Green Watch

“Green” Mega-Donors Funding Key Senate Battleground Races


A new political action committee (PAC) is funneling tens of thousands of dollars to key Democrats in Georgia, North Carolina, and Washington. If the quiet funders behind the PAC succeed, they could determine which party controls the hotly contested Senate after the November 2022 midterm elections.

Green Senate 2022 doesn’t have a website or online presence. But in June it transferred over $113,000 to the PACs of two Democratic senators and one candidate: $40,000 to Patty Murray in Washington, $35,000 to Raphael Warnock in Georgia, and $38,200 to Cheri Beasley in North Carolina. It’s also expected to raise money for the reelection campaign of Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV).

The Donors

Nearly all of that money came from just 17 donors, many of whom are major donors to the Democratic Party and the Left, including:

  • Frances Beinecke, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) president from 2006 to 2015 and a board member for many left-wing energy groups;
  • Patricia Bauman, an NRDC and NRDC Action Fund board member who also sits on the board of the Democracy Alliance;
  • Anne Bartley, a major Democratic donor and Rockefeller relative known for co-founding America Votes, the Democracy Alliance, Committee on the States, and the Threshold Foundation.
  • Michael Sonnenfeldt, an investor active in climate groups, and daughter Joya Sonnenfeldt, assistant attorney general for New York State;
  • Laurance Rockefeller, a longtime NRDC lawyer and co-founder of the New York League of Conservation Voters;
  • Gene Karpinski, president of the League of Conservation Voters;
  • Geoffrey Gund, former head of the Gund Foundation, which makes grants to anti-energy groups;
  • Josie Merck, a Canadian painter and environmental activist;
  • Dennis Mehiel, chairman of a major packaging materials manufacturer, former Democratic National Committee member, and board member for the New York League of Conservation Voters;
  • Fleur Fairman, a New York investor with close ties to environmental mega-donor Tom Steyer;
  • Timon Malloy, a board member for the eco-activist group New York Riverkeeper;
  • Jonathan F.P. Rose, a prominent New York real estate investor; and
  • Hamilton Candee, an environmental lawyer, NRDC board member, and senior attorney for NRDC’s California office

The League of Conservation Voters

Its donors and fundraising fees suggest the group is closely connected to the League of Conservation Voters (LCV), one of the environmental movement’s top spenders. Its history of supporting Democrats has earned the group the moniker “dark money heavyweight” by the left-leaning Center for Public Integrity.

Little is known about the group’s origins, but filings with the Federal Election Commission show that it’s run by the firm Capitol Compliance. Capitol Compliance provides similar services to the Lincoln Project, an anti-Republican attack group funded by liberals; Defend the Vote, which accuses “Republican obstructionists” of disenfranchising voters; the pro-gun control Brady PAC; and Elect Democratic Women, a partisan PAC.

With the next filing deadline (October 15) looming, we’re likely to see even more money dropped into these expensive elections.

Pennsylvania Races

In Pennsylvania, the Natural Resources Defense Council Action Fund, the political arm of the NRDC, a well-endowed, New York–based environmental activist group with more than $411 million in assets, is throwing its weight behind the Democratic candidates running for statewide offices. Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, and Josh Shapiro, the Democratic attorney general running for governor are both listed among the candidates the NRDC PAC has endorsed.

Campaign finance records also show contributions to Shapiro’s gubernatorial campaign from Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania Action Fund, the PAC for the Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania and a League of Conservation Voters ally.

This is significant because the NRDC and the League of Conservation Voters have come under congressional scrutiny for alleged violations for Foreign Agents Registration Act. Several major environmental groups lobbied for the Obama administration’s Paris Climate Agreement without disclosing their ties to the communist Chinese government in Beijing. The agreement effectively neuters American energy production while a top U.S. rival expands its military and production capabilities.

All-In for Democrats

Clearly, the professional environmental movement is all-in for Democrats and is doing everything it can to elect anti-energy politicians. The only question left is whether voters will let them.

 

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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