Koch-Backed Tech Group Behind Tool Used to Push Union Opt-Out Campaigns

The Lincoln Network, a group started with seed money from the Charles G. Koch Foundation, is behind online technology called “Edunity” that is being deployed to encourage teachers and other public sector union members to leave their unions.

According to an online member update from the State Policy Network (SPN), the tool was designed in “partnership with several SPN member organizations.” SPN is a network of corporate-backed think tanks. Many of the groups in the network have also received funding from the Koch network of organizations and foundations. Other donors to SPN have included AT&T, Altria, Microsoft, Kraft Foods, Philip Morris.

According to SPN: “Lincoln designed and developed a technology platform to handle the end-to-end opt-out process from a public-sector union and provide leaving union members competitive benefits.”

The benefits to union members who quit their union using Edunity, would include “discounts to useful major retailers, from Target to Microsoft.”

Since June 2018 when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Janus v. AFSCME, SPN and its member groups have been promoting anti-union opt-out campaigns.

SPN was well positioned to take advantage of the Janus decision. The Illinois Policy Institute, the SPN group in Illinois, was behind the lawsuit. Soon after the court issued its ruling, the Illinois Policy Institute hired Mark Janus.

As Rachel Cohen and myself wrote about recently for The Intercept, SPN is engaging in long and multi-faceted campaign to drain unions of members and resources. SPN publicly talks about empowering workers, but on a call with their donors that was published with our article, SPN leaders were more straightforward about their motivations. Describing the Janus case to the donors, Tracie Sharp, CEO of SPN said: “Once this ruling comes down — and we do expect it to come down in our favor — everything will change. The door to pass a dream list of free-market reforms is going to swing open for us.”

“The flexible opt-out workflow feature is plug-and-play, and it can break through any type of barrier a union builds to prevent an opt-out,” SPN boasted.

Photograph of Charles Koch by Kevin Moloney/Fortune Brainstorm TECH. Used under creative commons license.

New ALEC Membership List Names More Legislators Tied to the Group

A membership list detailing the names of more than 200 members of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) reveals dozens of legislators not previously associated with the group.

The list of members on the ALEC Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development (CIED) task force, was obtained by Documented through an Ohio public records request.

The CIED task force at ALEC promotes model legislation that concerns employee rights in the workplace, including opposing increases to the minimum wage, and undermining the right to organize in a union.  (For more on how corporate lobbyists use ALEC to promote their agenda, see here).

ALEC does not list its members publicly. Documented previously published a registration list from a 2017 meeting, which revealed hundreds of legislative members. The new CIED roster provides an additional 173 ALEC legislators that were not disclosed in the 2017 registration list, including 49 who appear not to have previously been associated with ALEC publicly. This analysis compared the new names against previously identified ALEC members on The Center for Media and Democracy’s ALEC Politicians list, and Stand Up to ALEC’s database.

Noteworthy legislators included in the list:

  • Former Arkansas State Senator Jon Woods was found guilty in May 2018 on 15 of 17 counts in a federal corruption trial and is currently serving time in prison.
  • Former Utah Representative Jon Stanard abruptly resigned in February 2018 after allegations of meeting a prostitute for sex became public. According to news reports, taxpayer funds were used to pay for the hotel stays with the prostitute.
  • Georgia State Representative Darlene Taylor received national attention following a speech she made related to an anti-abortion fetal “heartbeat” bill. “Who speaks for the baby named Fetus? Who speaks for the baby named Fetus? Well today I’m going to. To quote baby Fetus, ‘I deserve to have the right, too. Some may squarm in their seats or turn their backs. But I will speak today. Baby fetus says and I quote ‘I have that right. Don’t be afraid or intimidated about acknowledging me,'” said Taylor.
  • Oklahoma State Representative Jeff Coody made controversial comments in March 2018, in which he said teachers’ demands for pay raises amounted to extortion.
  • Vermont State Representative Pattie McCoy and Maryland Delegate Johnny Mautz were outspoken opponents of bills in their state that would increase minimum wage.
  • News reports in Virginia highlighted Delegate Margaret Ransone’s comments in a subcommittee that heard measures to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. Ransone opposed the measure and said in the committee that “I don’t need words on a piece of paper. God made us all equal and I am not going to support this ERA resolution that’s before the body today.”

The full roster can be found here (note that multiple legislators appear twice in the original document). Below is a searchable version of the roster compiled by Documented, without duplicate names.

