Green Watch

Big Green in the White House—and the States

Tracking the top liberal spenders in key 2022 Senate races


Before leaving the Biden White House in September, Gina McCarthy made her mark as a climate change policy heavyweight by overseeing the most interventionist federal green energy schemes to date under the guise of “infrastructure” and “inflation reduction.”

McCarthy, who previously served as President Barack Obama’s EPA chief and as president and CEO of the well-endowed Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), is making way for John Podesta, chairman of the left-leaning Center for American Progress and President Joe Biden’s “clean energy” advisor. McCarthy has set the table for Podesta to continue the Biden administration’s ongoing assault against America’s oil and gas industry.

McCarthy’s appointment did not require Senate confirmation. Neither did John Kerry’s. Between the two of them they are cutting a large figure within the realm of public policy congressional scrutiny. Kerry, a former U.S. senator from Massachusetts, currently serves as Biden’s climate envoy. He is also a longtime proponent of the Paris Climate Accord, which puts the screws to the American energy industry while giving China a free pass.

Not to be outdone, McCarthy was part of a NRDC team that carried the water for the regime in Beijing up to the point where they compelled elected officials to ask questions about the green group’s compliance with foreign agent registration requirements.

Biden’s Anti-Energy Policy

Since its inception, the Biden administration has made every effort to put America last and China first where energy policy is concerned. On his first day in office, Biden canceled the Keystone XL Pipeline at the expense of American workers and energy consumers. But that was just for starters. Only a few days after his inauguration, Biden imposed a federal moratorium on oil and gas drilling on federal lands. He has also reactivated the “social cost of carbon,” which enables federal regulators to impose restrictions on industry activity.

As profound and impactful as these executive actions are, climate activists know full well that they can also be reversed under a future administration. That’s why they are working to maintain their grip on Congress and preserve their anti-energy initiatives, including the Democrats’ massive Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (H.R. 3684) and Inflation Reduction Act (H.R. 5376).

At the same time, environmental and other top leftist groups have poured huge sums into battleground states in the hope of preserving a Democratic Senate majority after November 8.

Georgia

In Georgia, Sen. Raphael Warnock—who unseated Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler by 93,000 votes in a January 2021 special election—faces Republican opponent and retired NFL athlete Herschel Walker.

At nearly $85 million, Warnock’s reelection campaign has raised the most money of any Senate candidate by far—and nearly $31 million more than the next-best-funded candidate, Arizona Sen. Mark Kelly (D). By contrast, Walker’s campaign has raised just over $20 million.

Nearly half ($78,000) of the independent expenditures spent supporting Warnock came from the Save Democracy Political Action Committee (PAC), a committee based in Washington, DC, that also spend nearly $157,000 in independent expenditures opposing Walker.

Its top donors include the Democratic Lieutenant Governors Association (DLGA) and retired Californian Marcia Grand, who each gave the committee $250,000 in 2022.

Public filings with the Federal Elections Commission show Save Democracy PAC is run by representatives from Blue Wave Politics, a fundraising and compliance firm whose past clients include President Biden, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, the presidential campaigns of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Michael Bloomberg, and multiple “progressive” PACs.

According to its website, Save Democracy PAC supports the full suite of far-left election “reforms”: abolition of voter ID laws, automatic and same-day voter registration, no-excuse absentee voting, federally prepaid postage for mail-in ballots, and restoration of felon voting rights.

Arizona

Arizona Sen. Mark Kelly (D), first elected in 2020, is seeking reelection against Republican nominee and venture capitalist Blake Masters. As of writing, Kelly has raised $54 million to his opponent’s $5 million.

The Democrats’ Senate Majority PAC has spent $2.9 million boosting Kelly in the state. Patriot Majority PAC, a union-associated committee, has spent another $1.4 million in favorable independent expenditures. And the Democratic super PAC Priorities USA Action, founded in 2011 to help reelect President Barack Obama, has poured another $478,000 into supportive expenditures.

“Green” activist groups have also dumped cash into pro-Kelly expenditures, including $1.2 million from the Environmental Defense Fund Action Votes and another $947,000 from the League of Conservation Voters Victory Fund, called a “’dark money’ heavyweight” by one left-leaning watchdog.

Somos PAC, which aims to turn out Latino voters, has also spent $337,000 in pro-Kelly expenditures. The PAC is heavily funded by North Fund, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit that aided Democrats in the 2020 election and is part of Arabella Advisors’ $1.7 billion “dark money” network.

Notably, Kelly has criticized the 2010 Supreme Court decision Citizens United v. FEC for “allow[ing] corporate special interested to flood our political system with dark money.”

In contrast, almost all of the $7.3 million in pro-Masters independent expenditures came from Saving Arizona PAC, whose top donor—billionaire venture capitalist Peter Thiel—has provided $15 million of the super PAC’s $16 million budget.

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman is battling Republican Mehmet Oz—better known as Dr. Oz—for the Senate seat vacated by retiring Republican Sen. Pat Toomey. To date, Fetterman’s campaign has raised $26 million to Oz’s $19 million.

Outside groups have already spent $4.2 million boosting Fetterman, 63 percent of which came from the Democrats’ Senate Majority PAC. He’s also been boosted by $213,000 in independent expenditures from Web3 Forward, a super PAC reportedly funded by cryptocurrency investors to aid Democrats in the midterms.

Much of the remaining pro-Fetterman expenditures came from “green” groups: the League of Conservation Voters Victory Fund ($304,000), Environment America Action Fund ($65,000), and Climate Power Action ($377,000).

Climate Power Action is a super PAC founded by the Center for American Progress, Sierra Club, and League of Conservation Voters, the latter of which infused it with an additional $3 million in July.

In contrast, Planned Parenthood Votes has spent $3.7 million opposing Oz’s candidacy, while another $1.8 million in expenditures came from Senate Majority PAC. End Citizens United—a $21 million PAC that opposes “unlimited and undisclosed money in politics”—poured another $1.8 million into anti-Oz expenditures.

Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, incumbent Sen. Ron Johnson (R) is running against Democratic Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes. As of writing, Johnson has raised $17.7 million to Barnes’s $7 million.

Top outside groups supporting Barnes include the Working Families Party, a labor-aligned committee that endorsed Barnes early in his candidacy; the Service Employees International Union; Climate Power Action; and League of Conservation Voters Victory Fund.

At the top of the list is Courageous Leaders PAC, which is responsible for over $1 million of the $1.7 million in pro-Barnes independent expenditures. Courageous Leaders itself has received $1 million from Democratic mega-donor Karla Jurvetson.

The Democrats’ Senate Majority PAC has spent nearly $4.8 million in outside expenditures opposing Johnson, followed by $1 million from MoveOn.org PAC and the League of Conservation Voters Victory Fund.

The Fight to Hold the Senate

Will this torrent of money be enough to hold the Senate? With polls largely tightening in the Republican candidates’ favor, it’s anyone’s guess.

Hayden Ludwig

Hayden Ludwig is a Senior Investigative Researcher at Capital Research Center. He is also a columnist at the Washington Free Beacon and writes regularly for the American Conservative. Ludwig is…
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Kevin Mooney

Kevin Mooney, a frequent CRC contributor, is an investigative reporter for The Daily Signal.
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