Mike Pence

Mike Pence

Credentials

  • B.A. history, Hanover College (1981). [1]
  • J.D., Indiana University McKinney School of Law (1986). [2]

Background

Michael Richard “Mike” Pence is Vice President of the United States. Prior to joining the administration of Donald J. Trump, Pence was the 50th Governor of Indiana. Before he became Governor in 2013, Mike Pence worked for six terms in Congress. While a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Pence served on the Committee on Foreign Affairs and was vice chair of the subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia. He also served on the subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition, and the Internet. In 2008, he was elected Republican Conference chairman. House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) has described Pence as a “personal friend.” [3], [4][5]

According to The Washington PostPence “became a household name” when he signed a religious freedom bill into law in 2015. The bill extended legal protection to businesses in Indiana who did not want to participate in same-sex weddings, receiving widespread criticism that it sanctioned discrimination.[3]

In the early 1990s, Pence was a board member of the Indiana Family Institute (IFI), a “far-right group that supported the criminalization of abortion and campaigned against equal rights for homosexuals,” as put by Jane Mayer in her 2017 profile piece in The New Yorker, titled “The Danger of President Pence.” [51]

Pence has early roots in the Tea Party. Marc Short, a former Pence aid, described Pence as “one of the earliest advocates for the Tea Party and his votes reflected frustration in 2010.” [6]

In the 1990s, before he came to Congress, Pence worked as an Indiana radio and TV host, dubbing himself “Rush Limbaugh on decaf.” “The Mike Pence Show” aired on Indiana radio from 1994 through 1999, while Pence also hosted a Sunday morning TV show in Indianapolis from 1995 to 1999. [6], [7]

Mother Jones profiled Pence in July, 2016, describing him as “a perfect match” for Donald Trump on climate change, highlighting Pence's prior declaration that “global warming is a myth.” [8]

Pence is a vocal proponent of coal, describing Indiana as a “proud pro-coal state.” He has said that “we must continue to oppose the overreaching schemes of the EPA until we bring their war on coal to end.” In 2015, Pence sent a letter to President Obama, rejecting his state's participation in the Clean Power Plan. [9][10]

Vice President of the United States

On July 15, 2016, Donald Trump chose Mike Pence as his vice-presidential running mate. Immediately after the announcement, Pence said that he was “very supportive of Donald Trump's call to temporarily suspend immigration from countries where terrorist influence and impact represents a threat to the United States.” [11], [12]

In November 2016, Trump announced that Pence would be taking over leadership of Donald Trump's transition team, replacing Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey, The New York Times reported. [13]

In his role on the Trump Transition team, Politico reported that Pence was influential as a mediator between Trump and republicans, as well as assisting Trump on Cabinet picks. “Pence’s importance as a link between the White House and GOP lawmakers is likely to grow as Trump turns to pushing through an ambitious legislative agenda,” Politico reported. [14]

Koch Ties

David Koch has personally given more money to Mike Pence than any other candidate, with records indicating he gave $200,000 to Pence and his running mate in 2012 when he ran for governor of Indiana, plus $100,000 to pence individually in 2016 before he withdrew to run for Vice President. [50][49]

According to Scott Peterson at the Checks & Balanced Project, the Project hadn't found “much money going from the Kochs to Pence before he promoted the ‘No Climate Tax’ pledge,” but after he signed the pledge to fight against climate change legislation, “he was the Kochs’ guy, and they’ve been showering him with money ever since.”  [51]

While the Koch Brothers largely stayed outside of the 2016 presidential race, the Washington Post notes that several of Pence's top aides have worked inside the Koch brothers' corporate and political networks.  [3]

The Nation reports that Mike Pence has been a “loyal political ally” of the Koch Brothers for years. “Pence has employed many top Koch staffers in his political offices, and vice-versa, while a steady flow of Koch money has filled Pence’s campaign accounts,” George Zornick writes at The Nation. [15]

Indiana is one big free market, [and] much like Koch Industries, Mike Pence … picks the right fights,” said pollster Kellyanne Conway in 2014. Conway is just one of many people who have worked with both Pence and groups in the Koch network.

