Updated: Thursday, 01 Jul 2010, 6:32 PM EDT
Published : Thursday, 01 Jul 2010, 6:07 PM EDT
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - Did Dan Coats take one position on the controversial cap-and-trade proposal as a lobbyist and then a different one as a candidate? That's what Democrats say.
It's an example of why Democrats are making an issue of the time Coats spent as a Washington lobbyist. It's easy for them to connect him to any number of controversial issues and difficult for Coats to explain away the charges.
In this case, the lobbying client is New York hedge fund manager Julian Robertson, an advocate of the cap-and-trade proposal that would create an energy tax in the effort to reduce carbon emissions.
In 2007, Robertson hired King and Spalding, the Washington lobbying firm Dan Coats worked for. Printed reports at the time linked the two.
Now, on the campaign trail, Coats is telling audiences that cap and trade would devastate Indiana.
State Democratic Chairman Dan Parker said, "This shows the hypocrisy of the Dan Coats campaign."
In fact, Democrats pounced, producing lobbying reports that document big money spent by Robertson for work done by King and Spalding, documents that list Dan Coats as a lobbyist on both environmental and climate change issues.
"He has said when he actually released his lobbying clients that he never took a client that he didn't agree with," says Parker. "Well, here's a case where he's now saying that he did disagree with it. So, you really can't trust anything that comes out of his mouth."
What Coats actually said was that clients "met his standards."
What he's saying now, through a spokesman, is that he never advocated for cap and trade.
And that's where this gets tricky. The Coats spokesman, Pete Seat, says Coats did provide lobbying services for Julian Robertson. But those services, he says, fall in the category of legislative updates that he didn't advocate for cap and trade, just did things like inform Robertson when a bill was filed or voted on.
By the way, Democratic Senate candidate Brad Ellsworth voted against cap and trade.