Debunking the New Yorker Hit Piece on Lindsey – Follow the Money!


The Pink Flamingo is working on a series of articles detailing the hit piece against Lindsey penned by Ryan Lizza at the New Yorker.

The far right is going to be using this article in an attempt to destroy Lindsey.  The far left is using it against him.  The Pink Flamingo was cautioned by a friend to view the piece carefully.  Instead of my observations, I am going to quote my friend.

“… Lizza’s main perspective is how a given bone particle gets shoved into the sausage, and the thrill of the deal. Yet he completely ignores the why of Graham’s insistence on nuclear energy, or how gobsmackingly huge it would have been to secure that deal, plus stunting the power of the EPA and the hard cap, etc.

…Another non sequitur I highlighted about halfway through – Lizza’s line: “It turned out that working with Washington interest groups was far simpler than dealing with Republican senators navigating a populist conservative uprising.” Doesn’t hold up, gratuitous inference. Seems Lizza waas writing a second article simultaneously but got his wires crossed there.

Lizza’s whole concluding section is off the mark, darting, truncated… seems like a feeble attempt to tie up the story in a way that flatters Obama while gently rebuking him for “timidity” and shifting blame to the “dysfunctional Senate.” Well that is just insufficient. And a totally unsatisfying conclusion. Up till then, the story was pretty riveting and very well crafted. But his slip was really showing there at the end. I can’t figure out all the angles yet… .

One thing’s for sure – Lindsey got burned big time and he was silly to imagine his efforts were anything other than doomed from the start. The idea that he would ever have been able to explain the legislation to his benefit… or that he’d get anything but a kick in the teeth from all sides, was naive….”

My friend is right.  I’ve had to look at this article from a cold and calculating angle.  There are several things that are obvious.  Lizza is trying to make John Kerry look good.  He is trying to make the Obama administration look good, and they come out looking like the incompetent idiots they are.  He is trying to make Lindsey look bad.

This post is NOT about the PR angle, the FOX comment (which does not ring true), nor does he touch on the fact that Lindsey has been working on nuclear energy for most of his political career.

This piece is strictly about the funding angle – based on a single paragraph, which I have broken down into sentences.  The entire paragraph is mis-leading to the point where it, alone should completely debunk the snide comments and half-truths, and mis-statements Lizza made about Lindsey.

I decided to coldly examine my friend’s funding the way I would do anyone else.  What I found is consistent with what I know.  If you read the Lizza paragraph, then just wade through the screen shots I’ve provided, you will see that Lizza did a hatchet job on him.

Lizza implies that Lindsey was not able to raise campaign cash until he began prostituting himself to the energy industry.  He fails to mention that Lindsey had just come off an election cycle and wasn’t really into raising all that much money.  He fails to mention that Lindsey, while not raising much from the energy industry during the period he examined, has raised a steady and rather consistent amount for years.  The amount raised in 2010 is consistent with what he has raised over the years.

I am having a problem tracing South Carolina Conservatives for Energy Independence.  I can find no FEC reports on it, which makes me wonder if it is not a non-profit group.  I do know the men and women involved in the organization are HIGHLY respected Republicans in SC, and are very strong supporters of Lindsey.  After what the Cato Institute was doing to him during the same time frame, but that is the topic of another post.

It might do Ryan Lizza well to understand that 2010 is not an election year for Lindsey Graham.  Why would he be trying to take money from other Republicans who are in need of it?

Unfortunately, there is no way this post can be put into any sort of order.  One must simply wade through it, and take it at face value.  What you will discover is that Lizza completely mis-represented Lindsey when it comes to fund-raising.

Was he able to do enough to destroy a good man?  We all know that was the purpose of the article.  Only time will tell if he did.


The Lizza hit piece is full of half-truths and innuendo.  He intimates that Lindsey was not able to raise money from PACs – that he raised very little in 2009.  IT WAS AN OFF YEAR!  Lizza never bothers listing the 2008 figures, which completely debunk the entire paragraph.

Total PAC money for 2010 – $110,700
Total PAC money for 2008 – $1,350,685
Total PAC money for 2006 – $316,078
Total PAC Money for 2004 – $251,019
Total PAC Money for 2002 – $1,676,079

In 2002 he raised $92,000 from electric utilities.  This completely debunks the Lizza theory that Lindsey was prostituting himself for the energy bill.

Why is Lizza doing this?

From the Lizza article:

...On October 28, 2009, Graham was eating dinner at the Capital Grille, an expense-account steakhouse on Pennsylvania Avenue, with Fred Krupp, the president of the Environmental Defense Fund, and Rick Davis, a Republican consultant who had managed McCain’s two Presidential campaigns.

The E.D.F., virtually alone among green groups in trying to form bonds with Republicans, prides itself on being the most politically sophisticated environmental organization in Washington. Krupp, who has short gray hair and a Brooks Brothers look that announces his disdain for hemp-wearing environmental activists, had helped to educate McCain on climate change, and the two men became close.

Now he wanted to do the same for Graham. He called Davis, who was an E.D.F. board member, and arranged the dinner. Graham came to the issue strictly as a dealmaker. He saw the Democrats’ interest in capping carbon emissions as an opportunity to boost the nuclear industry and to expand oil drilling.

But now Krupp explained the basics of global-warming science and policy: how carbon trading worked, how farmers could use offsets to earn an income from growing trees, and how different lobbyists would affect the debate. Krupp told Graham that the crucial feature of the policy was the hard cap on emissions. The House bill required American carbon emissions to be seventeen per cent below 2005 levels by 2020.