In 1991, Pence became president of the Indiana Policy Review Foundation (IPRF). While small at the time, IPRF grew thanks to extensive support from the Koch network of donors. When Pence moved to Congress, both Koch Industries and Koch Enterprises were major donors. [16]

While governor of Indiana, Pence made some of the largest tax cuts in the state's history. They were applauded by Koch groups, including the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity (AFP). Tim Phillips, AFP president, told applauded Pence: “He’s made Indiana a leader when it comes to moving forward with greater economic freedom,” he told the Washington Post. [17]

There are numerous staff connections between Pence and the Koch network including Marc Short. Short was Pence's former advisor and chief of staff, after which he became president of Freedom Partners, a group Politico described as “The Koch Brothers' Secret Bank.” Short later joined Marco Rubio's presidential campaign in February 2016. [18], [19]

Pence had also hired Matt Lloyd, a former communications director for Koch Industries, after he experienced political backlash to his unpopular “Religious Freedom” law. Lloyd had also been a prior staffer to Pence in Congress before leaving for his Koch job. [15]

Stance on Climate Change

September 2016

Mike Pence said the following during an appearance on CNN's “New Day” with hose Chris Cuomo: [20]

“The reality is that this climate change agenda that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton want to continue to expand is killing jobs in this country. 

Look, we can develop all of the resources of this country. We can end the war on coal and continue to develop clean coal technology. […] 

Well, look, there's no question that the activities that take place in this country and in countries around the world have some impact on the environment and some impact on climate.”

July 2016

Media Matters notes that Pence is a climate science denier. When asked whether he believed climate change was man-made, Pence responded: “I don't know that that is a resolved issue in science today.” Pence added: “Just a few years ago, we were talking about global warming. We haven't seen a lot of warming lately. I remember back in the ‘70s we were talking about the coming ice age.” [21]

February 2014

In a 2014 interview with Chuck Todd, Pence said he doesn't know if man-made climate change “is a resolved issue in science today” and later added, “We'll leave the scientific debates for the future.” [22] 

April 2015

Kara Brooks, press secretary for Gov. Pence, told The Star Press: “The governor continues to keep an open mind about the science behind the cause of climate change but does not believe that it has been fully resolved yet.” [23]

April 24, 2009

Pence is signatory to the “No Climate Tax” pledge, created by the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity. Signatories to the pledge promise to “oppose any legislation relating to climate change that includes a net federal increase in federal government revenue”: [47], [48]

After Pence signed the pledge, the number of signatories from the U.S. House Republican Party quickly increased from 13 to 156 by November 2010, Scott Peterson of the Checks and Balanced Project noted. [49]

April 2008

On Earth day, The Star Press asked Pence whether he agreed with this statement: “The time for doubt has passed. Scientific experts have clearly affirmed that our climate system is warming, as is evident from increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global average sea level.” [23]

He agreed.

The Star Press asked Pence whether he agreed with this statement: “This warming is directly linked to human activity. Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in greenhouse gas concentrations.”

Pence: “I would not agree that there is broad consensus on man-made or human activity being the proximate cause of global warming. I think there is more diversity of opinion among many scientists in this area of discipline than most people realize. I don't think global warming as caused by human activity is a settled question in the scientific community.”

The Star Press asked Pence whether he agreed with this statement: “Global warming will lead to impacts on weather, agriculture, species, ecosystems, fisheries, coastlines, low-lying areas, vegetation, and drinking water that are abrupt or irreversible.”

Pence:  “Claims of catastrophic consequences in global warming are not reflective of the majority of the opinions even among IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) scientists … “

The Star Press asked Pence whether he agreed with this statement: “Local, state and federal governments should take action to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.”

