Republicans call on Yellen to investigate whether Russian money funded US Green groups
NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!
EXCLUSIVEE: The head of the Republican Review Committee (RSC) has called on Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to launch an investigation into whether Russia has secretly funded US Green groups that militate against oil and gas production.
Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., directed a letter to Yellen Friday that cites a 2015 Free Washington Beacon report that suggested the California-based Sea Change Foundation could be a conduit for Russian oil interests by funneling money to groups like the League of Conservation Voters (LCV), the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the Sierra Club and the Center for American Progress.
“Russia has spent millions promoting anti-energy policies and politicians in the United States,” Banks said in a statement to Fox News Digital. “Now, thanks to Biden’s war on domestic energy, US oil production has fallen 10%, driving up prices and enriching and emboldening Putin before he invades Ukraine.”
HOUSE REPUBLICANS DEMAND RESPONSES FROM ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS ON ALLEGATION OF COLLUSION WITH RUSSIA
Banks continued: “Contrary to the Russia hoax, Putin’s nefarious influence on our energy sector is real and warrants further investigation.”
The Treasury Department did not immediately respond to email requests for comment on whether it would investigate.
Banks’ letter coincides with a similar effort by Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee asking some environmental groups to disclose their ties to a nongovernmental organization the committee says is being used by Russian President Vladimir Poutine impact america energy production.
GAS PRICES FUEL DEMOCRATIC BLOODBATH TO COME IN THE MEDIUM TERM, REPUBLICANS SAY
Three environmental groups – the League of Conservation Voters (LCV), the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Sierra Club – are said to have ties to the San Franciscoa New York-based environmental NGO called the Sea Change Foundation, according to committee Republicans.
In one letter sent to each of the three groups, Republicans inquired about the funding the groups have received from Sea Change since 2006 and called for disclosure whether the groups “are aware of concerns that Sea Change may be a conduit for Russian funding”.
Sea Change did not immediately comment on Saturday. The Center for American Progress said the allegations had been “completely debunked”. quoting a 2018 article in which Sea Change founders Nat Simons and Laura Baxter-Simons say they received no funding from outside sources and the foundation’s $500 million in grants for climate and clean energy were based on the money from their family.
“In the midst of a serious national security crisis, this is a disgusting disinformation campaign by unpatriotic Republican extremists who actively encouraged Putin throughout the Trump years, and now mask that shame with lies. which have been thoroughly debunked,” the Center said. for American Progress said in a statement to Fox News Digital.
Likewise, LCV, NRDC and Sierra Club have strongly pushed back against these GOP allegations in previous statements to Fox News Digital.
The NRDC said the “allegations are false” and are “rooted in a smear campaign”.
“We don’t receive any funding from the Russian or Chinese governments,” said Bob Deans, director of strategic engagement for the NRDC. “We answer to our independent leaders, and we answer no government’s request – foreign or otherwise – in our work to defend common-sense environmental protections in the public interest. These allegations are rooted in a smear campaign Orchestrated for nearly a decade by fossil fuel interests and a right-wing think tank, they served then, as now, as a mere distraction.
A statement provided to Fox News by the LCV said “the story is completely false and has been laid to rest for years.”
“We have no ties to Russia or China, and have been an effective advocate for environmental protection for more than 50 years,” the group said. “These false and poorly documented claims are rooted in a nearly 10-year-old right-wing think tank and fossil fuel industry-funded smear campaign that is revived every few years to serve as a distraction.”
In a statement shared with Fox News, Melinda Pierce, legislative director of the Sierra Club, concluded that the collusion allegation is a “false conspiracy theory.”
“This bogus conspiracy theory, invented by the same deceptive front groups paid to do the dirty work of polluters and big tobacco, has been debunked many times over its nearly 10 years of existence,” Pierce said. . “Sierra Club has no ties to Russia or China, and proudly fights for clean energy and climate action because it’s what our planet needs, our families deserve, and what the ‘overwhelming majority of Americans across the country are demanding.’
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
The Republican Study Committee is the largest conservative group in the House. They hit Biden hard for his domestic energy policies, which they say choke off domestic oil and gas production and led to the United States buying Russian oil to fund Putin’s war on Ukraine.
Biden announced this week that the United States would stop importing Russian petroleum products and said “it’s just not true” that his administration is withholding domestic energy production.
Fox News’ Kyle Morris contributed to this report.