Is Graham Coming Back to the Climate Bill? To Find Out, Follow the Money . . .
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Lindsey Graham's (R-SC) decision to abandon the climate bill he helped craft -- even going as far as saying he'll filibuster it himself now -- has been a dramatic turn in the legislation's saga. But there's at least one good reason to think he'll return to put his support behind the bill he spent months negotiating: the money. Reports have surfaced that Graham accepted a significant amount of cash from donors who would benefit by having carbon priced -- donors that he appears to have just left in the dust. Which may be a good reason to believe he's just appearing to ditch out on the bill to get his political demands -- no immigration reform this year -- met. The Huffington Post investigative dept. reports:
When Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) jilted his climate-change partners this week, he abandoned more than a few senators and the White House. He also left behind his first-quarter donors. Almost all of the political action committee money that Graham took in during the first three months of 2010 came from energy companies hoping he'd reach a climate change deal, according to a review of his filing with the Federal Election Commission.Those major donors include nuclear power companies and gas companies, all of whom have an immediate interest in pricing carbon. Those companies include Duke Energy, Exelon, Progress Energy, the Edison Electric Institute, PG&E; and American Electric Power, and others. And it turns out he didn't accept any money at all from Big ol' Oil.
Which serves to discredit, to some degree, the idea that Graham has long intended to sabotage the climate bill by walking away from it at a politically opportune time. Instead, it seems to confirm the theory that Graham is genuinely pissed off, or has suddenly deemed the political cost of negotiating a bill that his party largely despises too high. But it also points to the fact that he may be coming back -- it seems unlikely that he'd be willing to spurn so many donors over a spat with Harry Reid (who said he would be moving to immigration before climate).
And now that Reid has returned climate to the top of the agenda, perhaps we'll see the return of Graham as well.
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