State Last Name First Name
Alabama Faulkner David
Alabama Garrett Danny
Alabama Hill Mike
Alabama Ledbetter Nathaniel
Alabama Reed Greg
Alabama Wilcox Margie
Alaska Sullivan-Leonard Colleen
Alaska Tilton Cathy
Arizona Gray Rick
Arizona Livingston David
Arizona Mosley Paul
Arizona Norgaard Jill
Arizona Nutt Becky
Arizona Syms Maria
Arizona Weninger Jeffrey
Arkansas Brown Karilyn
Arkansas Womack Richard
Arkansas Woods Jon
Colorado Leonard Tim
Colorado Liston Larry
Colorado Navarro Clarice
Colorado Priola Kevin
Colorado Tate Jack
Connecticut Camillo Fred
Connecticut Rutigliano David
Florida Ahern Larry
Florida La Rosa Michael
Florida Miller Mike
Florida Raulerson Daniel
Georgia Burns Jon
Georgia Dollar Matthew
Georgia Meadows John
Georgia Nimmer Chad
Georgia Powell Alan
Georgia Pruett Jimmy
Georgia Shaw Jason
Georgia Smith Richard
Georgia Taylor Darlene
Georgia Williamson Bruce
Idaho Barbieri Vito
Illinois Barickman Jason
Illinois Brady William
Illinois Fortner Mike
Illinois Oberweis Jim
Illinois Severin Dave
Illinois Wheeler Keith
Indiana Brown Elizabeth
Indiana Burton Woody
Indiana Eberhart Sean
Iowa Carlson Gary
Iowa Costello Mark
Iowa Deyoe Dave
Iowa Landon John
Iowa Pettengill Dawn
Iowa Shipley Tom
Kansas Alley Larry
Kansas Billinger Richard
Kansas Claeys J.R.
Kansas Denning Jim
Kansas Dove Willie
Kansas Lynn Julia
Kentucky Decesare Jim
Kentucky Duplessis Jim
Kentucky Kerr Alice
Kentucky Miller Jerry
Kentucky Mills Robby
Kentucky Osborne David
Kentucky Santoro Sal
Kentucky Seum Dan
Kentucky Upchurch Ken
Louisiana Davis Paula
Louisiana Erdey Dale
Louisiana Simon Scott
Louisiana Talbot Kirk
Louisiana Wright Mark
Maine Cebra Richard
Maine Hawke Stephanie
Maine Kinney Jonathan
Maine Picchiotti John
Maine Ward Karl
Maryland Adams Christopher
Maryland Mautz Johnny
Maryland Ready Justin
Massachusetts Dooley Shawn
Massachusetts Kane Hannah
Massachusetts McKenna Joseph
Michigan Hune Joe
Michigan Kowall Mike
Michigan Lilly James
Michigan Marino Steve
Michigan Reilly John
Michigan Vaupel Hank
Michigan Webber Michael
Mississippi Bennett Richard
Mississippi Blackwell Kevin
Mississippi Carmichael Videt
Mississippi Chism Gary
Mississippi Delano Scott*
Mississippi Ford Kevin
Mississippi Touchstone Brad
Mississippi Turner Jerry
Missouri Hoskins Denny
Missouri Reisch Cheri
Missouri Richard Ron
Missouri Rone Don
Missouri Taylor Jered
Missouri Wieland Paul
Montana Salomon Daniel
Nebraska Lindstrom Brett
Nebraska Lowe John
Nebraska Scheer Jim
Nebraska Realty Craighead Joni
Nevada Settelmeyer James
New Hampshire Daniels Gary
New Hampshire Fraser Valerie
New Hampshire Sanborn Laurie
New Mexico Adkins David
New Mexico Brown Cathrynn
New Mexico Dow Rebecca
New Mexico Griggs Ron
New Mexico little Ricky
New Mexico Nibert Greg
New Mexico Sharer William
North Carolina Conrad Debra
North Carolina Dulin Andy
North Carolina Hall Destin
North Carolina Sauls John
North Carolina Szoka John
North Dakota Louser Scott
North Dakota Ruby Dan
North Dakota Sorvaag Ronald
North Dakota Vigesaa Don
Ohio Brinkman Tom
Ohio Henne Michael
Ohio Hood Ronald
Ohio Hottinger Jay
Ohio Perales Rick
Ohio Zeltwanger Paul
Oklahoma Bergstrom Micheal
Oklahoma Bice Stephanie
Oklahoma Brown Bill
Oklahoma Coody Jeff
Oklahoma Daniels Julie
Oklahoma Kerbs Dell
Oklahoma Lepak Mark
Oklahoma McDaniel Randy
Oklahoma McDonnell Kevin
Oklahoma McDugle Kevin
Oklahoma Moore Lewis
Oklahoma Mulready Glen
Oklahoma Sanders Mike
Oklahoma Treat Greg
Oregon Heard Dallas
Pennsylvania Ryan Francis
Rhode Island Giarrusso Antonio
Rhode Island Morgan Patricia
South Carolina Anderson Carl
South Carolina Atwater Todd
South Carolina Crawford Heather
South Carolina Forrester P. Michael
South Carolina Henderson Phyllis
South Dakota Beal Arch
South Dakota Greenfield Brock
South Dakota Haverly Terri
South Dakota Novstrup Al
South Dakota Willadsen Mark
Tennessee Carr Bruce
Tennessee Hazlewood Patsy
Tennessee Howell Dan
Tennessee Lynn Susan
Tennessee Marsh Owen
Tennessee Powers Dennis
Tennessee Tracy Jim
Tennessee Travis Ron
Texas Faircloth Wayne
Texas Flynn Dan
Texas Hancock Kelly
Texas Isaac Jason
Texas Shaheen Matt
Texas Smithee John
Utah Anderegg Jacob
Utah Buxton Gregg
Utah Cullimore Kirk
Utah Froerer Gage
Utah Harper Wayne
Utah Hemmert Daniel
Utah Ipson Don
Utah Stanard Jon
Utah Stevenson Jerry
Utah Wilson Brad
Vermont Collamore Brian
Vermont Degree Dustin
Vermont McCoy Patricia
Vermont Mullin Kevin
Vermont Savage Brian
Virginia Austin Terry
Virginia Cosgrove John
Virginia Hugo Timothy
Virginia Ingram Riley
Virginia Kilgore Terry
Virginia Marshall Danny
Virginia Ransone Margaret
Virginia Ruff Frank
Washington State Angel Janice
West Virginia Howell Gary
Wisconsin August Tyler
Wisconsin Darling Alberta
Wisconsin Lasee Frank
Wisconsin Skowronski Kenneth
Wyoming Eklund John
Wyoming Emerich Fred
Wyoming Eyre Danny