Pence: “I think it is appropriate for particularly the federal government to encourage investment in new, clean, alternative technologies. But I think it should be done in a way that puts the broad interests of the American people first. If we were to embrace the more draconian proposals being advocated by some in Congress and the environmental movement we could see as much as a 20 percent increase in utility bills for Hoosiers.”

April 2006

After evangelical Christian leaders signed a full-page advertisement in The New York Times below the headline, “Our commitment to Jesus Christ compels us to solve the global warming crisis …”

Pence Said, “A lot of these men and women are wonderful leaders in the evangelical community, and I respect their right to be heard on issues unrelated to their expertise. Every American has that right. (But) any fair reading of the science today, while global warming has taken place, it is not yet clear that it is being driven by human activity. But I'm trying to read as much as I can. And my mom used to say 'better safe than sorry,' so I am glad the energy bill authorized construction of a number of nuclear power plants in this country, which represents electric-generating facilities that don't produce so-called greenhouse gases. … It seems to me that this issue has such a significant ability to have an enormous drain on our economy and on our national economic vitality that we should simply let the science drive it.” [23]

July 2002

Put me down as a profound skeptic in this debate. I’ve been on the record on that and haven’t changed. The theory of global warming is just that — a theory. I look no further than the broad majority of climatologists and climate experts in the world who recognize it as a theory. It is a minority that recognizes it — as much as the national media does — as fact.

Certainly we ought to study it. We only have one planet, and we ought to be investing the dollars to finding out what’s going on with our planet. (But) the evidence is simply not there to establish global warming as a scientific fact. It’s a political fact, but until it becomes a scientific fact, I think we need to proceed very slowly and cautiously about the development of policy to confront it.” [23][24]

2000

An archived version of Mike Pence's congressional website includes a page on the “Global Warming Disaster.” Choice excepts below: [25]

“Global warming is a myth. The global warming treaty is a disaster. There, I said it.

“Just like the 'new ice age' scare of the 1970's, the environmental movement has found a new chant for their latest 'chicken little' attempt to raise taxes and grow centralized governmental power. The chant is 'the sky is warming! the sky is warming!'. The only problem is that many Americans, including Vice President Al Gore, didn't learn of their deceit the last time around and are buying this new bit hook, line and sinker. 

“Here's the deal. Environmentalists claim that certain 'greenhouse gases' like carbon dioxide are mucking up the atmosphere and causing the earth to gradually warm. Despite the fact that CO2 is a naturally occurring phenomenon in nature, the Greenpeace folks want to blame it all on coal (another natural mineral) and certain (evil) coal burning power plants. The theory is; get rid of the (evil) coal burning plants and we save the planet from imminent doom.

“Several problems arise when one considers the issue of global warming.

“First, the earth is actually cooler today than it was about 50 years ago. In fact, most climatologists agree that, at best, global warming is a theory about future climactic conditions and cannot be proven based upon the historic record. 

“Second, the greenhouse gases alluded to are real but are mostly the result of volcanoes, hurricanes and underwater geologic displacements. Regrettably, none of these causes can be corralled by environmentalists hungry for regulation and taxes and, therefore, must be ignored.  

“Third, even if there was global warming (there isn't), the Global Climate Treaty brokered by Vice President Al Gore in Kyoto, Japan last year is hardly the answer. ” [25]

Key Quotes

June 24, 2015

Pence sent a letter to President Obama, rejecting the Clean Power Plan: 

“I reject the Clean Power Plan and inform you that absent demonstrable and significant improvement in the final rule, Indiana will not comply.” [10]

July 2010

Following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster which killed 11 people and spilled millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, Pence called for more offshore drilling: [26]

“The president’s relentless effort to stop deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico is threatening to ruin an already devastated economy,” Pence said. [26]

June 2009

“If the Democrats' cap and trade bill were to become law, estimates suggest that the average American family would face up to $4,300 a year in extra energy costs and anywhere between 1.8 and 7 million American jobs could be lost.”

