GOP calls for probe of Putin’s ‘malign influence on our energy sector’ via funding of US green groups

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Three Republican congressmen raised concerns this week over Russia potentially funding American-based green energy groups that seek to eliminate oil and gas production in the United States in order to promote production in Russia.

In Friday’s letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, the conservative trio led by the head of the Republican Study Committee (RSC) Rep. Jim Bank (R-Ind.) brought attention to questionable donations to anti-fracking lobbyists that have ties to the Russian government, citing a 2015 article by The Washington Free Beacon.

The letter specifically mentions that over half of $23 million in donations for the 2010 tax filing for a group called Sea Change Foundation were funneled to them from the Russian government by way of a Bahamian shell corporation. The money was then reportedly passed on to groups including the Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the League of Conservation Voters (LCV), and the Center for American Progress which were then to lobby “strongly against fracking and pro-energy policies, to reduce competition with Russian oil and gas.”

“Russia spent millions promoting anti-energy policies and politicians in the U.S.,” Banks said in a statement to Fox News Digital. “Now, thanks to Biden’s war on domestic energy, U.S. oil production has dropped 10%, pushing up prices and enriching and emboldening Putin before he invaded Ukraine.”

“Unlike the Russia hoax, Putin’s malign influence on our energy sector is real and deserves further investigation,” Banks added.

In the same vein, House Energy and Commerce Committee Republicans sent letters to several of the environmentalist groups on Thursday urging them to disclose their ties to Russian money that the group alleges could potentially be used to undermine domestic oil and gas production in the United States in order to create artificial dependence on Russian oil.

LCV, NRDC and the Sierra Club were all asked is they were “aware of concerns that Sea Change may be a conduit for Russian funding.”

The Center for American progress stated that the allegations of dirty money have been “thoroughly debunked,” noting an article from 2018 where the organization’s founders claimed everything was on the up and up.

“In the midst of a serious national security crisis, this is a disgusting disinformation campaign by unpatriotic Republican extremists who have been actively cheering on Putin throughout the Trump years, and who are now masking that disgrace with lies that have been thoroughly debunked,” Center for American Progress said in a statement to Fox News Digital.

The director of strategic engagement for the NRDC denied any ties to Russia and China and dismissed the allegations as being “rooted in a smear campaign.”

“We receive no funding from the governments of Russia or China,” Bob Deans said. “We answer to our independent leadership, and we don’t do the bidding of any government – foreign or otherwise – in our work to advocate for commonsense environmental protections in the public interest. These allegations are rooted in a smear campaign orchestrated nearly a decade ago by fossil fuel interests and a right-wing think tank. They only serve then, as now, as a distraction.”

Many people on social media agreed with Deans’ sentiments and found it to be a distraction from the bigger issue at hand that Russia was at war with Ukraine.

Others thought the answer was so obvious that it didn’t warrant investigation.


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