Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s new book claims her presidential campaign never proposed a tax on carbon dioxide emissions because they “couldn’t make the math work” to keep costs down.
That’s a very different story than what was suggested in leaked emails between Clinton campaign officials. Those emails suggested polling influenced the campaign’s decision on a carbon tax.
“To be clear: it’s lethal in the general, so I don’t want to support one,” Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook wrote in a June 2015 email to press secretary Brian Fallon.
Clinton’s book “What Happened,” set for release Tuesday, is the former First Lady’s own version of why she believes President Donald Trump was able to beat her in the 2016 election.
Clinton, unsurprisingly, lays most of the blame on factors like sexism and Russian meddling, but her book also includes a passage on why her campaign did not join Democratic primary opponent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in endorsing a carbon tax.
“Interestingly, some Republican elder statesmen such as former U.S. Treasury Secretaries James Baker and Hank Paulson recently proposed a nationwide carbon dividend program that would tax fossil fuel use and refund all the money directly to every American,” Clinton wrote in her book.
“We looked at this for the campaign as well, but couldn’t make the math work without imposing new costs on upper-middle-class families, which I had pledged not to do. Still, it’s tantalizing,” wrote Clinton, according to a copy of the book obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation.
But that seems to gloss over on key point made by Clinton campaign officials — a carbon tax didn’t poll well.
“We have done extensive polling on a carbon tax. It all sucks,” Clinton campaign chair John Podesta wrote in a January 2015 email to campaign aides. It was one of thousands of emails leaked by Wikileaks during the 2016 presidential election.
Center for American Progress senior fellow Pete Ogden authored several memos for the Clinton campaign in 2014 and 2015 that included the economics of carbon tax policies.
A March 2015 memo looked at a gradually rising $42 per ton carbon tax-and-dividend plan where revenues are handed out to American families in the form of rebates. Families would pay an extra $1,300 in energy costs a year, on average, but would get a $1,573 rebate.
Ogden wrote “the increase in the cost of non-energy goods and services would disproportionately impact low-income households,” and would need to be offset by energy rebates.
“I don’t recall any polling to guide us, but I’d be a bit nervous about rushing to say we’d never support such a tax,” Mook wrote in the June email. “Bernie I assume DOES support such a tax and it could be fodder for him if we say unequivocally now that we don’t support one.”
“To be clear: it’s lethal in the general, so I don’t want to support one,” Mook wrote. “But don’t want to give bernie contrast right now. So if there’s a way to re-state principles and say she’ll announce something in the next few weeks, that would be great.”
The Clinton campaign never proposed a carbon tax, but officials did signal they would be open to such a policy were Congress to put forward legislation.
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