“This national energy tax amounts to an economic declaration of war on America's families, small businesses and family farms.  The American people know we can do better.” [27]

May 2009

“In the mainstream media, Chris, there is a denial of the growing skepticism in the scientific community about global warming.” [28]

April 2009

“I think, rightly understood, the cap and trade legislation represents an economic declaration of war on the Midwest by liberals in Washington, D.C. I really believe Democratic climate change legislation will cap growth and trade jobs. If ever there was a time that Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Illinois were unable to take the impact of what amounts to a national  energy tax, it's a time like this.” [23]

April 27, 2009

The reality is, the cap-and-trade legislation offered by the Democrats amounts to an economic declaration of war on the Midwest by liberals on Capitol Hill.” [29]

2000

“Time for a quick reality check. Despite the hysteria from the political class and the media, smoking doesn't kill.” [30]

Key Deeds

July 2015

In a news conference with the industry advocacy group American Energy Alliance (AEA), Pence encouraged more states to follow his lead in fighting against President Obama's Clean Power Plan. Pence described Indiana as a “proud pro-coal state.” [9]

We do have a choice,” Pence said. “You can refuse to submit a state plan. You can challenge the EPA’s ability to impose a federal plan. There’s nothing illegal about saying ‘no’ on behalf of ratepayers and businesses in your state.” [9]

Pence was meeting with Thomas Pyle, president of the American Energy Alliance. Pyle stated that “The sheer enormity of having to potentially deal with a dozen or so federal implementation plans would overwhelm the EPA to the point where they would probably have to throw up their hands,” Pyle said. Thomas Pyle was chosen to head Trump's “Energy Transition Team” in December, 2016. [9]

June 24, 2015

Mike Pence sent a letter to President Obama, stating that Indiana would refuse to comply with the Clean Power Plan unless there was “significant improvement” to it. [10]

“Your approach to energy policy places environmental concerns above all others,” he wrote to Obama. “As I wrote to
Administrator McCarthy on December 1, 2014, the proposed rules are 'ill-conceived and poorly constructed' and they exceed the EPA’s legal authority under the Clean Air Act.”

March 26, 2015

Mike Pence is known for signing a controversial “religious freedom” bill, Senate Bill 101, also titled the Religious Freedom Restoration act (RFRA). Opponents argued would make it easier to discriminate against LGBT people. 

“Today I signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, because I support the freedom of religion for every Hoosier of every faith,” Pence said in a statement after he signed Senate Bill 101. “The Constitution of the United States and the Indiana Constitution both provide strong recognition of the freedom of religion but today, many people of faith feel their religious liberty is under attack by government action” he said. [31]

Thousands of people protested against the bill in Indiana, claiming it was a covert move to discriminate against gay people. A number of business leaders also criticized the bill: [32]

“Angie's List is open to all and discriminates against none and we are hugely disappointed in what this bill represents,” company chief executive Bill Oesterle said.

While opponents argued that the bill serves as a license to discriminate against LGBT people on religious grounds, Pence responded:

This bill is not about discrimination, and if I thought it legalized discrimination in any way in Indiana, I would have vetoed it,” he said. [33]

July 9, 2014

Mike Pence sent a letter to members of the Indiana Congressional Delegation, suggesting they use the appropriations process as a method to deny the Obama administration funding to implement its climate change policy: [34]

 “Using the power of the purse, Congress has the ability to block or prevent implementation of the EPA’s proposed regulations on new and existing power plants. I respectfully urge you to support legislative efforts to do so,” Pence wrote in the letter. [34]

September 2, 2009

Mike Pence chaired the Energy Summit in Columbus, an event also featuring House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH), Rep. Steve Austria (R-OH), Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-OH), Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-OH), and Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH). It was a part of a series of House GOP-hosted Energy summits designed to oppose the Democrats' national energy tax and to “promote a better solution, the American Energy Act.” [35]

