Former Republican Congressman Ryan Costello refused to support a carbon tax up until the point he was paid to.
Ryan Costello, the former Congressman from Pennsylvania who retired at the end of last Congress, is now the Managing Director of Americans for Carbon Dividends – a group which lobbies Congress to enact a carbon tax.
What makes Costello’s new employment advocating for a carbon tax particularly interesting is that he voted against a carbon tax while still a member of Congress.
In June of 2016, Costello voted for the Scalise anti-carbon tax resolution which stated, “a carbon tax will increase energy prices, including the price of gasoline, electricity, natural gas, and home heating oil,” and “that a carbon tax would be detrimental to American families and businesses, and is not in the best interest of the United States.”
However, when the same legislation came up for a vote again last July, Costello was the sole Republican who refused to go on record for the vote and answered “present” rather than giving an up or down vote.
Costello’s decision to vote “present” was made after he decided to not seek reelection for Congress after serving only two terms, which he announced on March 25, 2018. On January 7, 2019 – just four days after his term in office officially ended – Costello announced he would be joining the Americans for Carbon Dividends, the advocacy arm of the Climate Leadership Council.
As a sitting member of Congress, Costello was only ever on record as opposing a carbon tax. Now he is paid to convince other Congressmen to back one – something he himself refused to do.
In 2018, Americans for Carbon Dividends spent $300,000 lobbying on a carbon tax and has spent $150,000 in the first quarter of 2019 alone. All lobbying expenses are for hiring the lobbying firm Squire Patton Boggs. Conveniently, former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott and former Senate Deputy Majority Whip John Breaux are Co-Chairs of Americans for Carbon Dividends – both of whom are Senior Counsels at Squire Patton Boggs.
You can view the details of the carbon tax that Costello now advocates for here.