Collusion 101: Report details Russian funding of U.S. environmental groups

by WorldTribune Staff, March 9, 2018

Speaking of collusion …

The U.S. House House Science, Space, and Technology Committee on March 1 released a report detailing Russian funding of U.S. environmental groups opposed to fracking and the Keystone pipeline.

To remain No. 1 in world oil production, Russia would need to significantly slow the U.S. shale boom.

The report, titled “Russia’s Social Media Meddling in U.S. Energy Markets”, went largely uncovered by a mainstream media which usually goes into a feeding frenzy whenever the words Russia and meddling are mentioned in the same sentence.

Industry analysts believe the U.S. will likely surpass Russia as the world’s largest oil producer within five years. Stopping or slowing the shale boom (fracking) and the Keystone pipeline would be about the only ways Russia could remain number one.

“There is more hard evidence connecting Russia with U.S. green groups than there is that anyone in the Trump campaign operated as an agent on behalf of Russia,” The American Spectator said in a March 8 report.

Rep. Lamar Smith, chairman of the committee, cited a U.S. intelligence community’s director of national intelligence report containing “clear evidence that the Kremlin is financing and choreographing anti-fracking propaganda in the United States.”

The report noted that Smith describes the “mechanics of Russia’s scheme to use nonprofit entities to influence U.S. public policy and public opinion” with regard to oil and gas and the fracking process. Smith points out that “publicly available reports connect the dots” between U.S. environmental groups and a Bermuda-based shell company known as Klein Ltd. that operates as a “pass through” organization for foreign funds.

The congressional committee identified San Francisco-based Sea Change Foundation as the major conduit for Russian funding of U.S. environmental groups.

“IRS 990 forms show that Klein Ltd. contributed $23 million to Sea Change in 2010 and again in 2011, which is about half of all contributions Sea Change received during that same time period,” the American Spectator report noted. “These same 990 forms show that Sea Change then distributed more than $20 million in grants in 2010 and 2011 to environmental organizations ‘to promote awareness of climate change,’ ‘reduce reliance on high carbon energy,’ ‘educate the public about climate and clean energy,’ and ‘promote climate and clean energy communications.’ ”

Recipients of Sea Change grants during the two-year period included the Energy Foundation, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club Foundation, the League of Conservation Voters Education Fund, the Tides Foundation, the Union of Concerned Scientists, the World Wildlife Fund, and the Virginia Organizing Project.

Smith has called for the U.S. treasury secretary to investigate allegations of Russian collusion with U.S. environmentalists and for a fix to the 80-year-old law known as the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

The American Spectator report noted that Rep. Mike Johnson, a Louisiana Republican, “has moved a bill through the House Judiciary Committee that would close off existing loopholes in the current law while providing intelligence agencies with civil investigative authority to pursue suspected foreign agents who decline to register.”

The U.S. Justice Department’s inspector general released a report on the Foreign Agents Registration Act in 2016 calling attention to the flaws Johnson seeks to fix. Sen. Chuck Grassley, Iowan Republican, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, is pushing a companion version of the bill that is expected to move later this year.

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