Individuals representing industry including the the National Black Chamber of Commerce to the Ohio Coal Association appeared at the event to oppose an increased national energy tax. [35]

DeSmog reported that the event attracted more protestors than those attending the event. According to ProgressOhio.org, over 50 protesters turned out to heckle the GOPers for their ‘stone age’ efforts to ignore the threat of climate change. [36], [37]

May 2009

Mike Pence appeared on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews. Video and excerpts below. [28]

“Well let me tell you. I think the science is very mixed on the subject of global warming, Chris. […] I'm all for clean air, I'm all for clean coal technology. I'm sure reducing CO2 emissions, that'd be a positive thing. 

“You're going to see Republicans like at our Energy Summit today, you're going to see us oppose this massive national energy tax and the cap-and-trade. But you're also going to see, Chris, republicans come out with an all-of-the-above strategy.”

“In the mainstream media, Chris, there is a denial of the growing skepticism in the scientific community about global warming.”

“We're going to promote clean coal technologies, give incentives, but we're not going to raise a national energy tax.”

Thinkprogress reported on the interchange, noting that pence also said he believes in creationism: [38]

PENCE: “Uh, do I believe in evolution? I embrace the view that God created the Heavens and the Earth, the Seas and all that’s in them. The means that he used to do that, I can’t say, but I do believe in that fundamental truth.” [38]

Did you take biology in school?” asked an incredulous Matthews. “If your party wants to be credible on science, you gotta accept science. … I don’t think your party is passionately committed to science, or fighting global warming, or dealing with the scientific facts we live with.” [38]


Tell me what you really think, Chris,” Pence retorted. “This anti-science thing is a little bit weak.” [38]

DeSmog reported that during his three appearances on MSNBC, Pence “lied twice about the cost of reducing carbon emissions and asserted that global warming is a liberal myth.” [39]

Pence and other GOP leaders had claimed that transitioning to a greener economy could cost up to $3,128 per American family. The GOP claimed this figure was based on an MIT study co-authored by economist John Reilly.  [39]

Reilly has pressed the GOP to stop misrepresenting his study, saying the GOP is “just wrong. It’s wrong in so many ways it’s hard to begin” to explain, Reilly said.  Reilly told Climate Progress that “apart from the misrepresentation of the costs” by the GOP, “it is inappropriate to draw conclusions on the costs of Waxman-Markey” from a study published two years ago that doesn’t model key cost-containment provisions, such as the use of offsets. [40], [41]

Reilly sent multiple letters to GOP leaders explaining their error to them, however they had not stopped from continuing to misrepresent it. [42]

Pence repeated it Tuesday on MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough and again later in the day in an interview with MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell. Neither correspondent challenged Pence for quoting the repeatedly debunked statistic. [39]

April 2009

Mike Pence headed a “mock climate hearing” at the Capitol Visitor Center attacking the the Waxman-Markey “American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009,” at that time being debated in congress. DeSmog noted that “the 'hearing' might as well be called the Summit of Dirty Fuels Industry Apologists.” [43]

Pence invited John Engler, former Governor of Michigan and current president of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), and a range of other oil and coal industry representatives claiming cap-and-trade legislation are harmful to consumers and the economy. [43]

Among the “handful of other experts,” according to Politico, are unnamed “scholars from the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute, the president of Laredo Petroleum and a former official at the Environmental Protection Agency.” [44]

The hearing is part of the GOP’s plan for a “communications offensive over the next four weeks” to assert that the Waxman-Markey climate legislation “amounts to a national energy tax that will destroy jobs and increase costs for every single American.”  [45]

Affiliations

Committees [46]

