Sen. Barrasso's Gun Is Not Smoking

May 13, 2009 1:16 pm ET

In a May 13, 2009 blog post on The Hill's "Congress Blog," Senator Barrasso wrote: "Yesterday I exposed a 'smoking gun' White House memo to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The memo warns that regulation of small CO2 emitters will have 'serious economic consequences' for businesses and the overall economy." The reality is that the White House did not say that, and all Senator Barrasso exposed was an ability to ignore the facts.

Sen. Barrasso Falsely Claimed A Memo Prepared By A Bush Administration Holdover's Office Was Prepared By The White House

Sen. Barrasso: "The memo - marked as 'Deliberative-Attorney Client Privilege' - doesn't have a date or a named author. But an OMB spokesman confirmed to news agencies that it was prepared by Obama administration staff." [The Hill, 5/13/09]

Reality: The Comments In Question "Came From Staff At The Small Business Administration's Office Of Advocacy." The Atlantic said: "According to an administration official, the comments, which were collected by the Office of Management and Budget and sent to the EPA, came from staff at the Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy." [The Atlantic, 5/12/09]

Reality: The Small Business Administration's Office Of Advocacy Is Run By A Bush Holdover And Its Regulatory Reviews Are Handled By Joseph M. Johnson. According to The Atlantic: "The previous 'chief advocate' left before President Bush's term expired, and Bush installed a temporary chief to manage the transition. That chief -- Shawne McGibbon -- remains in charge of the OOA and its staff. According to this directory, regulatory reviews are handled by someone named Joseph M. Johnson. Johnson once served as a research fellow at the Mercatus Institute at George Mason University, an organization that is well respected and takes a skeptical view of government regulation." [The Atlantic, 5/12/09]

Reality: The Mercatus Institute Receives Funding From ExxonMobil And The Koch Foundation. As Media Matters Action Network previously reported, when Joseph Johnson worked at the Mercatus Center in 2004, it received $40,000 from ExxonMobil and $777,500 from the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, the beneficiary of an oil and chemical fortune. [Mercatus Center, accessed 5/13/09;, accessed 5/13/09]