Energy Equality Coalition

Energy Equality Coalition (EEC)

Related Profiles

Background

The Energy Equality Coalition (EEC) was launched in December 2015 with the goal of “fighting to end taxpayer subsidies and ensure a level playing field for middle-class American energy consumers” by fighting against subsidies for electric vehicles (EVs) and infrastructure. [40]

George Landrith, President and CEO of Frontiers of Freedom (FoF), is listed in on the Energy Equality Coalition board as the group's Treasurer, according to public SCC filings. Speaking with The Weekly Standard about the launch of the EEC, Landrith also outlined the group's purpose: [1][2]

“Working-class people are paying taxes to subsidize luxury goods for the richest among us,” Landrith said. “That's wrong and needs to stop. So we're launching the Energy Equality Coalition to raise awareness about this imbalance and end the subsidy behind it. We believe there should be energy equality, not special treatment for the wealthy.” [2]

EEC's President/Secretary (“P/S” in SEC filing) is listed as Horace Cooper. Cooper is also a director of the National Center for Public Policy Research (NCPPR), and senior fellow of both The Institute for Liberty (IFL) and the Heartland Institute. Cooper formerly worked with Richard (Dick) K. Armey, who went on to chair FreedomWorks until leaving the organization in 2012. FreedomWorks was formed as a merger between Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE) and Empower America. CSE was founded by the Koch brothers in 1984 in an effort to promote deregulation. CSE/Freedomworks received as much as $12,331,712 in Koch funding from 1986 to 2002, according to Greenpeace data. The IFL does not disclose its funders.[10], [48][11], [12]

According to his staff profile at NCPPR, Cooper is co-chairman of Project 21's National Advisory Board where he “averages over 400 talk radio appearances per year.” NCPPR describes Project 21 as “the National Leadership Network of Black Conservatives” and as an initiative “to promote the views of African-Americans whose entrepreneurial spirit, dedication to family and commitment to individual responsibility has not traditionally been echoed by the nation’s civil rights establishment.” [46], [47]

Landrith's Frontiers of Freedom (FoF) is a front group funded by Koch-controlled foundationsPhilip MorrisExxonMobil, Scaife Family Foundations, and a range of other conservative and industry groups. Landrith is an adjunct professor of the Koch-funded George Mason University (GMU), while many of the FoF senior staff maintain GMU connections. As reported by Greenpeace, FoF has received over $335,000 from Koch-controlled foundations while GMU and its affiliated centers have received a combined total of at least $95,563,146 from Koch sources. [1], [3], [4], [5]

Both Cooper and Landrith have taught at George Mason University (GMU), one of the largest recipients of Koch funding of any organization. Many of the Frontiers of Freedom staff also share a GMU connection. While the direct funding of EEC is unknown, EEC's statements have consistently aligned with Koch interests in the past on issues like the “Ratepayer Fairness Act” which would critically examine public funding of rooftop solar panels and vehicle charging stations. As documented at KochVsClean.comKoch Industries has been behind a multimillion dollar attack on electric vehicles that has resulted in similar campaigns like the now-defunct Fueling US Forward (FUSF)[41][15][2][5]

According to their website, “The Energy Equality Coalition is fighting to end unfair subsidies and ensure a level playing field for American energy consumers. The EEC works to educate the public about energy policies that disproportionately benefit the richest among us at the expense of working-class Americans. We believe there should be balance in energy policies, not special treatment for an elite few who can afford to take advantage of them.” [6]

EEC & Fueling US Forward Overlap

The EEC's efforts have echoed those of the now-defunct pro-fossil-fuel group Fueling US Forward (FUSF), and their representatives have appeared at the same events. Early investigations by Peter Stone at HuffPost revealed that Koch Industries hoped “to spend about $10 million dollars per year to boost petroleum-based transportation fuels and attack government subsidies for electric vehicles” on a then-unnamed plan. The campaign, proposed by Koch Industries board member, James Mahoney, and Charles Drevna, aimed “to boost petroleum-based transportation fuels and attack government subsidies for electric vehicles.” The FUSF website launched in August 2016, and the group was publicly debuted at the Red State Gathering 2016 with Drena as FUSF President and CEO. [49], [50]

