There’s a steady stream of political attack ads clogging the airways right now. You may have seen some of the garbage the anti-carbon fee faction is peddling. One of their ads includes former Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna.
McKenna is described as a “consumer advocate” and Washington State Attorney General from 2005-2013. What it fails to mention is that McKenna is also legal counsel for Chevron Oil.
No on 1631 has raised over $22 million for their campaign. Of that money, 99 percent has come from out-of-state oil and gas interests. Chevron has funneled $500,000 of its own dollars into the campaign.
“He’s presenting himself as your friendly neighborhood Attorney General,” Caleb Heeringa, deputy press secretary for the Sierra Club’s beyond coal campaign said of McKenna. “It’s not being disclosed that he’s invested in the financial success of these oil companies.”
Heeringa finds this alarming. Not only did McKenna not address his affiliation to Chevron in the ad, but he scrubbed the information from his LinkedIn. Heeringa confronted McKenna about it on Twitter:
Hey @robmckenna your LinkedIn profile used to brag about your job representing Chevron, but now it's scrubbed. Why isn't that disclosed in the $21 million worth of Big Oil-funded ads flooding our airwaves? @yeson1631 pic.twitter.com/roq6RbETh8
— Caleb Heeringa (@CalebHeeringa) October 12, 2018
“He said ‘weird,’” Heeringa laughed. He continued, “He made it sound like it was a computer glitch, but McKenna had to make the proactive move to take it off his LinkedIn page.”
The Public Disclosure Commission says this is all kosher.
“Our political advertising requirements don’t have any disclosure requirements in that area,” Kim Bradford, Communications & Outreach Director said. “There’s nothing that would require an initiative to disclose a speaker’s relationship to a campaign.”
In the ad, McKenna states that the carbon fee exempts the state’s largest polluters. It points to the TransAlta coal fire plant in Centralia, specifically. What it fails to note is that that plant is scheduled to shut down in 2025.
“There was a legal agreement to shut down that plant by 2025 and put no additional regulatory burdens put on that coal plant,” Heeringa elaborated. “If the state was to go back to put the carbon fee onto that facility it would go back on a prior legal agreement.”
Not only that, but it would cost somewhere around $55 million if that were to happen. Nick Abraham, the communications director for Yes on 1631, also said that putting those regulations on the plant would delay its shutdown.
Currently, the Yes on 1631 coalition is ahead in the polls. According to Crosscut, 50 percent of polled voters were in favor of the carbon fee.
“Just [yesterday] Microsoft endorsed and, you know, we’ve got the momentum,” Heeringa said. “They’ve got the money but we have the momentum.”