* “Gregory” appeared in the original roster

Republican Attorneys General Group Hosting “Oil and Gas Summit”

The Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA), which receives substantial funding from numerous fossil fuel industry entities, will host an “oil and gas summit” in Houston, Texas on Monday, April 8. A copy of a  heavily redacted draft agenda, obtained by Documented via a pubic records request from the North Dakota Attorneys General office, outlines a luncheon, energy roundtable discussion and two unspecified issue briefings.


RAGA is a 527 political organization that can accept unlimited funds from corporations and individuals and is required to disclose these contributors to the IRS in periodic filings. As previously reported by Documented, the fossil fuel industry makes up a large portion of its funders, including several oil and gas companies headquartered in Texas where the event is to  be held. Contributors to RAGA in 2018 included:

  • Noble Energy, Inc ($1,000,000)
  • Anadarko Petroleum Corporation ($1,000,000)
  • Koch Industries ($550,000)
  • Range Resources Corporation ($100,000)
  • Newfield Exploration Company ($100,000)
  • ExxonMobil ($75,000)
  • ConocoPhillips Company ($50,000)
  • Hilcorp Energy Company ($25,000)
  • CenterPoint Energy ($25,000)

According to a 2019 membership document, obtained by Documented, in return for contributions of $15,000-$250,000 or above, corporations and individuals receive access to Republican Attorneys General and their staff at events including this summit. According to the document, membership benefits include “policy conference calls”, an “annual opportunity to lead issue briefings with Republican Attorney General”, and the “opportunity to submit issue panel topics, and to be a panelist”.

The membership levels range from annual contributions of $15,000 (“Attorneys General Committee”), $25,000 (“Attorneys General Roundtable”), $50,000 (“Attorneys General Capitol Club”), $125,000 (Edmund Randolph Club) and $250,000 (Victory Fund, the membership benefits at this level are only available upon request).


ALEC Loses Members, Drops Spring Meeting

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) will not hold its long-standing Spring Task Force Summit, according to an email obtained by Documented through a state public record request. The event was one of three annual ALEC events where lawmakers and corporate lobbyists gather at high-end hotels to vote as equals behind closed doors on “model” legislation.

ALEC lost at least 366 politicians tied to the organization, including legislators who lost primaries, general elections or left office in the mid-term election year. Additionally, the organization lost several major corporations last year, including AT&T and Verizon, as first revealed by Documented and the Intercept.

But ALEC gave a different reason for dropping the meeting.

“[B]ecause of feedback from you, we will replace this year’s Spring Task Force Summit with six, topical and regional legislator academies already scheduled, and more in planning,” ALEC CEO Lisa Nelson stated in an email to its members.

 

ALEC held the event every year for more than a decade. In 2015, NBC WXIA 11 captured footage of the gathering in Savannah, Georgia–including a state legislator boasting about how the lobbyists make it all possible. When asked to see an ALEC task force meeting where Georgia legislators were voting on bills with lobbyists, ALEC had off-duty uniformed sheriff’s deputies escort the NBC investigative reporter, Brendan Keefe, and his videographer out of the hotel, even though he had paid for a room there.

The station aired the embarrassing footage in a segment for its “The Investigators” Series, noting that Keefe was a statehouse reporter. In response to the segment that capture the dissonance between ALEC PR and reality, allies of ALEC tried to smear Keefe. That Savannah incident is one of several in which ALEC has blocked reporters.

In place of this year’s Spring Task Force Summit, one ALEC Task Force held its meeting by phone. According to email correspondence obtained by Documented, the Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development Task Force held a teleconference in February to discuss several bills and voted for them by email.

Photograph by Joe Brusky. Used under creative commons license.