For example, EEC Director Horace Cooper gave a speech on energy policy at a conference also attended by Charles Drevna, FUSF's President and CEO. As reported at The New York Times, that conference was part of an effort by Koch and FUSF to court minority groups while promoting cheap energy and the fear that minorities have the most to lose with rising energy prices. [45]

Before shutting down their website and YouTube accounts, FUSF released a series of videos portraying electric vehicles as “a new favorite toy” for millionaires and billionaires while “you're stuck with the bill.” [7][8]

Similarly, the EEC released a video portraying electric vehicles as “Built by Billionaires […] for millionaires […] subsidized by the rest of us.” The following video is featured on the EEC's homepage:

The EEC's website features a petition to “tell your elected officials to say no to utility rate increases to subsidize the electric car industry.” [9]

DeSmog has consistently reported on and debunked the videos of FUSF. DeSmog launched KochVsClean.com on August 14, 2016 in order to further examine the Koch's role in funding the Fueling U.S. Forward campaign and other attacks on clean energy technologies and innovation. Many of these same attacks on electric vehicles have been imitated by organizations like the Energy Equality Coalition.

Stance on Climate Change

EEC does not appear to have an official stance on climate change, despite its consistent opposition of electric vehicles. According to The Weekly Standard:

“For now, the group is starting with a focus on electric cars, but sources close to the group tell THE WEEKLY STANDARD that the group could expand its focus to other subsidies, particularly ones that disproportionately benefit the wealthy.” [2]

2015 

In 2015, Horace Cooper appeared on Thom Hartmann's “The Big Picture Rumble” panel where he argued against climate change regulations: [44]

“Poor people are disproportionately impacted by climate change regulation policies,” Cooper said. “They're overwhelmingly going to be the front line of those harmed by these policies.” [7:41]

Funding

Weekly Standard article promoting the launch of the EEC in December of 2015 notes that “It's not clear who funds the group.” [2]

According to research from Greenpeace, Frontiers of Freedom has received at least $335,000 from Koch foundations between 1997 and 2015. [51]

Key People

Directors/Officers (2017)

According to EEC's most recently available SCC eFiling: [1]

  • Horace Cooper — President/Secretary
  • George Landrith — Treasurer
  • David Williams — Director

Horace Cooper is also director of the National Center for Public Policy Research (NCPPR), a free market think tank that has received donations from ExxonMobil and Scaife Foundations while combatting climate change regulations. He is also senior fellow of both The Institute for Liberty (IFL) and the Heartland Institute, the second of which has been at the forefront of promoting denial of man-made climate change. Cooper formerly worked with Richard (Dick) K. Armey, who went on to chair the Koch-Funded FreedomWorks until leaving the organization in 2012. Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE), founded by the Koch brothers in 1984, was the precursor to Freedomworks. CSE and Freedomworks combined received as much as $12,331,712 in Koch funding from 1986 to 2002, according to Greenpeace data. [10], [11], [12]

George Landrith is President and CEO of Frontiers of Freedom (FoF), an ExxonMobil- and tobacco-industry-funded think tank that has described itself as “the antithesis to the Sierra Club and Vice President Al Gore's Earth in the Balance.” Landrith is also an adjunct professor at George Mason University, an Koch-funded institution where a number of other FoF staff have training or affiliations.[13], [3], [14], [15] 

Other People

  • Amanda Henneberg — Spokeswoman. [16]

Amanda Henneberg worked on presidential nominee Mitt Romney's campaign as deputy press secretary, and formerly served as communications director for U.S. Rep. Robert Hurt (R-VA), television communications advisor to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and as a Regional Press Secretary at the Republican National Convention, among other positions. According to her LinkedIn profile, she is COO of Cavalry, LLC “a cutting-edge issue management firm.” [42], [43]

Actions

May 14, 2018

EEC promoted a Politico story that suggested “there is no economic or environmental justification” for subsidies for electric vehicles (EVs). The story was written by Jonathan Lesser, the author of a Manhattan Institute (MI) report opposing EV subsidies. MI has received over $1 million from ExxonMobil, and millions more from Scaife Foundations, and dark money groups like Donors Capital Fund and DonorsTrust. EEC also appears to have deleted all other activity on its Twitter account, save for four posts on the Politico article. [52], [53]

“Congress should immediately terminate those electric-vehicle tax credits, which just benefit the wealthy,” the article read.

