In my post on the development of the fake “OMB memo” story, I speculated wildly — as is my responsibility as a blogger — that some sort of sneaky dirty-energy lobbyist fed the story to Dow Jones’ Ian Talley, the first “real” reporter to do a story on it.
It seems the truth may be rather more ironic. A helpful tipster points me to an April 29 post on the blog of OMB Watch, a progressive group that monitors OMB and frequently criticizes it from the left. In it, author Matthew Madia claims to have found the notorious memo. It was Madia who speculated that the document was written by someone from OMB (specifically OIRA), though he warned, “without sure dates, names, or context — this document should be taken with a grain of salt.” The post later went out in OMB Watch’s “RegWatch” email, which goes to numerous reporters, with the headline, “Did the Obama White House Meddle with EPA’s GHG Finding?”
So there’s good reason to believe that it was a progressive group that kicked off this whole silly kerfuffle, which has done nothing but give Republicans another weapon with which to fight off progress on climate change. Never underestimate the left’s ability to eff itself!
A second note: the OMB easily could have avoided this entire mess simply by clearly labeling the memo as an interagency review and noting where — which department or agency — particular comments within came from. The Bush OMB did just that when it submitted comments last year. This was a bit of unnecessary opacity that served no purpose whatsoever.
Finally, check out this video of the absurd Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) hassling EPA administrator Lisa Jackson with this memo. I can’t believe guys like this run the place. Be sure to watch Jackson full response — she filets him.