David Bernhardt’s Ex-Lobbying Clients Met 70 times with Interior Department Appointees

 

A new analysis from Documented has found that from 2/15/17 to 10/1/18, there were at least 70 meetings between top DOI political appointees and entities listed on Acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt’s ethics recusal letter. The analysis demonstrates that despite legally binding ethics pledges, Bernhardt’s one time lobbying clients have few fetters on their access to top Interior policymakers.

All 70 known meetings are catalogued and linked to source documents in this report. This analysis hones in on four former clients found to have had top level access to the Interior; Bernhardt’s former employer Brownstein, Hyatt, Farber, and Schreck, The Independent Petroleum Association of America. The United States Oil and Gas Association, and the National Ocean Industries Association.

Key Findings From The Analysis:

  • Lobbyists and executives representing David Bernhardt’s ex-clients scheduled at least 70 meetings with top political appointees at the Department of the Interior since the Trump Administration took office.
  • While David Bernhardt was Deputy Secretary, he met with the Vice President of the United States Oil and Gas Association, an entity he is recused from dealing with.
  • From 2016 to 2017, Bernhardt’s former lobbying firm picked up 51 clients, representing over $6 million in lobbying fees.

Brownstein Hyatt Farber and Schreck (BHFS)

Brownstein Hyatt Farber and Schreck (BHFS) is Bernhardt’s former lobbying firm. The firm, one of the most powerful in Washington, is covered in the ethics recusal document signed by Bernhardt. BHFS had at least 10 meetings with top Interior staff during Bernhardt’s first year. In at least 4 of those 10 meetings BHFS represented corporations on Bernhardt’s recusal letter.

 

Date Client DOI Meeting Attendee(s) Calendar
6/6/17 BHFS Cason, DeVito Link
10/17/17 BHFS Zinke Link
12/14/17 BHFS Jorjani, Larrabee, Willens Link
2/15/18 BHFS Balash Link
3/15/18 BHFS Balash Link
1/23/18 BHFS, Rosemont Copper Jorjani, Larrabee, Sheehan Link
2/13/18 BHFS, Statoil Balash, MacGregor Link
6/29/17 BHFS, Statoil Wind DeVito Link
3/13/17 BHFS, Targa Resources Cason, Magallanes Link

 

Since Bernhardt joined DOI, business has boomed at BHFS. While the firm has been a power player in Washington lobbying for some time, BHFS saw more lobbying dollars in 2018 than ever before in their history, becoming the second highest earning lobbying shop in Washington. In 2017, they picked up 51 clients that they did not register in 2016, worth more than $6 million in lobbying fees. Many of these new clients, like the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association (NMOGA), have business or pending decisions before the Interior Department. . NMOGA’s president outlined his plan to influence oil and gas leasing and regulatory decisions made by the Department of the Interior in a speech to its members in 2017. New BHFS clients also include the mining interest Gemfield Resources, aluminum and steelmaker Nucor Corporation, and the Central Arizona Water Conservation District.

Note: These are clients that appear on BHFS’s 2017 client list, but do not appear on the list for 2016. Some may be returning clients from years prior to 2016. Data from the Center for Responsive Politics.

Client Total Subsidiary Industry
Amazon.com $320,000 Internet
AmeriHealth Caritas $60,000 Health Services
Aspira Technologies $50,000 Aspira Electronics Mfg/Eqp
Borrego Health $260,000 Hospitals/Nurs Homes
Central Arizona Water Conservation District $120,000 Misc Energy
CoBank $170,000 Finance/Credit
Colorado River Energy Distributors Assn $130,000 Misc Energy
Complete Pharma Holdings $300,000 Pharm/Health Prod
Delaware North Companies $20,000 Food & Beverage
DF Advisory Group $0 Unknown Business
Early Learning Ventures $50,000 Education
Edison International $80,000 Electric Utilities
EnvestNet $40,000 Yodlee Inc Electronics Mfg/Eqp
Foxhill Capital Partners $130,000 Securities/Invest
Franklin Loan Center $10,000 Unknown Business
Freeport LNG Development $120,000 Freeport LNG Expansion Oil & Gas
Garrison Diversion Conservancy District $30,000 Misc Energy
Gemfield Resources $90,000 Mining
ICE Group $40,000 Securities/Invest
Insperity $130,000 Business Services
Intrepid Potash $30,000 Mining
Jackson Family Enterprises $200,000 Beer, Wine & Liquor
Kalorama Group $0 Unknown Business
LifePoint Health $290,000 RCCH HealthCare Partners Hospitals/Nurs Homes
Limoneira Co $0 Unknown Business
Maxar Technologies $160,000 DigitalGlobe Telecom Svcs
MGM Resorts International $270,000 Casinos/Gambling
Motor Vehicle Protection Products Assn $80,000 Automotive
National Confectioners Assn $170,000 Food & Beverage
National Federation of the Blind $40,000 Human Rights
National Head Start Assn $80,000 Education
National Minority AIDS Council HIV/STD Partnership $130,000 Human Rights
New Federalism Fund $400,000 Marijuana
NexCore Group $30,000 Unknown Business
Northeast MAGLEV $120,000 Railroads
Novartis AG $30,000 Novartis Corp Pharm/Health Prod
Nucor Corp $140,000 Steel Production
Outerwall Inc $170,000 Coinstar Inc Misc Finance
Patients Rights Action Fund $40,000 Unknown Business
Soaren Management $90,000 Finance/Credit
Solidus Resources $150,000 Mining
Spark Therapeutics $50,000 Pharm/Health Prod
State of Colorado $170,000 Office of the Governor of Colorado Civil Servants
Steele Properties $50,000 Real Estate
SunRun Inc $170,000 Misc Energy
Telecommunications Industry Assn $180,000 Telecom Svcs
Teletech Holdings $50,000 Electronics Mfg/Eqp
Toshiba Corp $440,000 Electronics Mfg/Eqp
Town of Tusayan, AZ $80,000 Civil Servants
Vifor Pharma $70,000 Pharm/Health Prod
Willis Electric Co $30,000 Unknown Business
TOTAL: $6,060,000

