Koch brothers

'Conceivably the Worst': Groups, Lawmakers Blast Confirmation of Climate Denier to FERC

Read time: 4 mins
Bernard McNamee

By Lorraine Chow, EcoWatch. Reposted with permission from EcoWatch.

Bernard McNamee, a climate change denier who helped write the Trump administration's failed coal and nuclear bailout plan, was confirmed Thursday as a commissioner on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

The Senate approved the nominee on a straight party-line vote of 50-49 after Sen. Joe Manchin, the pro-coal Democrat of West Virginia, withdrew his support due to his concerns about McNamee's stance on climate change.

President Trump's nomination of the fossil fuel lawyer as one of the FERC's five commissioners was strongly opposed by environmentalists, public health groups and elected leaders.

Dark Money Paid New Trump Attorney General Matthew Whitaker’s Salary for 3 Years

Read time: 5 mins
Matthew Whitaker

Today, President Donald Trump announced on Twitter that Matthew G. Whitaker, who served as chief of staff for Attorney General Jeff Sessions, would replace his boss. Sessions was forced from office a day after the midterm elections, which were rough for climate and anti-fracking measures around the country.

Whitaker was appointed as Session’s chief of staff on September 22, 2017. Before that, he served for three years as the executive director of the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), which describes itself as “a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting accountability, ethics, and transparency in government and civic arenas.”

FACT has come under fire for its own lack of transparency, with the Center for Responsive Politics calling attention to FACT’s funding, which in some years came entirely from DonorsTrust, an organization also known as the “Dark Money ATM of the Conservative Movement” and whose own donors include the notorious funders of climate denial, Charles and David Koch.

Kochs' Americans for Prosperity Group Launches Campaign to Crush Fuel Economy Standards

Read time: 3 mins
Shell station sign showing gas prices around $5.00 a gallon in 2008

Americans For Prosperity (AFP), a political advocacy network funded by the petrochemical billionaire Koch brothers, recently launched a campaign to support President Donald Trump’s efforts to roll back fuel efficiency and automobile emissions standards.

Through social media feeds of the many AFP state chapters, the group is promoting a petition to “Repeal Costly Obama-era Fuel Standards.”

Koch-Funded Groups—Yet Again—Speak Out Against Electric Vehicle Tax Credits

Read time: 6 mins
Nissan Leaf Electric car charging in front of San Francisco City Hall

A coalition of thirty conservative free-market advocacy organizations — the majority of which have clear ties to Charles and David Koch through their funding or leadership — have sent a letter to House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) urging that Congress halt any expansion of the electric vehicle tax credit, or scrap it entirely.

How Supreme Court Pick Brett Kavanaugh Could Return US Policy to the Era of Robber Barons

Read time: 8 mins
Brett Kavanaugh

As Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination hearings get under way, understanding his appointment’s potential impacts for corporate regulation and the climate means looking back all the way to 1890.

That was when a nearly 50-year stretch known to legal historians as the “Lochner era” kicked off — a time better known in U.S. history as the age of the robber barons.

Led by Sempra Energy, 'Global Natural Gas Coalition' Launched with Trump Admin and Labor Union in Fold

Read time: 8 mins
Arctic Lady LNG tanker

San Diego-based Sempra Energy has spearheaded the launch of a group called the Global Natural Gas Coalition to promote exports of gas obtained via fracking (hydraulic fracturing) to the global market. Sempra is a natural gas utility giant and liquefied natural gas (LNG) export and import company.

Announced at a June 25 gathering at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., the Global Natural Gas Coalition features other participants such as the American Petroleum Institute (API)LNG Allies, the American Gas Association, American Chemistry Council, and others, according to its event page on the website Eventbrite. The RSVP information for the Press Club event features the contact information for Paty Mitchell, a spokeswoman for Sempra, and the company's representatives consisted of eight out of the 78 attendees of that event, according to the Eventbrite page.  

Also attending the event were officials from several agencies in the Trump administration. They included Mark Menezes, Elise Atkins, Christine Harbin, Jessica Szymanski, and Sara Kinney of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE); Deaver Alexander, William Thompson, and Stephen Morel of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (a federal agency focused on helping “American businesses invest in emerging markets”); Scott Condren of the U.S. Export-Import Bank; and John McCarrick of the U.S. Department of State.

i360

i360

Background

i360 advertises itself as a data science, analytics, technology, and advertising company that maintains a “comprehensive data resource of all voting Americans” as a database of over 290 million consumers, 199 million of which are active voters. [1]

Michael Palmer founded i360 after working as chief technology officer for Senator John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign, Politico reported. [2]

Read time: 8 mins

Exxon Leaving ALEC: Important But Insufficient Step in Addressing Company's History of Climate Science Denial, Campaigners Say

Read time: 3 mins
Exxon Mobil forecourt

ExxonMobil has announced it will leave the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a corporate lobby group known for its attempts to block climate action. Campaigners cautiously welcomed the decision, though said Exxon had to do more to prove it was committed to addressing climate change.

Exxon’s decision comes after opposition to ALEC’s attempt last December to get the Environmental Protection Agency to abandon its position that climate change proposes a risk to human health.

What's Wrong With Secret Donor Agreements Like the Ones George Mason University Inked with the Kochs

Read time: 5 mins
George Mason University faculty and students protest Koch influence on their school

By Alexa Capeloto, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

George Mason University President Ángel Cabrera acknowledged this month that his school gave the Charles Koch Foundation “some influence” over hiring and evaluating faculty as it accepted millions of dollars for its free-market research center, the Mercatus Center.

This news rankled the academic world, but it perhaps didn’t come as a surprise. Many scholars saw this as just the latest revelation of strings-attached giving with an ideological slant — another encroachment on the sacrosanct idea that teaching and research at universities, especially public ones like George Mason, must be immune from outside influence.

Charles Koch

Read time: 26 mins

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