Via @politico, read more about how “there is no economic or environmental justification” for the electric car industry's corporate welfare subsidized by ratepayers and taxpayers. https://t.co/Q112t2OSXl

— Energy Equality (@EnergyEquality) May 15, 2018

December 1, 2016

EEC released two videos on its YouTube channel. The first is titled “Stop Corporate Welfare for the Electric Car Industry”: [17]

The second video, titled “The Hidden Cost of Electric Cars” points to a press release by EEC and an accompanying study by the research firm Arthur D. Little, which EEC claims “raises alarm about the environmental damage caused in the production of Electric Vehicles and offers fresh data on the high price of owning one.” [18]

Fueling US Forward linked to the same study in their debunked “Dirty Secrets of Electric Cars” video. Jeff Cobb, editor-in-chief of HybridCars.com, wrote a detailed debunking of the Fueling US Forward video, which shares many of the same claims as the EEC's. [19]

Regarding the FUSF’s second paragraph, they were able to squeeze in no less than six outright factual inaccuracies,” Cobb said, going into further detail: [19]

“1) None of the metals in modern electric car batteries are classified as being a human or plant toxicity concern; (2) None are considered particularly rare in occurrence or hard to extract; (3) None are classified as 'rare earths;' (4) Lithium is not a rare earth metal; (5) Cobalt is not a rare earth metal; (6) Only cobalt is mined primarily in China and DRC, and the rest of battery metals (which make up the majority of the battery) are extracted elsewhere. And many other countries produce cobalt, including Canada which produces almost the same amount as China. And hand mining only makes up a very small portion of extraction and is already being banned by Apple and others. So the notion that electric cars depend on the mining shown in the video is misleading.” [19]

July 18, 2016

George Landrith, EEC board member, wrote at The Hill, outlining EEC's support for Congressman Mike Pompeo Senator Jeff Flake's “Ratepayer Fairness Act.” [20]

“The appropriately named Ratepayer Fairness Act is an uncontroversial way to ensure utilities focus on the pocketbooks of those most vulnerable to rising electricity prices,” Landrith wrote. “At the Energy Equality Coalition, we believe authorities should consider the working poor before requiring them to subsidize technology they could never afford. That's why our coalition supports The Ratepayer Fairness Act and urges members of the Conference Committee to preserve it in the final bill.” [20]

EEC also offered a summary of the Ratepayer Fairness Act on its website, claiming it would combat subsidies for “certain technologies that only benefit a few customers (e.g., electric vehicle charging stations and rooftop solar net metering).” [21]

According to public lobbying disclosures, the Ratepayer Fairness Act was one of several issues that Koch Industries Inc. lobbied for in 2017 and 2016. [22]

EEC later wrote a follow-up statement supporting the act[16]

“The House passed energy bill includes a ratepayer fairness provision that aims to protect working-class Americans from covering the costs of special energy technologies used only by the wealthy,” said spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg. “We believe authorities should consider the working poor before requiring them to subsidize technology they could never afford. That's why our coalition supports The Ratepayer Fairness Act and urges members of the Conference Committee to preserve it in the final bill.” [16]

2015/2016 (Undated)

The Energy Equality Coalition submitted a Change.org petition to Senator Lisa Murkowski and Representative Fred Upton arguing in favor of the “Ratepayer Fairness Provision” of The North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act (Section 1107 of H.R. 8). The petition claims to have achieved 4,941 supporters, however individual names are not provided and only one comment was received on what appears to be one year after the petition closed. [23]

Related Organizations

North Rock Reports, LLC & Holtzman Vogel Josefiak Torchinsky

According to EEC's SCC eFiling, the EEC's registering agent is North Rock Reports, LLC. North Rock Reports has registered other groups such as Protect America's Consumers. North Rock Reports is located at the same address as the law firm Holtzman Vogel Josefiak Torchinsky, which Politico wrote “specializes in untraceable pressure groups for conservative causes.” [24][1], [25], [26]

Jill Holtzman Vogel, a senator and partner in the firm, describes it as specializing “in charity and non-profit organizations, election law, and ethics.” [27]

in 2012, Bloomberg reported that the law firm was connected to groups that had spent over $250 million on the 2012 election, including Karl Rove’s American Crossroads. Bloomberg described the firm as “a boutique outfit that specializes in advising organizations that want to participate in the electoral process without disclosing who’s paying their bills.” [28]

