Where Was Exxon Ernst When Iowa Really Needed Her to ‘Stand In Support’ of the RFS?


Will the Real Joni Ernst Please Stand Up: One Minute Ernst Is ‘Philosophically Opposed’ to the RFS and Headlining a Big Oil Fundraiser, The Next She’s ‘Standing In Support’ of the RFS at the Iowa State Fair


Washington DC (August 8, 2014) – In response to the Joni Ernst event today at the Iowa State Fairgrounds to ‘renew her support for a strong RFS’, pro-ethanol group Americans United for Change has two questions: Where has Ernst been and why should we believe her now?  For months, Ernst has stressed her ‘philosophical opposition’ to the Renewable Fuel Standard and did not bother to submit a comment when the EPA was asking for input on their proposed 2014 rule scaling back the RFS.  Now six months after the EPA’s open comment period ended, Ernst is suddenly the RFS’s biggest fan. The timing of Ernst’s pro-RFS event is convenient as it follows a week of bad headlines about her cozy relationship with Big Oil. 


First came the revelation that Exxon Mobil and the American Petroleum Institute were hosting a ritzy fundraiser for Ernst in Washington. Then came Ernst’s admission that she’s not ‘uncomfortable’ taking campaign money from Big Oil in response to an Americans United for Change radio ad questioning whether Ernst stands with Iowa jobs or Big Oil’s bottom line. Ernst’s campaign further clarified her position: “In a perfect world, in a free market, [Ernst] would support doing away with (the RFS), but that’s not the case.”  Then came the news that Ernst was toasted at another fundraiser, this time with like-minded Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), co-author of the Renewable Fuel Standard Repeal Act.


Jeremy Funk, Communications Director, Americans United for Change: “Joni Ernst’s out-of-the-blue pro-RFS event today smacks of desperation and inauthenticity. This is someone who regularly bashed the RFS during her primary. This is someone who admits she’s not ‘uncomfortable’ taking Big Oil money hand over fist at the same time they spend millions of dollars to put ethanol out of business and kill 73,000 Iowa jobs.  This is someone who just this weekend was rubbing elbows with Senator Ted Cruz, a guy who is actively pushing anti-ethanol legislation that would put a Texas-sized dent in Iowa’s economy. And now Ernst wants Iowa voters to believe she’s been a champion for ethanol all along?  It’s an issue of credibility, and Joni Ernst is running on empty.”


A Timeline of Joni Ernst’s Waffles on the RFS: