Environmental lobbyists, flush with cash and influence under the Biden administration, are helping to fund Chinese-linked energy groups that advocate for policies benefiting China’s economic interests at America’s expense, according to a new report.
The Institute for Energy Research released an update to its “Big Green Inc.” database this week detailing at least $5.7 billion in dubious, foreign-linked donations flowing through a network of US environmental advocacy groups.
But the already staggering sum may just scratch the surface, according to the IER.
“That figure only includes the giving history of seventeen major foundations and there are hundreds of foundations and organizations actively connected to the green movement,” the group said in a statement.
While raising serious questions about the source of environment advocacy funding, the IER called for more transparency.
“This complicated system of financial transfers muddles efforts to reveal the sources of this funding, which has been linked to individuals who stand to benefit financially from the adoption of various environmental policies as well as foreign actors trying to influence energy policy within the U.S.,” it said.
The IER’s most recent analysis examined 2018 tax filings and found several groups were indirectly funneling money to China through corporate grants and other ostensibly philanthropic endeavors.
“Among the latest round of grants, $14.25 million flowed from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation to the Energy Foundation and ultimately to an organization called Energy Foundation China, just as tensions between the U.S. and China are mounting,” the IER said in a statement.
From the IER’s report:
- The Energy Foundation received $21 million “for general operating support” from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, as well as grants totaling $14.25 million for “Energy Foundation China,” and $1,065,000 in “additional grants.” Together, these grants amount to nearly half of the foundation’s $81,940,531 net assets at the end of 2018.
- The Energy Foundation appears to receive money from organizations like the Hewlett foundation and passes it through to Energy Foundation China so that it doesn’t show on Hewlett’s tax documents directly.
- Energy Foundation China lists several other BGI organizations like the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and the John. D and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation among its key funders.
Another group, the Natural Resources Defense Council, received $500,000 for its China Energy program, the IER added.
Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., called on the Justice Department last September to investigate foreign influence within the US environmental movement, pointing out the NRDC’s work with the Chinese Communist party.
“Malign influence efforts by Russia or China, whether related to U.S. energy policy or politics, are a threat to this nation and must be combated,” Cheney wrote.
Those green groups’ funding activities will only become more important as the Biden administration looks to tackle more green energy objectives—including those outlined by the president’s recently proposed $2.3 trillion infrastructure boondoggle, which prioritizes spending on eco-friendly projects over basic roads and bridges.
“This latest update to the Big Green Inc. database is further evidence that the green left has more interest in protecting the interests of its funders and the global renewables industry than they do the environment,” IER President Thomas Pyle said in a statement.
“Thanks primarily to America’s shale revolution, America has become energy independent and at the same time has been leading the developed world in greenhouse gas emissions reductions,” Pyle continued. “And yet, the greens would prefer that we give up that newfound independence and instead rely on China for our future energy needs.”
According to the IER, an increase in the manufacturing of wind and solar energy products, as well as electric cars, would be a significant boost to the Chinese economy.
“If Congress were serious about transparency and the influence of special interest money in politics, Big Green Inc. is the first place they should be looking, especially the connections between left-leaning foundations, the Biden White House, and China,” Pyle said.