As Kos pointed out, the LA Times reports that James "outraged about the outrage" Inhofe has adopted the well-worn wingnut tactic of intimidating opponents when the facts are inconvenient. In this case, as chair of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, he demanded that a witness who testified in opposition to the president's "Clear Skies Initiative" turn over financial records.
Beyond the passage Kos quotes, there are a few things to note about this story. First, the witness in question was not some ecoterrorist but an Ohio state environmental regulator speaking on behalf of two organizations of state and local officials. Not only that, but he voted for Bush in 2000 and 2004. Second, while the request for financial records is invasive and offensive, it might be marginally less so if it were the practice of the committee to ask all witnesses for the same. As you might well imagine, the witness was singled out for such treatment.
Dems on the committee are understandably afraid to speak out since they are still in the midst of negotiations over the bill. Waxman, with nothing to lose on the House side, in the meantime will take up their cause. And for the record, a representative of the groups says they do not accept outside financial support of the sort Inhofe is fishing to find.
But there is another dimension to the story which might be amusing if it weren't so disturbing. Recall that six weeks ago Inhofe gave a speech not only praising Michael Crichton's new anti-global warming novel but saying it ought to be required reading for all senators, as I blogged at the time. No, not for a special edition of Oprah's book club, but because this novel -- a novel! -- is meant to tell us something real about the dark underbelly of scientific research into climate change and the wild-eyed tree huggers who support it.
As further evidence that Inhofe cannot distinguish between fantasy and reality, he is treating this Republican state bureaucrat as though he were an ecoterrorist out of Crichton's novel, simply because he opposed the president's proposal. As I said, it would be amusing if it weren't so disturbing.