Climate

The latest polluter front group trying to kill the clean energy bill is overseen by a proud former shill for a man convicted on fraud and conspiracy charges

How many fake “citizen groups” fighting to destroy a livable climate and kill clean energy jobs can there be?  First the coal lobby hired a top GOP voter-fraud company to run a massive “grassroots” effort to undermine climate and clean energy action.  Then Big Oil started manufacturing ‘Energy Citizen’ rallies to oppose clean energy reform.  Now comes a group operating under the auspices of Robert Bradley, a man who proudly shilled for Enron CEO Ken Lay who was convicted on fraud and conspiracy charges in 2006.  Bradley may be the only ex-Enron staffer still bragging about the deceits of his former employer (see here).  Brad Johnson has the Astroturf details in a post first published here.  The picture is of American Energy Alliance staffers Kevin Kennedy, Patrick Creighton, and Laura Henderson — all former House GOP staff — on tour in Pennsylvania.

AEA Team

The American Energy Alliance (AEA), a new polluter front group, is touring the nation to smear President Barack Obama’s clean energy reform agenda. Employees riding the “American Energy Express” bus are spreading the conservative lies that the American Clean Energy and Security Act will “cripple our sluggish economy.” AEA is the 501 c(4) offshoot of the Institute for Energy Research, a right-wing oil-industry think tank run by Robert Bradley, a former speechwriter for Kenneth Lay. E&E News reports that AEA’s “Energy Town Hall” bus tour pictures workers in hard hats:

The American Energy Alliance, which is affiliated with the conservative Institute for Energy Research, has begun a four-week bus tour to county fairs, sporting events and public meetings in several coal-reliant states. Representatives of the group will travel in a large blue bus carrying the slogan “Stop the National Energy Tax, Save American Jobs” and a picture of workers in hard hats. They will cross Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, West Virginia and Virginia. Yesterday, AEA officials participated in a rally with another group, Americans for Prosperity, in Zanesville, Ohio; a day earlier, they visited a county fair in western Pennsylvania.

In fact, by attacking legislation that addresses climate change and our national dependence on fossil fuels, AEA is preventing a clean-energy economic boom. Laughably, AEA claims it has “no ties to any political party“:

AEA has no ties to any political party, and it has no interest in supporting the agenda of any particular political party.

AEA may be telling the truth that it has “no interest in supporting the agenda of any particular political party” “” its only interest seems to be blocking progressive reform by spreading lies and distortions. However, AEA is tightly connected to the Republican Party and right-wing oil interests. In fact, all of its employees are former House Republican staffers:

Thomas J. Pyle, AEA President, Is A Oil Lobbyist And DeLay Operative. Before joining the Institute for Energy Research and the American Energy Alliance, Pyle worked as a lobbyist for the right-wing oil giant Koch Industries, first in-house starting in 2001, and then at the Rhoads Group. In 2008 Pyle became a lobbyist for the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association. Previously, Pyle served as policy analyst for Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX), Majority Whip of the U.S. House of Representatives and as staff director for the GOP Congressional Western Caucus. Pyle started as a legislative assistant for radical anti-environmentalists Rep. Richard Pombo (R-CA) and Rep. George Radanovich (R-CA). [Institute for Energy Research, Center for Public Integrity]

Patrick Creighton, AEA Communications Director, Worked For Bush And Pennsylvania Republicans. Patrick Creighton was the special assistant to Samuel T. Mok, the chief financial officer at the Department of Labor from 2004 to 2006. He then worked as a spokesman for oil and natural gas advocate Rep. John Peterson (R-PA) from 2006 to 2009, worked to elect Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-PA), then joined Thompson’s office until May 2009. [Institute for Energy Research, Legistorm]

Kevin Kennedy, AEA Federal Affairs Director, Promoted Alaska Drilling Under Don Young. After graduating from Union College in 2004, Kevin Kennedy worked for the Astroturf organization Arctic Power, which advocated drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. In 2007, Kennedy became a legislative assistant for the corrupt Rep. Don Young (R-AK) and the House Committee on Natural Resources. He joined the Institute for Energy Research and American Energy Alliance in 2009. [Institute for Energy Research]

Laura Henderson, AEA Spokesperson, Served Shelby, Dole, And Tiberi. Laura Henderson was a former press secretary for offshore drilling advocate Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) from 2005-2009. Previously, she worked for former Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-NC) and Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-OH). [Institute for Energy Research]

