Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) said Thursday night that environmentalists spent far more money lobbying than the energy industry.
While he was debating his latest book, The Greatest Hoax, with MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, she confronted him about the fact that the energy companies were his top campaign donors.
Inhofe replied by saying that there was no "big oil." He cited a study that purported to find that environmental groups spent nearly twice as much money as the energy industry.
"So you think that the environmental groups have more money they spend on this issue [climate change] than the entire energy industry?" a skeptical Maddow asked.
"Absolutely," Inhofe replied confidently. "You get the MoveOn.org, the George Soros, the Michael Moores, all the Hollywood elites and all your good friends out there. Yeah, they sure do."
"I would put Michael Moore up against Exxon on this any day," Maddow said laughing.
The study in question was highly controversial, with prominent critics claiming the study's data contradicted its own conclusions.
"Propelled by an ultra wealthy donor base and key alliances with corporations and other organizations, the environmental movement appears to have closed the financial gap with its opponents," said Matthew Nisbet, associate professor of communication at American University, who wrote the report.
However, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, environmental groups spent $22.4 million on lobbying efforts in 2009, while the energy industry spent $175 million.