For Immediate Release:
August 24, 2015
E&E Legal Releases Report Exposing Coordination Between Governors, the Obama White House and the Tom Steyer-“Founded and Funded” Network of Advocacy Groups to Advance the “Climate” Agenda
Washington, D.C. — Today, the Energy & Environment Legal Institute (E&E Legal), a 501 (c) (3) watchdog group, released an investigative report, Private Interests & Public Office: Coordination Between Governors, the Obama White House and the Tom Steyer-“Founded and Funded” Network of Advocacy Groups to Advance the “Climate” Agenda (and an appendix of source documents), revealing a vast, coordinated, three-track effort by public officials and private interests to promote EPA’s expansive, overreaching and economically devastating greenhouse gas rules, specifically the section 111(d) regulation to shut the nation’s fleet of existing coal-fired power plants, as well as the December Paris climate treaty President Obama is expected to sign to replace the Kyoto Protocol.
“Our report pulls the curtain back on a carefully planned and heavily funded ‘orchestration’ by individuals who have placed their personal interests ahead of the public interest,” said Chris Horner, E&E Legal’s Senior Legal Fellow and the report’s author.
The report is the product of open records requests over the course of a year at the federal level and nearly 30 offices in over a dozen states. The exposé contains appendices with over a hundred pages of source emails and attachments. It details a campaign to use public offices, in very close collaboration with wealthy benefactors, to advance and defend President Obama’s climate change regulatory and treaty agenda. This quasi-governmental campaign involves more than a dozen governors’ offices, with a parallel advocacy network and political operation funded and staffed by activists paid through ideologically , economically and politically motivated donors.
The report released today points to emails obtained by E&E Legal’s campaign without litigation, but also in federal district court; others are the subject of oral arguments made last week in court in Richmond, Virginia, and a new suit just filed against the Governor of Kentucky. The latter complaint objects to a false “no records” claim — about records that this report proves do in fact exist, and even quotes from, but which are being kept from the public by a governor who claims to be appalled by EPA rules his office was quietly a “core group” promoter of for the past two years.
This report is timely given President Obama’s ongoing tour to promote the same EPA rules that these governors and “major environmental donors” scheme to promote in the correspondence released today. This includes a stop today at Harry Reid’s “clean energy economy” conference, curiously also sponsored by the same donors as those playing a leading role in today’s report.
Indeed these emails E&E Legal uncovered also show this campaign was developed with the early, active support and participation of the White House, which went beyond enthusiastically embracing the plan and follow up meetings and calls, to even directing the governors to what one green trade-press outlet calls a “shadowy group” affiliated with then-Chief of Staff John Podesta. The White House’s followup actions , as one governor’s aide praised them, were “moving dials”. Podesta also convinced the governors’ offices that their plan should be broken into separate, complementary pillars. The latest email obtained, from May of this year, shows the governors’ campaign arranging to coordinate with the State Department.
The scheme took shape at a meeting in the White House in December 2013, after which the Obama administration launched coordinated with the “core group” of activist Democrat governors to design one of what we see are three tracks to promote the climate agenda. One was run by the Steyer network and left-wing foundations. Another is run by governors with green groups, which are “useful” but whose “standard NGO shaming strategy might not deliver”. A third, run by the White House includes, in the words of a senior aide, “a few other tracks with private sector and unusual allies”.
Nearly every aspect of this effort, from the key early players to the funders and even the director the governors’ campaign hired — housed by some state’s taxpayers in the Hall of States in Washington, DC, overhead paid for by as-yet unknown means — has direct ties to a scandal involving “clean energy” donors and conflicts of interest, one which felled Oregon’s sitting governor earlier this year.
In what is possibly the most intriguing element, seemingly out of an episode of “House of Cards”, Democratic governors’ aides repeatedly reference a plan of “creative engagement” to “compel” certain electric utilities — those subject to their jurisdiction whose businesses cross lines into states led by Republicans — to bring “red state” governors around to support the EPA rules: “
The “core group” of governors also coordinated with Democratic mega-donor Tom Steyer and his managing partner, Ted White, who directed them to “affiliated groups that we founded and fund (such as NextGen Climate Action, or Next Generation, or AEE [Advanced Energy Economy]” . Those groups in turn underwrote consultants and activists to hand-hold governors through implementing the Obama EPA’s rules, keeping them from the clutches of the “just say no” states.
This core group soon expanded to more than a dozen states, coast-to- coast, embracing a four-point plan which they soon called the Governor’s Climate Compact or GCC, which was ultimately rebranded as the Governors’ Climate Accord or GCA and now goes by the name of the Governors Clean Energy Initiative (none of which have any internet footprint whatsoever, and begging the question who is indeed paying for its director and other overhead). The emails do reflect an awareness that the agenda’s lack of popularity in the “flyover states” necessitated a flexible timeline and keeping some offices’ involvement quiet, specifically citing elections as a concern.
“This is the 5th transparency report in a series that E&E Legal has published on the ‘green movement’ and its network of public, private, and business interests, and what is clear is that 1%-ers are using ‘climate’ policies to destroy politically disfavored industries in order to transfer wealth to the politically preferred,” said Craig Richardson, E&E Legal Executive Director. “The campaign by self-serving individuals must be made known to the public as policymakers consider this plan that will destroy parts of our economy and ruin the most efficient, affordable, and clean energy system ever created.”
The Energy & Environment Legal Institute (E&E Legal) is a 501(c)(3) organization engaged in strategic litigation, policy research, and public education on important energy and environmental issues. Primarily through its petition litigation and transparency practice areas, E&E Legal seeks to correct onerous federal and state policies that hinder the economy, increase the cost of energy, eliminate jobs, and do little or nothing to improve the environment.