 

The Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA)

Another Bernhardt client with open access to DOI officials is the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA), a lobbying and trade group for the oil and gas industry. IPAA met with top political appointees at least 6 times. An investigation by Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting showed IPAA’s top brass bragging about “direct access” to David Bernhardt in June of 2017. Meetings were held with the most influential of DOI leadership, including Deputy Chief of Staff Kate MacGregor, and Bernhardt’s right hand, Todd Willens. Since January of 2019, Willens has been acting chief of Staff to Bernhardt. Prior to that he was Associate Deputy Secretary. Like Bernhardt, Willens is a former lobbyist with ties to Colorado.

Willens and IPAA met in April 2018, specifically on issues David Bernhardt was bottom-lining at the Interior; Migratory Bird treaties and Mitigation. Hours after the IPAA meeting, calendar records show Willens met with Bernhardt.

That July, Interior rescinded a Fish and Wildlife Service rule regarding Mitigation. This was a specific policy ask of IPAA’s – something they had been pushing since the start of the Trump Administration.

Date Client(s) DOI Rep(s) DocCloud Link(s)
6/29/17 IPAA Bauserman, DeVito, MacGregor, Magallanes Link
6/29/17 IPAA DeVito Link
10/10/17 IPAA DeVito Link
10/11/17 IPAA Cason, Hammond Link
10/17/17 IPAA Hammond, Skipwith, Williams Link
4/26/18 IPAA Willens Link

United States Oil and Gas Association and Tim Stewart (USOGA)

The US Oil and Gas Association (USOGA) is a lobbying group for the oil and gas industry. Tim Stewart is the Vice President of USOGA, and a registered federal lobbyist. Stewart is extremely well-connected in Washington, and comes from a family of elite political players. His brother is Utah Congressman Chris Stewart. His cousin, Cody Stewart, is a top republican staffer turned lobbyist is Washington, DC.

David Bernhardt met in-person with Tim Stewart on October, 5, 2017. According to the title of the meeting, the subject was “Colorado river issues.” While Bernhardt’s ethics recusal forbids him from meeting with former employers, because Stewart has multiple clients, this is considered an “gray area” by ethics experts.

What’s more clear is the influence and access Tim Stewart has at Interior.

Stewart enjoys consistent access to top staff, while representing a range of clients. He met at least twice in one-on-one meetings with Todd Willens. According to Todd Willens calendar, meeting topics include “oil and gas interests.”

 

Date Client(s) DOI Rep(s) DocCloud Link(s)
3/21/17 Tim Stewart Bennett Group (USOGA) Johnson, Willens Link
10/5/17 Tim Stewart re Colorado River (USOGA) Bernhardt, Willens Link
2/15/17 Tim Stewart/USOGA (call w Sgamma) Benedetto, MacGregor Link
5/25/17 US Oil and Gas Assoc. Devito, MacGregor, Swift Link
3/8/18 US Oil and Gas Assoc. Combs, Wynn Link
8/21/17 US Oil and Gas Assoc. (Tim Stewart cell convo) Willens Link
9/29/17 US Oil and Gas Assoc. (Tim Stewart re: Palo Verdes) Willens Link
3/16/18 US Oil and Gas Assoc., IPAA Balash Link
2/27/18 US Oil and Gas Assoc., NOIA Davis, Devito, MacGregor Link


National Ocean Industries Alliance (NOIA)

Photo of top offshore oil lobbyists and David Bernhardt at a NOIA meeting in 2013:

The National Ocean Industries Association is a trade and lobbying group for the offshore oil and gas industry. Bernhardt represented NOIA as a lobbyist. According to a presentation outlining the offshore industry’s policy goals from 2017, NOIA has been remarkably successful. Top officials from the DOI have met at least 12 times with NOIA.

