Romney Uses Sham Front Group To Slam McCain For Confronting Global Warming

Last weekend, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney (R) previewed some of the right-wing attacks on global warming that will be featured during the upcoming presidential election, slamming Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) for his actions to confront climate change. He accused the senator of supporting “radical climate change legislation,” and “pushing for a massive new energy tax.”

To hit McCain, Romney has relied on an anti-environment front group, the American Environmental Coalition (AEC) to do the work for him. Last week, George Landrith, the co-Chairman of the group, likened McCain to Al Gore and compared the senator to a wolf in sheep’s clothing:

When it comes to climate change, John McCain and Al Gore are far too much alike for my comfort. John McCain has been sponsoring legislation for the past several years that would give Al Gore much of the regulatory control and power he sought when he and Bill Clinton tried to get America to sign on to the UN’s Kyoto global warming treaty. […]

When listening to John McCain, it would seem that evangelicals should remember the biblical warning found in St. Matthew 7:15 to “beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”


It turns out that AEC is closely tied to the Romney campaign — something Landrith apparently didn’t think to disclose. A scan through AEC’s member rolls reveals the group’s links to the Romney campaign:

Gary Marx, who holds the registration to the AEC website domain name, is “charged with handling conservative outreach for Romney.”

Jay Sekulow, an AEC member, serves as “the co-chair of Mitt Romney’s Faith and Values Coalition.” His son, Jordan, is “a Romney staffer.”

Paul Weyrich, a prominent leader in the social conservative movement who is listed third on AEC’s list of members, endorsed Romney in November.

Lou Sheldon, an AEC member and chairman of the Traditional Values Coalition, endorsed Romney and serves as “one of the co-chairs of the ‘Romney for President Faith and Values Steering Committee.’”

Gary Jarmin, seventh on the AEC list, is a vice-chair of Romney’s National Faith and Values steering committee.

While McCain’s climate change plans aren’t nearly as ambitious as others’, he is certainly the best of the worst that conservatives have to offer. Meanwhile, Romney insists the U.S. shouldn’t take the lead on global warming policy. “We don’t call it America warming,” he often quips.

UPDATE: AEC sent this statement to ThinkProgress:

It has just been brought to my attention that you have posted a statement on your blog that is attributed to me and AEC. Neither I nor AEC made or released any such statement. I ask that you remove the statement from your blog immediately. In the future, please contact me prior to attributing statements to me or AEC.


George LandrithCo-ChairmanAmerican Environmental Coalition