Dark Money — Very Dark Money — Is Behind Natural Gas Bans
Shepstone Management Company, Inc.
Robert Bryce is doing some very heavy lifting the natural gas industry has been far too slow to do; he is fighting the corporatist dark money behind gas bans.
The natural gas industry has a problem. It keeps fighting the stupid ideology of fractivists hoping to get them to change their minds. Or, it tries to counter the ideology with facts and accusations of hypocrisy. Sadly, the facts don’t matter when it comes to true believers in a substitute religion and hypocrisy is worn like a badge of honor by the trust-funders who enable the believers. Robert Bryce, though, is stepping up to the plate and hitting home runs against the real enemy; the corporatist dark money outfits who are funding all of it in pursuit of political power and money, which are yin and yang.
Bryce has written two wonderful posts on the subject; “The Billionaires Behind The Gas Bans” and now “The Dark Money Behind The Gas Bans,” both of which get to the real point, the real source of the evil that is threatening our civil society, not with just natural gas bans, but also attacks on free speech and so much else. It is the corporatist NGOs and non-profit, tax-exempt foundations who are use their billions to control every possible thing, including us, so as to direct everything materially valuable to themselves.
Here are some excerpts from Bryce’s latest:
Since last month, when I published “The Anti-Industry Industry,” I have been delving into the myriad interconnected NGOs that are pushing for bans on natural gas. This dark money network has a skein of overlapping funders, directors, and employees. Rewiring America, which has about 40 employees, is among the most prominent members of this dark money network. The group doesn’t publish its budget or file a Form 990. Instead, it is a sponsored project of the Windward Fund, a 501c3 non-profit that does not disclose its donors. Nor does it reveal how much it is giving to Rewiring America.
Although it is impossible to know exactly how much dark money is being shuffled among groups like the Windward Fund, Rewiring America, and others, my tally shows that just four of the dark money NGOs behind the gas bans have combined budgets of about $820 million. Thus, as you can see in the graphic below, by themselves, those four anti-industry groups are spending about 83% of the amount that is being spent by the top 25 NGOs that support traditional energy sources.
Indeed, despite claims from legacy media outlets about the influence of the hydrocarbon sector, the truth is undeniable: the overwhelming majority of the money, media coverage, and momentum in the debate over energy policy and climate change is on the side of the anti-hydrocarbon and anti-nuclear energy NGOs. And one of their top priorities is banning the use of natural gas in homes and businesses.
Rewiring America was founded by Alex Laskey, Saul Griffith and Ari Matusiak. All three have been involved in various ventures in the wind, solar, electrification and energy efficiency sectors. Of the three, Griffith, an Australian who was awarded a fellowship by the MacArthur Foundation in 2007, gets the most attention. On its website, Rewiring America cites Griffith’s 2020 book, which is also called Rewiring America, in which he claims “we can still address the threat of climate change, but only if we respond with a massive war-time mobilization effort to transform the fossil fuel economy into a fully electrified one, run on wind, solar, and other renewable energy sources.”
Note the lack of any mention of nuclear energy. Also unmentioned: attempting to run the economy on weather-dependent renewables would require paving vast tracts of rural America with obscene numbers of noisy, 600-foot-high, bird- and bat-killing wind turbines and endless oceans of landscape-ravaging solar panels. Also unmentioned: attempting to electrify everything would require doubling or tripling the amount of electricity produced in the country, an effort that would require mining, smelting, and fabrication of staggering amounts of copper, steel, aluminum, and other metals. Also unmentioned: nearly all of the alt-energy supply chains depend on China.
In 2020, Griffith made it clear that Rewiring America’s aims are political and that it would be working to influence policymakers at all levels of government. He wrote that “We have to rewrite the federal, state, and local rules and regulations that were created for the fossil-fueled world and are preventing the U.S. from having the cheapest electricity ever.” Earlier this month, while I was in Japan, I watched a fawning profile of Griffith on ABC Australia. In the segment, Griffith said on camera that Rewiring America had “to become a lobby group” and it had to “write policy.” The segment included an interview with U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich, a Democrat from New Mexico, who said “A lot of the work that Rewiring America did ended up in the climate bill.”
Has Griffith or Rewiring America been lobbying federal officials? If it has, the group has not registered to do so. A search of federal lobby records for the U.S. House of Representatives shows no record for Griffith or Rewiring America. A similar search of lobby registration for the U.S. Senate turned up no records…
In addition to Rewiring America and Windward Fund, the other prominent members of the dark money network are the United States Energy Foundation, Energy Innovation LLC, Rocky Mountain Institute, and Climate Imperative Foundation.