In an April 2017 meeting between NOIA leaders and DOI staff, NOIA’s first topic of business was “Increased access to the OCS,” highlighting that 94% was “off limits to oil and natural gas exploration.” At the direction of Bernhardt, the DOI is presently planning on opening large portions of previously restricted tracts in the Atlantic to oil and gas exploration.

NOIA President Randall Luthi has ready access to Bernhardt’s staff; he is the Co-Director of DOI’s Royalty Policy Committee, which recommended lowering offshore royalty rates. Luthi was present for at least 4 of the 12 meetings between DOI and NOIA. A 2013 NOIA report pictures Bernhardt alongside Luthi, Dick Cheney, and other influential supporters of the fossil fuel industry at NOIA’s fall meeting. Luthi and Bernhardt were presenters at a 2011 NOIA meeting where Bernhardt “provided insight on the use of NEPA and the ESA as a litigation tool.” Luthi applauded Bernhardt’s nomination to Secretary of the Interior.

Ultimately, Bernhardt will have sign-off on the final OCS leasing plan. Multiple powerful offshore oil interests behind the push to open Atlantic, Arctic, and Eastern Gulf of Mexico to offshore drilling were Bernhardt’s clients prior to his job in the Trump Department of Interior. These include the lobbying groups NOIA and the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA), and the oil companies ENI, Statoil, Noble Energy, and Halliburton.

Date Client(s) DOI Rep(s) DocCloud Link(s)
4/5/2017 NOIA Jorjani Link
6/15/2017 NOIA Angelle Link
7/12/2017 NOIA Beard Link
9/28/17 NOIA DeVito Link
9/28/2017 NOIA DeVito, Schindler Link
10/4/2017 NOIA MacGregor Link
12/19/17 NOIA Funes, Wynn Link
3/22/18 NOIA Wynn Link
3/28/18 NOIA Funes, Wynn Link
4/11/18 NOIA Angelle, Funes, MacGregor, Schindler, Wynn Link
7/14/2017 NOIA Angelle Link
6/7/17 NOIA (OOC speech) Angelle Link

All Meetings Between DOI Appointees and Bernhardt’s Clients

Note: These are scheduled meetings, it is possible some of these did not take place. Some meetings listed below are internal meetings about an external party related to David Bernhardt. Cases where it is clear the meeting is internal were not included in the final tally of meetings between DOI officials and Bernhadt’s clients.

Date Client(s) DOI Rep(s) DocCloud Link(s)
6/6/17 BHFS Cason, DeVito Link
10/17/17 BHFS Zinke Link
12/14/17 BHFS Jorjani, Larrabee, Willens Link
2/15/18 BHFS Balash Link
3/15/18 BHFS Balash Link
1/23/18 BHFS, Rosemont Copper Jorjani, Larrabee, Sheehan Link
2/13/18 BHFS, Statoil Balash, MacGregor Link
6/29/17 BHFS, Statoil Wind DeVito Link
3/13/17 BHFS, Targa Resources Cason, Magallanes Link
2/24/17 Cadiz Magallanes Link
3/6/17 Cadiz Benedetto, Magallanes, Cason Link
9/22/17 Cadiz Hammond Link
9/24/17 Cadiz Benedetto Link
4/3/2017 Cadiz Zinke Link
9/14/17 Cobalt Int. Energy MacGregor Link
6/29/17 Cobalt Int. Energy (via Gulf Energy Alliance) DeVito Link
4/5/17 Cobalt Int. Energy, NOIA Jorjani Link
4/6/17 Cobalt Int. Energy, NOIA Zinke Link
9/20/17 Eni Petroleum DeVito Link
10/3/17 Eni Petroleum Angelle Link
4/6/17 Haliburton, Noble, NOIA, Statoil (via NOIA Annual Meeting) Zinke Link
4/25/17 Halliburton (via WEA meeting) Zinke; MacGregor; Magallanes; Bloomgren Link
4/27/17 IPAA Benedetto Link
6/29/17 IPAA Bauserman, DeVito, MacGregor, Magallanes Link
6/29/17 IPAA DeVito Link
10/10/17 IPAA DeVito Link
10/11/17 IPAA Cason, Hammond Link
10/17/17 IPAA Hammond, Skipwith, Williams Link
4/26/18 IPAA Willens Link
3/14/17 Noble Energy Benedetto Link
3/7/2017 NOIA Magallanes Link
4/5/2017 NOIA Jorjani Link
6/15/2017 NOIA Angelle Link
7/12/2017 NOIA Beard Link
9/28/17 NOIA DeVito Link
9/28/2017 NOIA DeVito, Schindler Link
10/4/2017 NOIA MacGregor Link
12/19/17 NOIA Funes, Wynn Link
3/22/18 NOIA Wynn Link
3/28/18 NOIA Funes, Wynn Link
4/11/18 NOIA Angelle, Funes, MacGregor, Schindler, Wynn Link
7/14/2017 NOIA Angelle Link
6/7/17 NOIA (OOC speech) Angelle Link
12/13/17 NRG Energy Benedetto Link
8/17/18 NRG Energy Balash Link
10/1/18 NRG Energy Balash Link
2/9/18 Sempra Energy (cancelled meeting) Benedetto, Cason Link
10/3/17 Sempra Energy (speaking event, Sempra hosted lunch) DeVito Link
6/26/17 Statoil Angelle, Devito, MacGregor, Schindler Link
8/28/17 Statoil DeVito Link
10/2/17 Statoil DeVito, Schindler Link
6/29/17 Statoil Wind DeVito Link
3/13/17 Targa Resources Magallanes Link
5/31/17 Taylor Energy Angelle Link
6/1/17 Taylor Energy Angelle Link
6/16/17 Taylor Energy Angelle Link
6/22/17 Taylor Energy Angelle Link
8/3/17 Taylor Energy Angelle Link
8/4/17 Taylor Energy Angelle Link
9/26/17 Taylor Energy Angelle Link
10/4/17 Taylor Energy MacGregor Link
11/13/17 Taylor Energy Angelle Link
12/4/17 Taylor Energy Angelle Link
12/12/17 Taylor Energy Angelle Link
12/18/17 Taylor Energy Angelle Link
1/5/18 Taylor Energy Angelle Link
1/24/18 Taylor Energy Angelle Link
1/29/18 Taylor Energy Angelle Link
3/21/17 Tim Stewart Bennett Group (USOGA) Johnson, Willens Link
10/5/17 Tim Stewart re Colorado River (USOGA) Bernhardt, Willens Link
2/15/17 Tim Stewart/USOGA (call w Sgamma) Benedetto, MacGregor Link
5/25/17 US Oil and Gas Assoc. Devito, MacGregor, Swift Link
3/8/18 US Oil and Gas Assoc. Combs, Wynn Link
8/21/17 US Oil and Gas Assoc. (Tim Stewart cell convo) Willens Link
9/29/17 US Oil and Gas Assoc. (Tim Stewart re: Palo Verdes) Willens Link
3/16/18 US Oil and Gas Assoc., IPAA Balash Link
2/27/18 US Oil and Gas Assoc., NOIA Davis, Devito, MacGregor Link

