The American Values Network will launch advertisements in the Washington, D.C., area today, accusing Graham of backing away from a comprehensive bill in favor of the type of energy and climate approach he has previously characterized as "half-assed."
Graham helped author a cap-and-trade climate bill with Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), but he backed away from those negotiations in April over an unrelated political battle involving immigration. He has since added new reasons keeping him from the bargaining table, including the lack of interest in expanding offshore oil drilling in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
"With Senator Graham now abandoning bipartisanship for precisely the type of energy bill he previously dismissed as 'half-assed,' it's hard to understand how he maintains any credibility on what is doable on energy policy in this Congress," said Eric Sapp, executive director of the American Values Network.
Sapp said Graham has taken "a principled stand on what he knew was right" for most of the debate. The group ran an ad campaign in South Carolina in February supporting his initial efforts to pass comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation.