Oil Money Trump Biden

GOP Lawmakers Press Democrats To Investigate Russian Funding For US Environmental Groups

For years we heard the tired lie that former President Donald Trump was Vladimir Putin’s pawn, and collaborated with the Kremlin to win the 2016 election and undermine America’s electoral system.

Yet, as it turned out, it was Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee that hired Russian operatives to dig up dirt on Trump, which was used in an effort to not only sway the election but to snap shut a political bear trap on Trump’s presidency.

What if the liberal narrative about the energy industry followed similar lines. Two Florida Republicans want to find out.

On Wednesday, the leaders of Big Oil will appear before Congress to testify about the current problems with gas prices. The Democrats’ fairy tale is that we’re being exploited by these companies that only seek to pad profits at American drivers’ expense.

But last week 20 GOP lawmakers sent a letter to New York Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney, chairwoman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, demanding an investigation into whether Russia is infiltrating U.S. environmental groups to pressure lawmakers to crack down on Big Oil.

Among those who signed the letter were Reps. Scott Franklin of Lakeland and Byron Donalds of Naples.

“We write to request that you hold a hearing to examine the coordinated effort by Russian entities to finance domestic environmental non-governmental organizations (NGO) to reduce the energy security of the United States,” the letter states.

“Specifically, the Committee should demand answers from these organizations regarding their potential financial connections to Russia and probe their promotion of anti-energy policies that ultimately benefit Russia’s geopolitical interests to the detriment of the United States.”

The committee, the lawmakers add, must “shine a spotlight on alarming reports of Russia’s attempt to buy influence in U.S. politics through domestic environmental groups.”

According to their letter, Russia’s energy sector also fuels Putin’s “militaristic” ambitions. The authors cited a BBC report that said 39 percent of Russia’s budget is funded by its energy industry.

“Russian energy also plays a role in deterring the international community from opposing Russian aggression,” they added, since according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, more than 30 countries rely on Russian oil, natural gas and coal “to power their economies and heat their homes.”

“Putin knows that its energy sector creates internal political tension in countries that want to oppose Russia’s Ukraine invasion, but these countries also fear higher energy prices,” they wrote. Additionally, “Putin has made it clear that U.S. energy production weakens Russia’s global influence.”

They cite reports from former Obama administration and NATO officials who shared that Putin was acutely concerned about America’s energy production, especially from fracking, would dilute Russia’s influence.

The letter points out that Anders Rasmussen, former secretary-general of NATO, claimed that U.S. allies had noted Russia was “engaged actively” with NGOs to “discredit” fracking through “their sophisticated information and disinformation operations.”

“The goal of this campaign was to generate and maintain as much European and American dependence on Russian energy,” the letter argued.

As one example, the lawmakers pointed out that during the Obama years a hedge fund manager with a direct connection to the Russian state-owned company Rosneft gave $23 million to an environmental NGO that subsequently contributed $100 million in grants to groups like the Sierra Club, the Center for American Progress, the US Climate Action Network, and the Natural Resource Defense Council.

This funding in turn fueled activism against Big Oil in the U.S. under the guise of curtailing climate change and reducing fossil fuel sales and exploration.

“Given the impact that Russia’s control of the European energy market has had in the lead up and prosecution of the war in Ukraine, it is critical that Congress gains a better understanding of the role that Russian financing has had in shaping American environmental policy and sentiment,” the GOP lawmakers wrote.

They then asked Maloney to convene a hearing to probe NGOs about their financial links to Russia and “their willingness to push foreign propaganda that interferes with U.S. energy policies and interests.”

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