 

Five Facts about Tucker Carlson, FOX Host and Daily Caller Founder

Tucker Carlson, the controversial host of the 8 p.m. slot on FOX News, has lost more than 30 advertisers in the past three months, according to Media Matters for America. This list includes the multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca. That corporation, the maker of the heartburn drug Nexium, dumped him last week after the progressive media watchdog unearthed radio archives capturing some of Tucker Carlson’s vulgar comments about women.

Also last week, more than 150 people attended a “Drop FOX” rally at the New York headquarters of NewsCorp, with many calling for Tucker Carlson to be fired from his job at FOX, which reportedly pays him more than $8 million per year. Carlson, the stepson of the heir to the Swanson TV dinner fortune, also has a 2017 book deal worth up to $10 million with publisher Simon & Shuster.

Newsweek reported that in the first half of last year Tucker Carlson Tonight took in nearly $100 million in ad revenue for FOX, but the full effect of the advertiser boycott has not been publicly tallied.

He is facing ongoing calls for his remaining advertisers to boycott his show, with activists targeting his eight main sponsors. These firms include StarKist Tuna, which pleaded guilty to criminal price-fixing last October and faces a fine of up to $100 million, and Jenny Craig, which dumped Laura Ingraham’s FOX show last year. It also includes ads for My Pillow, whose founder Mike Lindell claimed that Donald Trump “was chosen by God” to run for President, so his company is unmoved.

Meanwhile, Tucker Carlson has refused to apologize for his offensive quotes, which also include many anti-immigrant and white supremacist comments.

Here are five more facts people should know about him.

1.  Tucker Carlson Has a Pattern of Unapologetic Misogyny.  As Harper’s Bazaar recapped, Media Matters captured Tucker Carlson calling women “’c*nty’ and ‘whores’ and ‘extremely primitive,'” but “[t]he part that should really jump out for listeners is when Carlson defends child rape.” He also made sexually degrading claims about Oprah Winfrey and Hillary Clinton. And, just this past week, Joan Walsh wrote about how Tucker Carlson called her the c-word, too, and made disparaging suggestions about her sex life, in one of his office tirades–and then denied he did so. That was less than ten years ago.

Meanwhile, for nearly a decade Tucker Carlson’s Daily Caller operation has routinely published content that objectifies women, as Erik Wemple reported for the Washington Post. Wemple also detailed how one of the Daily Caller’s writers, Chuck Ross, had a long paper trail of sexist and racist writings, which Ross tried to distance himself from. But Carlson did not; he refused to answer whether he knew of Ross’ past when he was managing the Daily Caller.

Additionally, for years the Daily Caller has relied on the Koch-aligned Independent Women’s Forum to give a female face to the war-on-woman agenda, while using swimsuit models as clickbait to help drive traffic on the website.