They push the envelope and take aggressive positions in court and on advice,” David Vance, a spokesman for the Campaign Legal Center, told Bloomberg. The firm is “involved in the assault on disclosure and every other campaign finance law left on the books.” [28]

In 2015, the firm represented the Pursuing America’s Greatness PAC before the U.S. District Court in D.C. [29]

The “Principal” for North Rock Imports appears to be Chris Marston, who describes himself as a “Campaign Finance Compliance Consultant” and is also the Principal of Election CFO, LLC according to his LinkedIn. HuffPost reported that Marston was also the only name attached to The Hillary Project, which described itself as a “non-profit, non-partisan, advocacy committee” dedicated to preventing Hillary Clinton from becoming president. Marsten formerly held a number of appointments in the Bush administration. [30], [31]

Other companies filed in the Virginia SCC with a registered agent listed as North Rock Reports, LLC include:

Contact & Address

EEC's “Registered Agent” is North Rock Reports, with the following address: [1]

NORTH ROCK REPORTS, LLC
45 NORTH HILL DRIVE
SUITE 100
WARRENTON VA

Social Media

The Energy Equality Coalition maintains a Twitter account with over 1,000 followers, despite not having a single tweet. On Facebook, the EEC maintains an account with over 40,000 likes and 40,000 followers, despite having only five posts and minimal likes on content.

Resources

  1. 2017 Annual Report: Energy Equality Coalition,” Commonwealth of Virginia State Corporation Commission. Archived November 15, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/9wphC

  2. Jim Swift. “New Group Launches to Zap Electric Car Subsidies,” The Weekly Standard, December 17, 2015. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/kNHpf

  3. Anne Marie Chaker. “Conservatives Seek IRS Inquiry On Environmental Group's Status,” The Wall Street Journal, June 21, 2001 (subscription required).

  4. About,” Frontiers of Freedom. Archived November 16, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/SWzaS

  5. Frontiers of Freedom: Koch Industries Climate Denial Front Group,” Greenpeace. Archived November 15, 2017.

  6. Study Exposes Hidden Cost of Electric Vehicles,” Energy Equality Coalition. Archived November 16, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/QDsWz

  7. Hidden Costs of Electric Cars,” YouTube video uploaded by user “Fueling U.S. Forward” on July 11, 2017. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

  8. Ben Jervey. “Koch-Funded Fueling US Forward Shuts Down, But Koch Attacks On Clean Energy Continue,” DeSmog, October 19, 2017.

  9. Act Now,” Energy Equality Coalition. Archived November 15, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/6KHZU

  10. The National Center For Public Policy Research Current Board Of Directors” (PDF), National Center for Public Policy Research, May 13, 2015. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog.

  11. Exclusive: Dick Armey Quits Tea Party Group in Split Over Direction (UPDATED),” Mother Jones, December 4, 2012. Archived November 15, 2017.

  12. Citizens for a Sound Economy (disbanded – now FreedomWorks): Koch Industries Climate Denial Front Group,” Greenpeace USA. Archived March 14, 2017. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/NJnFT

  13. ExxonSecrets Factsheet: Frontiers of Freedom, FoF. Accessed November 15, 2017. 

  14. Frontiers of Freedom Mission Statement,” Frontiers of Freedom. Archived August 16, 2000. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog.

  15. About,” Frontiers of Freedom. Archived November 15, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/9NmSS

  16. EEC URGES ENERGY CONFERENCE TO PRESERVE RATEPAYER FAIRNESS,” Energy Equality Coalition. Archived November 15, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/J1eRR

  17. Stop Corporate Welfare for the Electric Car Industry,” YouTube video uploaded by user “Energy Equality Coalition,” December 1, 2016. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

  18. STUDY EXPOSES HIDDEN COST OF ELECTRIC VEHICLES,” Energy Equality Coalition. Archived November 15, 2017. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/Oyus2

  19. Jeff Cobb. “Oil Lobbyists’ Video Takes Cheap Shots At Electric Cars,” HybridCars, July 17, 2017. Archived November 15, 2017. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/A6BEy

  20. George Landrith. “Finally some fairness for electricity ratepayers,” The Hill, July 18, 2016. Archived November 15, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/mDtKC

  21. RATEPAYER FAIRNESS ACT,” Energy Equality Coalition. Archived November 16, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/QPtGo