  • House of Representatives Agriculture Committee — 2001 - 2006
    • Subcommittees on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management, and Livestock and Agriculture
  • Science Committee — 2001-2002
    • Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics
  • Committee on International Relations (renamed Foreign Affairs in 2007) — 2003-2012
    • Subcommittees on International Terrorism, Non-Proliferation and Human Rights — 2003-2004
    • Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation — 2006
    • Subcommittee on The Middle East and Central Asia (renamed Middle East and South Asia in 2007) — 2003-2008. Vice-chair (2011 - 2012)
  •  Judiciary Committee —  2003-2008 and 2011-2012
    • Subcommittees on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property — 2003-2006
    • Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition, and the Internet — 2011-2012
    • Subcommittee on rime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security in — 2003-2006 
    • Subcommittee on Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties — 2007-2008
    • Subcommittee on The Constitution (Vice Chair) 2011-2012

Resources

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  4. Mike Pence, '86, to Become Vice President January 20,” Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, December 13, 2016. Archived December 21, 2016. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/2Uveh

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  11. Donald Trump announces Mike Pence as VP pick – as it happened,” The Guardian, July 15, 2016. Archived December 21, 2016. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/OHgyd

  12. Theodore Schlepper and Olivia Beavers. “Pence 'very supportive' of latest version of Trump Muslim ban,” CNN, July 16, 2016. Archived December 21, 2016. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/bDONt

  13. Michael D. Shear, Maggie Habermas, and Michael S. Schmidt. “Vice President-Elect Pence to Take Over Trump Transition Effort,The New York Times, November 11, 2016. Archived December 21, 2016. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/OBMzn

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  27. (Press Release). “Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) Delivers Weekly Republican Address,” Christian News Wire, June 13, 2009. Archived December 20, 2016. Archived .mp3 on file at DeSmog. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/AgfFe

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  29. Alex Isenstadt. “Cap and trade hits speed bumps,” Politico, April 27, 2009. Archived December 20, 2016. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/mAWbG

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  31. (Press Release). “Governor Pence Issues Statement Regarding the Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” IN.gov, March 26, 2015. Archived December 20, 2016. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/gGvix

  32. Thousands march in Indiana to protest law seen targeting gays,” Reuters, March 28, 2015. Archived December 20, 2016. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/RbEGO

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  34. “Dear Members of the Indiana Congressional Delegation” (PDF), State of Indiana Office of the Governor, July 9, 2014. Retrieved from BNA.com. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

  35. Kevin Boland. “House GOP Holds Energy Summit in Ohio, Highlights Better Solutions for Clean Energy,” Speaker.gov, September 3, 2009. Archived December 20, 2016. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/iLtL4

  36. Brendan DeMelle. “Protesters Outnumber Attendees At Ohio GOP ‘Energy Summit’,” DeSmog, September 2, 2009.

  37. Bret Thompson. “More Protest Outside GOP Energy Event Than Attendees,” ProgressOhio.org, September 2, 2009. Archived September 6, 2009. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/5s88B

  38. Pence: I’m Not ‘Anti-Science’…But I Don’t Believe In Global Warming, Stem Cell Research, Or Evolution,” ThinkProgress, May 5, 2009.Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/ATKI4

  39. Kevin Grandia. “GOP Rep. Pence Says “Science is Very Mixed” on Global Warming, Lies Again Twice About MIT Study on MSNBC,” DeSmog, May 7, 2009.

  40. Soon Rhee. “Warring over warming,” Boston.com, April 2, 2009. Archived October 19, 2011. Archive.is URL:  https://archive.is/GJZWj

  41. “Exclusive: MIT Professor says GOP, Weekly Standard 'misrepresentation' of his April 2007 study to project costs for Waxman-Markey is 'inappropriate,'silly' and 'just wrong',” ThinkProgress, April 23, 2009. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/cDipP

  42. Lee Fang. “EXCLUSIVE LETTER: MIT Professor Tells Boehner To Stop ‘Misrepresenting’ Green Economy Legislation,” ThinkProgress, April 1, 2009. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/RaB3f

  43. Kevin Grandia. “GOP to host 'Mock Climate Hearing' (a.k.a. Coal/Oil-apalooza 2009),” DeSmog, April 30, 2009.

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