The Chairman of the House Committee on Science Space and Technology, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.) and Chairman of the Subcommittee on Energy Rep. Randy Weber (R-Tex.), recently sent a letter to the Secretary of Treasury Steve Mnuchin asking for an investigation into Russia meddling. I know what you’re thinking, not another Russia investigation. The investigation is likely to lead to a place the left and environmental groups don’t want to go.
Senator John McCain famously stated, “Russia is a gas station masquerading as a country.” Looking at the data, this could not be truer. Right now, Europe is dependent upon Russia for its energy needs. Over 35 percent of oil in Europe comes from Russia, while the Russian state owned Gazprom supplies about one-third of European natural gas needs.
Europe began looking at alternatives to Russia at the same time the energy renaissance was taking hold in the US. Flush with cash, environmental groups then began an all-out assault on the energy sector. Attempting to ban fracking in the US and Europe, while also fighting the construction of liquified natural gas terminals (LNG).
LNG terminals are used to ship natural gas to European and Asian ports, softening the grip Russia has on Europe. Sounds like a good idea right. Democrats and the left are screaming about Russian influence, so this should be a no brainer, but for some reason it’s not.
This all starts with a man named Nicholas Hoskins. According to Business Insider, “Nicholas Hoskins, is a director at a hedge fund management firm that has invested heavily in Russian oil and gas. He is also senior counsel at the Bermudan law firm Wakefield Quin and the vice president of a London-based investment firm whose president until recently chaired the board of the state-owned Russian oil company Rosneft….In addition to those roles, Hoskins is a director at a company called Klein Ltd.”
Klein Ltd. gave tens of millions of dollars to a group based out of California called the Sea Change Foundation. No one knows where Klein Ltd. acquired the money because it is based out of Bermuda. What we do know is that Klein Ltd. is run by the law firm Wakefield Quin, where Nicholas Hoskins is a senior counsel.
An investigative report titled “From Russia With Love: Examining the links between US environmental funder and the Kremlin”, found Hoskins was also in a directorship position with IPOC International Growth Fund. The group was owned by Russian Minister of Telecommunications and Putin friend, Leonid Reiman. The company was convicted of money laundering in the British Virgin Islands.
In the 2014 the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works released a Minority Staff Report, “The Chain of Environmental Command.” In it the Senate describes Klein Ltd, “It appears that Klein exists on paper only as it does not have an internet presence, and was set up for the sole purpose of funneling anonymous donations to Sea Change.”
The Sea Change Foundation then gave millions to several high profile environmental groups. The Natural Resource Defense Council, League of Conservation Voters, and the Sierra Club are just a few that received grant money from Sea Change.
What is perhaps most astonishing in all of this, is the role Hillary Clinton played. The former Presidential candidate, the one that is now railing against everything Russia, knew Russia was funding green groups that were backing the Democratic Party and trying to stop the US energy renaissance.
Wikileaks released the contents of a speech Hillary Clinton gave to a private audience, in which she stated, “We [the State Department and the U.S. government] were up against Russia pushing oligarchs and others to buy media. We were even up against phony environmental groups, and I’m a big environmentalist, but these were funded by the Russians to stand up against any effort, ‘Oh that pipeline, that fracking, that whatever will be a problem for you,’ and a lot of that money supporting that effort was coming from Russia.”
It is important to note no one from the Hillary camp has denied she made the remarks.
The political arm of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the NRDC Action Fund, went so far as to endorse Hillary Clinton for President in 2016. The first endorsement the fund has ever made in a presidential election. The Sierra Club Political Action Committee, the political arm of the Sierra Club, also endorsed Hillary Clinton for President in 2016. The League of Conservation Voters’ political arm, LCV Action Fund, got in the race early, and endorsed Clinton in 2015.
Does anyone else find it strange the political action funds of groups that received money tied to Russia supported one presidential candidate and overwhelmingly one party? Who really has close ties to Russia?
US energy dominance threatens the ability of Russia to extort foreign policy goals. If Congress is to investigate Russian meddling, it should start here. Russia used the left to harm US energy security, and keep the energy weapon pointed at Europe.
Printus LeBlanc is a contributing reporter at Americans for Limited Government