2.   Tucker Carlson’s Outlet Was Secretly Funded by the Trump Presidential Campaign. As this author discovered during an investigation of the Daily Caller, Tucker Carlson’s outlet was secretly getting sponsorship payments from the Trump campaign during the 2016 election season. But Tucker Carlson did not ever disclose to FOX viewers how he benefited from selling the Daily Caller mailing list to the campaign, even as he landed prime interviews on FOX with candidate Trump and as the Daily Caller attacked Hillary Clinton relentlessly.

3. Tucker Carlson’s “Charity” Has Provided Most of the Stories for His For-Profit.    The results of that investigation were broken by Callum Borchers in the  Washington Post: “Charity doubles as a profit stream at the Daily Caller News Foundation.” That part of the  investigation documented how Tucker Carlson’s tax-free charity, the Daily Caller News Foundation, provided most of the political or policy stories for his for-profit Daily Caller.

As the Post noted: “’It really does look like the reason for the existence of this 501(c)(3) organization is to provide benefits to the for-profit company, and that should be a private benefit that is not acceptable,’ said Linda Sugin, a law professor at Fordham University. ‘You can’t have money going into the foundation being used for purposes that are really to support the for-profit organization.’”

The other noteworthy element of this arrangement is that the charity discloses that it pays Tucker Carlson no salary, while whatever salary, benefits, and bonuses are paid to him by the for-profit arm are kept secret.  Additionally, at the time of the investigation in 2016, very little content  that was posted to his charity site was promoted on social media but much of that same content was heavily promoted on the advertiser-driven, for-profit Daily Caller.

4.  Tucker Carlson’s “Charity” Has Been Funded by the Dark Money ATM DonorsTrust. A review of foundation giving shows that Tucker Carlson’s Daily Caller News Foundation has accepted money from DonorsTrust, the secretive funding operation that is now led by longtime Koch operative Lawson Bader. Because of its close ties to the Koch network of billionaires, Mother Jones dubbed DonorsTrust the “Dark Money ATM” of the right-wing.

DonorsTrust has given Tucker Carlson’s foundation at least $40K, but there is no public data from 2018. His foundation can also accept unlimited and undisclosed personal and corporate checks.

5.  Tucker Carlson’s Charity Received a Huge Check from Charles Koch’s Foundation in 2016.  In the presidential election year, Tucker Carlson’s foundation received $946,127 from the Charles Koch Foundation. That year, the Daily Caller published hundreds of stories attacking Hillary Clinton and aiding Trump. That nearly million dollar gift came as Trump was running for President and constitutes more funding in a single year from foundations controlled by Koch than in all prior years combined, which tallied $805,512.

How much, if anything, the Daily Caller News Foundation received from the Koch charities during the mid-term election year is not yet known. What is known is that Tucker Carlson’s outlets have consistently pushed the Koch agenda on carbon, thwarting efforts to mitigate climate change  and pushing “deregulation” in numerous stories on its sites.

Although Tucker Carlson stepped away from managing the Daily Caller when he succeeded sexual harasser Bill O’Reilly’s spot at FOX, there is no disclosure of how much he continues to benefit from the activities of the Daily Caller, which has continued to echo his claims and his approach on issues involving women, race, immigration, our environment, and more. 

Energy Secretary Perry Will Headline Event at D.C. Steakhouse “Presented” by Coal Lobby

President Trump’s Energy Secretary Rick Perry will headline an event at a Washington, D.C. steakhouse hosted by RealClearPolitics. The post describes the event as “presented by” two coal lobbying groups, the National Mining Association (NMA) and the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE).

According to the most recent financial disclosures filed with the IRS, obtained by the Climate Investigations Center, ACCCE and NMA’s boards are comprised of numerous coal company executives including Murray Energy CEO Bob Murray.

Murray’s close ties to Perry and President Trump have been widely reported. Murray contributed $300,000 to Trump’s inaugural committee and hosted a fundraising event for Perry in 2011. Murray delivered a policy wishlist to Perry and top DOE officials during a meeting in 2017. Current EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler was also at the meeting, who was a registered lobbyist for Murray Energy in 2017.

Since then, the DOE has tried to deliver multiple bailouts to the coal industry, including a grid reliability plan that would subsidize coal and nuclear plants (FERC voted against the plan) and its “Coal FIRST initiative”, which would provide up to $38 million in funding for research into improving existing coal-fired power plants.

In February, President Trump urged Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) to weigh “all factors” before voting to close a coal-fired power plant–which had direct ties to Murray–via tweet . Perry retweeted the President and said, “Coal helps keep American electricity affordable and reliable.” (The TVA board voted to close the coal plant.)

The event, called “Powering the Grid: Access, Affordability & Fuel Diversity,” will also feature West Virginia Republican Congressman David McKinley, who has received tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the mining industry.

Photograph by Gage Skidmore. Used under creative commons license.