Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) coined a new term to describe the push for climate change action: "environmental jihad."
In a fundraising email to supporters on Tuesday, Johnson hit back at the League of Conservation Voters (LCV), an environmental advocacy group, for a new ad campaign attacking the senator and other climate change deniers in Congress.
"The League of Conservation Voters is one of the many attack dog groups used by President Obama, the Democrats and the extreme left to weaken, defeat and silence conservatives," Johnson wrote in the email. "They use TV ads -- filled with smears -- because they work."
"The League of Conservation voters is not an organization with a balanced approach to a cleaner environment," he added. "They are an extreme left group on an environmental jihad."
Johnson also asked his supporters for an "urgent donation" to help him respond to the group's attack ads "with the truth." The senator issued his call for help in response to LCV's Monday announcement of the new ad campaign, but before the senator had even seen the ads themselves -- LCV said the ad targeting Johnson will be released on Wednesday.
The group's advocacy arm announced the $2 million campaign Monday, targeting Johnson and House Reps. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), Dan Benishek (R-Mich.) and Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) in their districts. The spots will run for two weeks both on TV and online.
"The American people are tired of Washington politicians ignoring basic scientific facts and standing in the way of action on climate change," LCV president Gene Karpinski said in a release. "This ad campaign shows that members of Congress won’t be able to sweep their extreme, anti-science voting records under the rug."
Johnson does not face voters again until 2016, but has never been one to mince his words when asked about global warming. The Wisconsin Republican once said climate change was caused by "sunspot activity," and likened President Barack Obama's green energy proposals to the policies of the Soviet Union and Cuba.
Obama unveiled his environmental agenda in June in a highly-publicized speech, in which he announced a series of executive orders aimed at curbing climate change and adequately preparing Americans for its consequences. Republicans were quick to denounce many of the president's initiatives, prompting groups like the LCV and Organizing for Action to ramp up their efforts to draw attention to the conservative lawmakers who dismiss climate change and global warming altogether.
UPDATE: The LCV released its ad against Johnson later Wednesday, pointing out that the senator has accepted more than $100,000 in political donations from members of the oil and gas industry.
"Ron Johnson must be nervous about this ad because he’s responded with inflammatory rhetoric without even seeing it first," LCV spokesman Jeff Gohringer said in a statement. "Senator Johnson knows he can’t defend his extreme anti-science views and the last thing he needs is for his constituents to find out about them."