  22. Koch Industries,” OpenSecrets. Accessed November 15, 2017.

  23. Americans Shouldn't Subsidize Energy for the Rich,” Change.org. Archived November 16, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/kzd6C

  24. “Isaac Arnsdorf. “More anti-CFPB shenanigans,” Politico, January 7, 2017. Archived November 15, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/4EjA8

  25. Libby Watson. “Dark money group spends $58,000 attacking Consumer Financial Protection Bureau,” Sunlight Foundation, April 26, 2016. Archived November 15, 2017. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/yh2Mx

  26. Contact,” HoltzmanVogelJosefiakTorchinsky PLLC Attorneys at Law. Archived November 15, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/nfYwT

  27. About Jill,” Jill Holtzman Vogel. Archived November 16, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/Gfjor

  28. Alison Fitzgerald. “Rural Law Firm Shields $262 Million in Secret DonationsBloomberg, December 5, 2012. Archived May 16, 2016.

  29. PURSUING AMERICA’S GREATNESS, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. FEDERAL ELECTION COMMISSION, Defendant-Appellee” (PDF), USCA Case #15-5264. Filed December 16, 2015. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

  30. Chris Marston,” LinkedIn. Accessed November 15, 2017. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

  31. Don’t Like Hillary? Slap Her Around, Say Republicans,” HuffPost, August 7, 2013. Archived November 15, 2017. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/SqKZj

  32. “Conservative Victory Project,” Commonwealth of Virginia State Corporate Commission. Archived November 15, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/SJRll

  33. Vets For Freedom, Inc.” Commonwealth of Virginia State Corporate Commission. Archived November 16, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/Z2uqc

  34. 2017 Annual Report: Protect America's Consumers, Inc.“ Commonwealth of Virginia State Corporate Commission. Archived November 16, 2017.

  35. “Re: Digital Freedom, LLC,” Commonwealth of Virginia State Corporate Commission, November 23, 2015.

  36. 2015 ANNUAL REPORT: Black Americans for a Better Future” (PDF), Commonwealth of Virginia State Corporate Commission. 

  37. “2014 ANNUAL REPORT: Americans for a Better Future,” Commonwealth of Virginia State Corporate Commission.

  38. “2012 ANNUAL REPORT: Red, White and Blue Fund,” Commonwealth of Virginia State Corporate Commission.

  39. 2014 ANNUAL REPORT: America Restored,” Commonwealth of Virginia State Corporate Commission.

  40. Energy Equality Coalition Homepage, Archived November 16, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/rkGyj

  41. Biography,” Horace Cooper. Archived November 16, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/w5UOi

  42. Amanda Henneberg,” Red Alert Politics. Archived November 16, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/H4r7K

  43. What We Do,” Cavalry LLC. Archived November 16, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/0Qmke

  44. Horace Cooper on Trans Fat Ban, Pope's Climate Change Encyclical,” YouTube video uploaded by user “National Center for Public Policy Research,” June 25, 2015. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

  45. Hiroko Tabuchi. “Sensing Gains Ahead Under Trump, the Kochs Court Minorities,The New York Times, January 5, 2017. Archived November 17, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/bGwNl

  46. Horace Cooper,” National Center for Public Policy Research. Archived November 17, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/WMb1q

  47. ABOUT PROJECT 21,” National Center for Public Policy Research. Archived November 17, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/a4I6M

  48. HORACE COOPER,” The Heartland Institute. Archived November 17, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/o5W21

  49. Peter Stone. “The Kochs Are Plotting A Multimillion-Dollar Assault On Electric Vehicles,” The Huffington Post, February 19, 2016. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/jXPA4

  50. Sharon Kelly. “New Koch-Funded Group ‘Fueling US Forward’ Aims to Promote the 'Positives' of Fossil Fuels,” Desmog, August 14, 2016.

  51. Frontiers of Freedom: Koch Industries Climate Denial Front Group,” Greenpeace. Accessed January 3, 2018.

  52. Via @politico, read more about how “there is no economic or environmental justification” for the electric car industry's corporate welfare subsidized by ratepayers and taxpayers,” Twitter post by @EnergyEquality, May 15, 2018. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

  53. Jonathan Lesser. “Are electric cars worse for the environment?Politico, May 15, 2018. Archived June 21, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.li/qULwD

Other Resources