The Energy Foundation has been in the middle of the Left’s dark money network for years. Influence Watch says “Energy Foundation describes itself as a nonpartisan ‘grantmaker’ with a focus on building a ‘new energy’ economy. In reality, it is a medium for bundling vast sums of money from donors to far-left political causes, under the guise of philanthropy.” In 2020, Energy Foundation had revenue of $186 million. (Guidestar does not have the group’s 2021 Form 990.) And like Windward Fund and other 501c3s, it does not list its donors.
Energy Foundation lists more than 100 staff on its website. Its board members include Gina McCarthy, who was a climate advisor to President Biden. Before that job, McCarthy headed the Natural Resources Defense Council, the giant anti-nuclear NGO that shamelessly cheered about its role in the premature closure of the Indian Point nuclear plant in New York.
Last June, McCarthy (who has since left the Biden administration) declared that she was in favor of having big tech companies censor speech involving climate change. In an interview with Axios, she said “tech companies have to stop allowing specific individuals over and over again to spread disinformation.”
Then, in an ironic statement, given the amount of dark money that is being deployed by the anti-industry industry, McCarthy claimed, “Now it has moved from denial, but the dark money is still there. The fossil fuel companies are still basically trying their best to make sure that people don’t understand the challenge of climate.”
The Energy Foundation has been a major funder of the Rocky Mountain Institute. Its 2020 Form 990 shows a grant of $496,000 to the group. In 2019, the group gave grants to the Rocky Mountain Institute and the Sierra Club Foundation.
I took a special interest in seeing Bryce focus on the Energy Foundation because I have had my own eyes on it for a very long time. Indeed, I wrote a post on the subject of this completely disingenuous group (“America’s Plutocrats and PovertyKeepers, Part II“) over eight years and noted the following:
Earlier this week, the Washington Free Beacon‘s superb investigator Lachlan Markay, ran another in his series of posts digging into the background of Nathaniel Simons and his Sea Change Foundation…
What more interests me, though, is something else; the total unaccountability of the Simons fund-raising operation and the way it has gone to great pains to hide where the money comes from. They are deeply involved in trying to influence US policy and direct events here with money they gather from who knows where and then spend tax-free in their interests through a charity known as the Sea Change Foundation. I’m no fan of Obama’s efforts to discourage charity in favorite of government but, if there was ever a case for clamping down on abuse by charitable organizations this is it. The Simons family represents America’s new class of plutocrats and they are abusing the system at the expense of the rest of us, who they view as mere serfs.
Markay outlines some of the beneficiaries of this dark money in his post…
Numerous groups on this list are in the fractivist camp but notice how much money went to the Sierra Club and NRDC alone – over $5 million…
Then, there is the Energy Foundation, which recycles and helps further launder Sea Change Foundation money. It, too, receives considerable money from the Schmidt Family and Google Foundations, America’s newest plutocrats, who make it a point to fleece the taxpayers as well. Here is how the Energy Foundation spends it’s money on fractivism:
The NRDC, in other words, received another $2.8 million of this dark Sea Change Foundation money through the Energy Foundation, bringing its total to nearly $5 million. The Sierra Club got another $1.2 million, bringing it up to a total take of a little over $4 million. But, look who else is funded; Environment America (the phony pictures and data people), EarthJustice (the lawyers who handled represented the anti-fracking side in the New York home rule case), the Rockefellers (who also fund the NRDC), the Public Citizen Foundation (which, together with the Energy Foundation, NRDC and the Rockefeller Family Fund financed the dishonest Environmental Integrity Project), Earth Island Institute (which funds Energy Justice Summer), PennFuture (which joined hands with the Delaware Riverkeeper to challenge gas well permits in Central Pennsylvania), Earthworks (the people who engineered the Denton, TX ban using college students), Headwater Economics (the faux economics firm Jannette Barth loves to cite) and, of course, the Sustainable Markets Foundation (which finances Gas Free Seneca, the Flowback, etc.).
It’s all the same people doing the same things under different flags using the finances of Park, Rockefeller, Heinz, Simons and Schmidt; America’s new (and old) plutocrats. The money comes from the filthiest of rich in the filthiest of ways and is laundered so many times the corners of the bills have turned white, but it’s still dark money. The useful idiots from local fractivist groups are financed without a clue as to who is really supplying the money or who is really directing the fire.
That was almost a decade ago and there’s much, much more. Bryce, thankfully, is bringing it all forward and adding greatly to the evidence now with a voice that resonates and is, I hope, heard by an industry and a civil society that has only the vaguest notion of the war in which we are currently engaged with the corporatist cartel of NGOs who are nothing more than old-fashioned robber barons. I also hope he gets to the solution, which is total reform of our tax-exemption policies. Every dollar that claims tax-exemption must be fully disclosed to the public. Let’s see the industry get behind that! It’s the only way to end the NGO tyranny, by getting the dark money out of the system.
P.S. Check out Big Green, Inc. for the latest on Energy Foundation tax-exempt influence peddling. Even better take a gander at their Sea Change Foundation data.
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