Daniel R. Simmons, AEA State Affairs Director, Is A Koch-Funded GOP Staffer. Simmons was the Director of the Natural Resources Task Force at the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a right-wing network funded by Koch Industries, the American Petroleum Institute, and other corporate and right-wing organizations. Previously, Simmons was a Research Fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, also funded by Koch. From 2001 to 2005, Simmons served on the staff of Rep. George Nethercutt (R-WA) on the House Natural Resources Committee. Simmons holds a B.A. in Economics from Utah State University and a J.D. from George Mason University School of Law, also supported by Koch Industries. [Institute for Energy Research, Legistorm]

Furthermore, AEA’s EnergyTownHall.org website is run by yet another former GOP House staffer:

GOP.gov Webmaster Nathan Imperiale Runs EnergyTownHall.Org. AEA’s EnergyTownHall.org was designed by NJI Media Group, part of Endeavour Global Strategies. Endeavour’s head, Sean Spicer, is a long-time GOP operative, including communications work for the House Republican Conference and the Bush White House. NJI Media Group’s president, Nathan Imperiale, served as Director of New Media for the House Republican Conference, building its GOP.gov website. [Twitter, 2/13/09; Endeavour Global Strategies]

AEA’s “American Energy Express” joins a field crowded by conservative oil and coal propaganda “” the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity’s “Factuality” bus tour, the American Petroleum Institute’s “Energy Citizens” oil rallies, and the Americans For Prosperity “Hot Air” balloon tour.

7 Responses to The latest polluter front group trying to kill the clean energy bill is overseen by a proud former shill for a man convicted on fraud and conspiracy charges

  1. Nancy says:

    The photos on the AEA’s website tell it all. They are appealing to conservative republican middle-class farm-belt Americans by using the flag (even their plastic give-away cups are red-white-and-blue!).

    The AEA is immoral. Don’t these people have children?

  2. Matt says:

    They evidently don’t have children they care about.

  3. Rick Covert says:

    Who says that there’s no opportunity in this economy? If you’re a former CEO working for a large health insurance company like Rick Scott and his fraud ridden company, Columbia HCA, who resigned in disgrace in the wake of a huge government fraud scandle involving Mecicare costing the US taxpayer $ 1.7 billion dollars, you create an astroturf group called Conservatives for Patient’s Rights and denounce health care reform. Working for a convicted felon like Ken Lay and denouce the energy and climate legislation works too. I tell ‘ya thar’s gold in them thar hills! As that cold war comedian, Yakov Smirnoff once said, “America, what a country!”

  4. Jim says:

    Nancy: I second your question: “Don’t these people have children?” Back in April, Gail asked the same question of the NY Times editors and writers in response to the Times’ article on Morano.

    http://climateprogress.org/2009/04/09/new-york-times-swift-boat-smearer-marc-morano-global-warming-denie-climatedepot/

    It struck me then and strikes me again now that “Don’t any of you have children?” is the perfect question to ask the deniers. It encapsulates so much into six words and focuses the argument where it should be: on future generations. It gives deniers the benefit of the doubt by asking them to consult their consciences. Perhaps a few will. The question shows the depth and the point of our concern and the shallowness, or absence, of theirs.

  5. Sable says:

    My dad and I were discussing our corporate oligarchs and their opposition to AGW mitigation, among other needed reforms. I posed the same question – don’t they have kids and grand-kids? He replied that “they just don’t really care about their kids – they would say they do, but they don’t.”

    Also I think many of these folks think they’ll be immune from the negative consequences of a warming world, and even be able to exploit the situation and gain access to polar resources. The ever increasing probability that the civilization which is the foundation of their wealth might be destroyed, is either ignored or discounted.

  6. Ken Maize says:

    Folks,

    I think it is really wrong to attack opponents personally. Ad hominem arguments distort debate. I’m a liberal Obama supporter who contributed to his campaign monthly for 18 months. I support most of his and Podesta’s initiatives. I disagree on global warming (and cap-and-trade). I have reasoned arguments, based on over 35 years of covering energy and environmental issues as a journalist (and activist, working for UCS and FOE in the mid-1980s).

    I may be wrong (but I don’t think so). I may be right (of course). But vilifying those who challenge the conventional wisdom is counterproductive and serves neither science nor public policy.

    It’s OK to point to the past ties and political loyalties of opponents, but that doesn’t invalidate their arguments.

    [JR: Not sure what your positions are, but I think it useful to point out that the fraudulent citizens groups are backed by the coal industry and the oil industry, and run by former GOP staffers and the guy who is still proud of Enron’s deceitful behavior. Not clear how that is ad hominem.]

  7. Al Gore says:

    Hey you guys, we need this cap and trade. The company I started in the UK (don’t have to pay such big taxes there! hehe) is depending on it. We are going to make a killing! All I had to do is round up the right scientists who would support me and gag the rest who don’t. I got a Nobel Prize too even though I’m not a scientist!