As long as that number held, environmentalists would show flexibility on most other issues. The dinner lasted three hours. The next day, Kerry, Graham, and Lieberman held their first meeting as the triumvirate that became known to everyone following the debate as K.G.L.

Heckled at home, Graham began to enjoy a new life as a Beltway macher. “Every lobbyist working on the issue wanted time with him, because suddenly it became clear that he could be the central person in the process,” Krupp recalled.

All sectors of the economy would be affected by putting a price on carbon, and Graham’s campaign account started to grow.

In 2009, he raised nothing from the electric-utility PACs and just fourteen thousand four hundred and fifty dollars from all PACs. In the first quarter of 2010 alone, the utilities sent him forty-nine thousand dollars.

Krupp introduced Graham to donors in New York connected to the E.D.F. On December 7th, Julian Robertson, an E.D.F. board member and a hedge-fund billionaire, hosted Graham at a small gathering in his Manhattan apartment. Some New York guests gave money directly to Graham’s campaign account.

Others, at Krupp’s suggestion, donated to a new group called South Carolina Conservatives for Energy Independence, which ran ads praising Graham in his home state.

For years, Graham had lived in McCain’s shadow. But, as the rebellious politics of 2010 transformed McCain into a harsh partisan, Graham adopted McCain’s old identity as the Senate’s happy moderate…”

Open Secrets disproves the canard that Lindsey did not receive money from Electric Utilities:

Open Secrets

There was no reported meet/greet with Lindsey in NYC.

According to Open Secrets, Julian Robertson has not contributed to Lindsey:

Open Secrets
Open Secrets

There were December, 2009 contributions to Lindsey:

Open Secrets

(From Open Secrets)  According to Open Secrets, the numbers below are updated as of September 13, 2010 and reflect 2005-2010.

SC Conservatives for Energy Independence Board of Directors are highly respected Republicans in the state of SC.  The Lizza implication is that they are somehow shady.

John Rainey – Palmetto Institute
T. Moffatt Burriss
Amb. Boy Royall (Robert V. RoyallHe is with Edens & Avante one of Lindsey’s major donors.
Rep. Jim Harrisoncampaign site
Cathy Bingham
Dr. Eddie Floyd – well known SC Republican, and physician

The New Yorker article intimates that Lindsey is out there pandering for re-election donations.  When one considers the size of his war chest, the proposition is a bit ludicrous.  One of the slanders is that Lindsey is taking a tremendous amount of money from the energy industry, donors, and PACS.  His primary lobby donor is Nelson, Mullins, et. al.

Open Secrets
Open Secrets

This is EVERY industry who has contributed to Lindsey.  If he were grabbing energy money, it would show up in this specific table.  This is from his personal re-election war chest.  His leadership PAC is much the same.  The energy industry donations are just not there in any great number.  One of Lindsey’s top donors is Energy Solutions Inc, which is about nuclear power.

Open Secrets

More importantly, the New Yorker article implies that Lindsey was cashing in on the money from energy sources for his war chest.  This simple Open Secrets chart proves that is a lie.

Open Secrets

It is implied that Lindsey hit the cocktail circuit to pander money out of “green” donors.  Open Secrets has the list of the fundraising events for Lindsey.

Open Secrets

It is implied that money from the NY cocktail circuit flowed into Lindsey’s account.  If you compare his fund-raising from 2006, 2008, and 2010 you will find that LESS money was raised in NY in 2010 than in the previous election cycles.

Contributions by Geography – 2006

Open Secrets

Contributions by Geography – 2008

Open Secrets

Contributions by Geography – 2010

Open Secrets

2010 PAC Contributions:

Open Secrets

Total PAC Contributions:

Open Secrets

Current status:

Open Secrets

2 thoughts on “Debunking the New Yorker Hit Piece on Lindsey – Follow the Money!

  1. Excellent, excellent. I read the piece over the weekend and was so angered by the obvious hit job. I worry because Graham is not good at defending himself — a trait he shares with GWB. The article is very insider stuff so I am not sure how great the impact will be. Still, it needs to be answered.

    Have you sent this to Graham’s office? Please do!

    I’m trying to avoid the news right now, or at least cut down. The only mention of the New Yorker article I saw was Hugh Hewitt, and I think he over-reacted, big time. I hope Hewitt will rethink and interview Lindsey to give him a chance to discuss.

  2. You really did some work on all these statistics. According to Lizza there was a lot of wheeling and dealing behind the KGL bill. He may have tried, but he could never make Obama look good. Obama opened up portions of the Gulf Coast to drilling explaining that an oil leak was unlikely, then a short time later the oil rig exploded down here in the gulf. After that the KGL appeared hopeless. Somebody had to be blamed for the failure of KGL, so Lizza let the blame bounce back on Graham. Senator Graham really had my admiration for working on this bill. He received a lot of criticism and even got accused of being blackmailed by that fellow Gheen, but I feel that these issues should be addressed. Graham is not one of my senators and I don’t really know that much about him, but I never pictured him as a person losing control, screaming vulgarities and profanities. Lizza also claimed that he and McCain were no longer speaking because McCain got jealous of Graham because of some article in New York Times. I don’t know why it was necessary to include this in an article about the KGL bill. Anyway, I wonder who leaked the idea that KGL was a Lindsey Graham gas tax hike…….interesting.

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