The Organizing for Action video then gilds the lily by immediately following a reference to the vote with a clip of a speech by Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.): "The idea of human-induced global climate change is one of the greatest hoaxes perpetrated out of the scientific community." As FactCheck.Org noted, that speech was given in 2009 — not during the debate over the 2011 amendment.

Moreover, nowhere in the amendment does the word "hoax" appear.

As (then-Rep. Robert J. Dold's (R-Ill.)) comments make clear, there is a wide range of views in Congress on the role of human activity in fostering climate change. Indeed, four GOP lawmakers who voted against the Waxman amendment in 2011, for instance, in 2009 had voted for Waxman’s climate-change legislation to create a cap and trade system to reduce greenhouse gases.

The video:

Published under: Democratic Donors, OFA